International Women's Day Interview with Katie Lewis

We talked to Katie, Quantity Surveyor at Capula, about her experiences for International Women's Day. Here's what she said:

This year’s IWD theme is equity vs equality – what does this mean to you?

I see equity as a stage further than equality. It’s about being aware that every individual has their own experiences and needs, and they will differ to mine. It’s not about treating people the same or giving an equal number of resources to everyone, but instead adapting to the individual’s needs, especially if they might have additional barriers so they have an equal chance at succeeding as someone who doesn’t have as many barriers.

Tell us about a time when you received support from someone that helped you progress in your career?

Having a supportive network at home has been vital for my career progression. From encouragement and rebalancing work and home commitments to enable me to fit studying for my degree into our lives, to changing company to allow for a more flexible home, work life balance after returning from maternity leave. It’s not just about support from colleagues or management that help to progress a career, but there often requires a network of support at home for people to succeed. I’m aware of how fortunate I am and aware how this is not the case for everyone. This could be a barrier for some people in progressing their careers.

What are you most proud of in your career to date?

Passing my MSc in Quantity Surveying with Distinction.

What three ideals do you value the most and how do you reflect these on a day-to-day basis?

  1. Act with integrity and be a team member who is honest and reliable and someone who will act professionally in all situations, whether with clients, subcontractors or with the internal project team and wider colleagues.
  2. Being respectful whilst working together with people from different backgrounds, learning from their experiences and appreciating the skills that other people will bring to a team.
  3. To have courage and be accountable for the role I do and how I do it. I challenge myself to keep learning whether that’s formally, during the day-to-day role or on LinkedIn courses to ensure I keep growing personally and professionally.

How can we encourage more women to pursue a career in our industry?

Sponsor programs, products or activities aimed at girls/women so they begin to know our name and industry before they start choosing what they want to do for further education or leave school.

If you had the opportunity to give your younger self one piece of advice – what would it be?

Don’t try to ‘fit in’ to a culture. Be the person you are and continue to be open about how things can be done differently.

What would you say to a woman looking to start a career in our industry?

Don’t be put off if an industry is male dominated. This will only change by having more women who are interested in joining us.

Which woman inspires you in your career/do you admire the most and why?

I am fortunate enough to have several friends in my industry who are succeeding in their roles, balancing senior management positions with young families. They inspire me because they are true to themselves, good at their jobs, and they actively promote mental health awareness and a healthy work-life balance whilst mentoring other women.

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