SMEC is committed to building an inclusive culture and supporting greater gender balance in our global workforce. With a focus on actively promoting the development of female leadership, we have partnered with Cultivate, a research-based sponsorship program in Australia, to connect six emerging female leaders with six members of the senior leadership team.

The sponsors and sponsees will work together over an eight-month period, supported by online learning modules and other interactions, to access new opportunities, share knowledge and learnings, and establish stronger relationships that will contribute to advancing these women’s careers.

“At SMEC, diversity is in our DNA,” said James Phillis, CEO of SMEC Australia & New Zealand, who is also participating as a sponsor in the program. “We have over 5,500 employees in over 35 countries, each bringing their own unique background, skill set and thinking to our company. We know that many factors underpin gender equality and have been working to drive key improvements in flexible work practices, parental leave policies, and learning and development programs.

Being recognised an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality this year from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) in Australia was an important achievement for our business. I’m excited to participate in our inaugural Cultivate sponsorship program and have the opportunity to pass on some of what I’ve learned over my career, as well as to learn from our program participants.”

“I’ve been fortunate in my career to have some fantastic sponsors, people who really advocated for me and actively looked at ways to advance my career,” says Kate Drews, Market Director, Urban Communities. “As a sponsor in the Cultivate program, I’m really pleased for this opportunity to fill that role for our younger female colleagues.”

Sabrina Kost, a Senior Associate Engineer in tunnels engineering, is looking forward to being involved a sponsee. “It will be great to get to know my sponsor better and build strong relationships that will broaden my internal network and lead to a deeper understanding of our business overall. I believe this will help me to identify synergies and ultimately assist our clients by providing more integrated services.”