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Did you know that women constitute just 14% of construction industry professionals[1]? This under representation could be a consequence of not always recognising the viability and the excitement the built environment has to offer. It is therefore great to see and hear form women making boundless impact for economic, public and environmental benefit, and why the BRE Women’s Network is collaborating with our partners, CABE, CIOB, Atkins, Perkins+Will and the IET to showcase, on 20th September at the BEinspired: Stories that Push Boundaries event in London, interesting and diverse experiences of three different speakers, Victoria Hills, Hayley Gryc  and Charlotte Wilberforce, each with their own inspiring stories to tell, and with the aim of encouraging and motivating other women in the industry to follow their aspirations, and to spread this enthusiasm to others. Giving you a preview before the event, who are the speakers and what have they achieved so far in their careers?

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Victoria Hills is a chartered town planner with 20 years post-graduate experience, working in local government (Wycombe District Council), consultancy (Steer Davies Gleave) and most latterly at the Greater London Authority. Working for the Mayor of London, Victoria spent seven years working in the Mayor’s Transport Team, and then a further three years in the Mayor’s 2012 City Operations Team, as Head of Programme, before returning to the GLA’s Transport Team as Head of Transport in autumn 2012 to drive forward delivery of the Mayor’s Transport Strategy, Infrastructure Plan and transport manifesto commitments. In autumn 2014 Victoria was seconded to set up the Mayor’s second Mayoral Development Corporation, Old Oak and Park Royal (OPDC) where in April 2015 she took up the position of Interim Chief Executive Officer, and was permanently appointed in June 2015. This exciting role sees Victoria utilising her planning, transport and programme management expertise to drive forward the transformation of Old Oak and Park Royal, London’s largest opportunity area and what will become the UK’s largest regeneration project. Her brief includes seeking to maximise the benefits of the significant rail investment at Old Oak, most notably the High Speed 2, Great West Coast Main Line and Crossrail super-hub stations, to oversee development of an exemplary masterplan for a world-class place and to drive forward the preparation of a comprehensive and coordinated delivery and growth strategy for Old Oak and Park Royal.

Her professional engagements have been longstanding starting as an elected student representative on RTPI Council (1998-99) and a Member of the RTPI’s Young Planners Network 1998-2002, serving two years as Chair. Victoria went on to Chair the RTPI’s Transport Planning Network, launching it 2005 and remaining as Chair until 2009, before serving as Chair of the Transport Planning Society 2009-11. Victoria still serves as a Member of the TPS Skills Committee and in 2013 Victoria sat on the Board of London’s Women’s Transportation Seminar as Interim Communications Chair. Outside of professional life, Victoria has two young children, enjoys running and is a qualified Assistant Girl Guider.

Hayley Gryc is an Associate at Arup in the Arup International Development Group leading their work in social and sustainable infrastructure.  Our work focuses on trying to address the global challenges we face in tackling climate change, poverty and urbanisation.  She specialises in safe and sustainable buildings and has a particular interest in the delivery of providing quality education infrastructure at scale.

Hayley has twelve plus years’ experience working on a diverse range of projects as an architect, engineer, consultant and project manager and has worked internationally in both the developed and developing world.    Hayley is an advocate for integrated and sustainable approaches to design and project management, and believes that by looking at the problem as a whole, an effective and holistic package can be produced. She is a keen advocate of appropriate design which reflects the needs and capacities of the local community, local partners and wider stakeholders. She believes this is essential to creating ownership and a successful outcome, and has lectured on this topic at Universities and at International Conferences.

Charlotte Wilberforce has a background in business administration and marketing communications with over 19 years of experience. In addition to landscape architecture, she has worked in medical, telecommunications, media and fashion, spanning Europe, Asia and North America.

Charlotte has directly engaged with and gained the support of public figures including politicians, celebrities and business leaders internationally. She has published marketing materials both in print and digital forms and has inspired singers, songwriters and producers to create music and video for her marketing campaigns.

Having set up and successfully run her own charity; campaigning to raise awareness of human trafficking, she has gained the attention of the global media including the BBC and MTV Exit. Her philanthropic and humanitarian activities are balanced by a love of art and design and their commercial applications. Charlotte oversees the all business aspects of MSP.

If you would like to hear some great stories directly from Victoria, Charlotte and Haley, gain CPD hours, connect with a range of built environment women’s networks who will be showcasing the support they offer, and the opportunity to network over drinks and canapes, then come along to the collaborative, cross sector BEinspired: Stories that Push Boundaries event!

To find out more and book a place, please visit the BRE Events page.

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[1] CIC (2016) Measuring success and sharing good practice. Available at: http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:ifIuncOC47MJ:cic.org.uk/download.php%3Ff%3Dcicdiversitypanelablueprint-for-change2016-2.pdf+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk

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