Women in Industry Awards 2019 celebrates diversity

Allison Basford won the Rising Star of the Year award in 2018.

Mining, engineering and manufacturing are some industries that are often dominated by a male workforce. But, there are plenty of women in these industries that are helping to grow Australia’s economy and workforce to drive the country to the top of the leaderboard in areas such as food manufacturing, health and safety, and technology and innovation.

To celebrate women making strides in these sectors as well as logistics, rail, bulk handling, infrastructure and waste management, the Women in Industry Awards are held each year.

This year the awards will be held at Albert Park in Melbourne on June 6. The categories that will recognise outstanding achievements in industry are:

Social Leader of the Year – This category recognises those individuals who have significantly affected positive change within their local or regional community,

Rising Star of the Year – Recognition for individuals who show significant promise within their chosen industry or who have reached new goals at the start of their career,

Business Development Manager of the Year – This category seeks out Business Development Managers who have created new growth opportunities which allowed their organisation to expand and generate greater revenue,

Industry Advocacy Award – Recognition of individuals who have helped shape a positive view of their industry and/or helped to create a policy change which benefits those working in the sector,

Safety Advocacy Award – Safety is of utmost concern and this category highlights those individuals working actively to improve safety for their industry,

Mentor of the Year – This category recognises those individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to developing female talent within their organisation and the wider industry,

Excellence in Manufacturing – This category recognises an individual who has thought outside the box to implement an outstanding personal contribution to their manufacturing business and the wider manufacturing community,

Excellence in Mining – This category recognises individuals who have made a positive contribution to one of the many facets of the mining industry,

Excellence in Engineering – This award recognises an individual who has shown leadership in engineering, technological excellence and innovation,

Excellence in Road Transport – This category recognises an individual who has gone above and beyond to improve and positively impact the Australian road transport industry.

Rockwell Automation, Atlas Copco Compressors, BOC Limited and CSR Limited are supporting women across all industries as sponsors of these awards.

Recognising achievement 

In the lead up to the 2019 Women in Industry Awards, Manufacturers’ Monthly spoke with winners and finalists from last year’s awards. With features published in previous editions of the magazine, it was a great way to showcase the achievements of these women who are leading in their industries.

Dr Gita Pendharkar from RMIT University, who snagged the Mentor of the Year Award at the Women in Industry Awards 2018, helps the future workforce excel. As a senior educator at the School of Vocational Engineering Health and Science, she believes that mentoring and education are the most powerful weapons.

“For me, mentoring means investing your time to understand and respond to the needs of students, show them various pathways in their life, boost their confidence by making them believe that they can achieve their goals, give them true feedback on their work and celebrate their success,” said Pendharkar.

In her teaching, Pendharkar emphasises the importance of diversity in the form of race, religion, socio-economic and ethnic background.

“I am working in the education industry, and innovation is the most important aspect of education. Hence, workplace diversity is the only answer to bring that innovation, which would lead to success,” she said.

From mentors, to those at the beginning of their careers – all are celebrated at the Women in Industry Awards. CSR Limited property development manager Allison Basford won the Rising Star of the Year award in 2018.

At the time, she had been working for the company for about 18 months. She worked closely with general managers across a number of business units, which provided her with insights into the corporate challenges and gave her a deep understanding of their operating environment.

“Taking the time to appreciate this eco system has allowed me to deliver better holistic outcomes for the broader business at an accelerated pace,” said Basford.

She is not only making great movement in her career, but she is also helping others as she has started mentoring people.

“Being at a point in my career, which allows mentoring of others to help them develop, is an aspect of my role that genuinely keeps me deeply fulfilled,” she said.

One woman who has entered the engineering realm in the past few years is Marie Fowler, who for 20 years sought other career paths. After working in customer service roles and having no family or friends in engineering roles to look up to in her youth, Fowler said she never expected to follow that path.

But in her late-30s she took on a civil engineering degree that proved to be the right move for her.

Fowler was nominated for the Rising Star of the Year award in 2018. Sharing her story with Manufacturers’ Monthly, she said is wasn’t an easy decision to study engineering later in life, but she is glad she did.

Success in all forms

Women such as Pendharkar, Basford and Fowler have shown that all industries have a need for diversity.

With this in mind, companies, organisations and individuals will come together again this year to celebrate the best and brightest in industry.

To be a part of an evening that recognises women for their achievements, tickets can be purchased on the Women in Industry Awards website,

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