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As part of the #BuildingEquality Campaign, Fiona Cormican, New Busines Director at Clúid Housing, shares her story:
I was lucky enough to grow up in a household where gender was not a predetermining factor of any life choices. My Mum was a very dynamic and enlightened woman and my Dad bought me my first motorcycle when I was 16. I did not plan a career in construction, and my family were not involved in the industry in anyway. Yet both myself and my sister, who is an M&E engineer, both work in the industry.
At one point in our career, myself and Sue were both working on two very significant projects in Longford town at the same time; the regeneration of St. Michael’s road, and the restoration of St. Mel’s Cathedral after it was almost destroyed by fire in 2009.
I have been very fortunate to have been surrounded all my life by strong women who believe that the only limitations in life are of your own making. When faced with an inability to secure affordable housing in the boom of the late 1990s, a group of these women formed a non-profit development company that delivered 230 affordable homes in Ballymun and Finglas. When we set up the company, I knew nothing about construction, but I am a firm believer that you only have to ask for help and it is given. My best learning was through my own mistakes. I remember sitting through a meeting with a DCC engineer who was very upset with us for damaging his biscuits. I nodded in agreement as he berated us and agreed to reinstate his biscuits at the earliest opportunity. Coming out of that meeting I asked our own consultant architect “what is a biscuit? As I assumed, he wasn’t referring to “rich tea”.
I went on to undertake a site managers course through the CIF and secured a master’s in project management from University Limerick.
I started working for Clúid in 2007 and found myself in a hugely progressive and inspirational company where gender did not define your career path. I believe the key to getting more women into the construction industry is by having women show support for other women and focusing on ability rather than gender.
Link to Fiona’s LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/fionacormican-27bb6245/