blog, by cristina lanz azcarate
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Priorities, Groups, a book and Mentoring

It has been a while since I began to consider that, at my age (not fishing for compliments, just stating the numerically correct), I should be able to give something back.
Last year was a tough one with the project, the professional registration, setting up of the atelier and our familiar circumstances. All and all it was intense, and I could not allow myself looking in a further future than the one my surviving mode required: the continuous present.

Ironically, the event that made me face the future was a discussion with both my six and four year old nieces over Christmas. As I presented them with images of the project that has kept me busy for all their lives, the six year old looked at me un-impressed as though it was not worth the time I had spent away from them, and the four year old asked me why “a girl” would want to do a “boy’s” job!

I have to admit that this was a harsh reality check, however, I realised that there were two lessons to take from it:

  • The first one, that projects end on completion; but relationships go on. Therefore one needs to invest in them.
  • The second one, that there must be something wrong “out there” for two of my own to feel that there is such a thing as jobs for “boys”.

As the year commenced, I decided that it was time to re-align my priorities and find ways to help changing stereotypes.

One of the first steps I took was to join the NAWIC (National Association of Women in Construction) and attend their Annual Conference where I was inspired by those I met.

At the conference, I came across the work of Female founded Suzanne Doyle-Morris who made us laugh with her brilliant story telling and shared with us her book and research on successful women working on a male dominated fields titled Beyond The Boys Club .

It was also at the conference that , thanks to the Women in Architecture’s Chair, Clare Devine, I became aware of the FLUID Diversity Mentoring Programme ( “a scheme developed by the Architects for Change (AfC) forum and the Construction Industry Council (CIC) to address the retention and development of practitioners from diverse backgrounds in the built environment” ). I have since applied to be both mentor and mentee and will hopefully be hearing some news soon.

And so, it is with my fingers crossed that I leave you until next time!

( P.S. If you are part of the industry and have an interest in the mentoring program, please feel free to follow the link for details on how to apply and deadlines.)

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