As we approach International Women in Engineering Day on 23rd June, we will be celebrating the achievements and contributions of the women that play an essential role in the success of our organisation. At Fichtner, we are dedicated to creating a work environment that is inclusive and diverse and always aim to take concrete actions in growing both the representation and interest of women joining and progressing in the engineering field. As such, in 2018, we formed the Women in Fichtner Group, a voluntary group that promotes the needs and interests of the women that represent us, while providing a platform to network and advocate for those starting out in their engineering careers.
The Women in Fichtner Group is led and chaired by Georgina Ross, a Consultant based in our Stockport office. Georgina joined us in 2022 as a Chemical Engineer with significant experience working on Energy from Waste and Biomass projects, and in early 2023 was nominated to take on the chair position of the women’s group. We were delighted to sit down with Georgina to discuss her role and provide some insight into the aims and accomplishments of the group so far!
What inspired you to head up the Women in Fichtner Group?
The first meeting I attended, about a month after starting at Fichtner, I raised that there were no sanitary products available in the lady’s toilets and suggested that these were provided for free. This was actioned quickly and received well by the group. Seeing that change happen so quickly, feeling listened to and noticing that I could be a part of real change that would improve other people’s lives, made me eager to get more involved and help others action changes that were important to them.
Why is the Women in Fichtner Group important to the company?
The group and the meeting in particular provide the women at Fichtner with an opportunity to raise issues that might not be obvious to our male colleagues or directors. The fact that the MD, as a man, is very aware that he may not be able to identify issues women might face at work, is incredibly refreshing and a rarity. The MD being aware of this and him encouraging the group to raise things to allow him to address solutions, is a huge win for the women at Fichtner! Feeling heard and empowered changes how you work and how you feel when at work, it allows the women at Fichtner to feel empowered to speak up for themselves and others whether that be at work or outside of it.
Diversity in our teams is one of our core values and something we strive towards; how does the group help to elevate this?
The WiF group helps to connect women across the company from senior engineers to graduates, to technical and business support teams; it provides a common ground to share thoughts and ideas from different backgrounds and experiences that will help to positivity influence the diversity and growth of the business. I believe this really enforces our values and allows us make decisions on recruitment, career progression and day to day life at Fichtner that are reflective of different perspectives.
Can you tell us about any particular highlights/achievements in your time chairing the group so far?
We recently arranged for an external educator to come into the office and give a talk and presentation on women’s physical and mental health relating to hormones and menopause. The session covered a wide range of topics, including nutrition, exercise, stress, and practical steps to take to enable healthy changes in everyday life. We had a useful Q&A session following the talk, where the whole company was invited to put questions forward and share their own experiences. Overall, the guest speaker session was a great success and we’re extremely proud that we were able to provide an informative and empowering experience for members of the group
What plans do you have for the women in Fichtner events in the future?
Following the recent guest speaker session, I’d like to arrange more of these events that can be shared with the wider company and already have plans for this later in the year! There are also plans for community outreach with local schools, colleges and universities and we’ll continue to commit to our STEM and graduate events contributions. Lastly, I’d like to get some socials organised, here the group can attend women’s sporting events!
International Women in Engineering Day takes place annually to celebrate the incredible work carried out by women in all areas of engineering across the world. For more information on the event or to find out how to get involved, click here.