Spacelab women are leading the way

By Hannah Mellow on 5 March 2015

In January, RIBA president elect Jane Duncan started the inspiring Twitter campaign #seemejoinme, aimed at encouraging women into construction careers – a campaign we fully support and have been following with great interest. 

Women currently represent only 12% of the overall construction workforce and a RIBA Future Trends survey revealed a 7% drop in the number of women architects. This makes us especially proud to be able to say Spacelab not only has a high representation of female architects and interior designers but additionally has an unusually high number of women in leadership roles.

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From left to right: Sarah Bolas, Kerstin Sailer, Rosie Haslem, Ros Pomeroy, Kara Wood

Last year’s business benchmarking survey of RIBA chartered practices showed that while around 38% of architectural assistants were female, the percentage dropped at each level of seniority to around 11% at equity partner or shareholder director level.

In spirit of the upcoming International Women’s Day, and following Jane’s campaign, we want to introduce you to some of these women in our team. Because we think they are exceptional examples of female leaders and are an inspiration to all of us. We asked each of them to answer three questions for us:

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Head of Change Management

Sarah Bolas

Top 3 things I like about the industry:

  • The innovation
  • The opportunity to create significant change
  • The creative approach to problem solving

What inspired me to choose my profession:

As a change professional in the world of architecture and design – it was the opportunity to use changing environments and space as a springboard for significant behavioural change within an organisation. An opportunity not to be wasted but built upon!

My advice for young women who aspire to work in the industry:

Get a coach or mentor who believes in you and supports you to believe in yourself. It’s out there for the taking – you just have to believe it is!

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Director of Research and Innovation

Kerstin Sailer

Top 3 things I like about the industry:

  • Being creative
  • Changing the world
  • Working with great people

What inspired me to choose my profession:

I have always wanted to combine my passion for arts and creativity with my scientific mind, so here I am shaping evidence-based design practices and aiming to give space users a voice in the design process.

My advice for young women who aspire to work in the industry:

Stay true to yourself and don’t let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do. Perseverance will get you there.

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Associate Director of Workplace Consultancy

Rosie Haslem 

Top 3 things I like about the industry:

  • Creativity
  • Tangibility of projects
  • Combining art and science

What inspired me to choose my profession:

I’ve always been interested in space, and how people use and move through it, so love that my job brings the two together – with a very human-centred, evidence-based approach to design.

My advice for young women who aspire to work in the industry:

I don’t believe that there should be any different advice for young women aspiring to work in the industry than for young men, and hope that soon we won’t even have to think in such terms!

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Director of Workplace Consultancy

Ros Pomeroy

Top 3 things I like about the industry:

  • Combination of science and creativity
  • Tangibility of the result
  • Job satisfaction / lack of routine

What inspired me to choose my profession:

The opportunity to apply spatial theory to design with a tangible end result.

My advice for young women who aspire to work in the industry:

No advice – Just find out as much as you can about it and if you are still inspired, you’ll find your way in.

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Director / Head of Interior Design

Kara Wood

Top 3 things I like about the industry:

  • New challenges with every project
  • Being creative and advocating a progressive approach to design, particularly in workspace, where the notion of the workplace is ever-evolving.
  • Improving environments and the impact that can have on both the individual and culture of a business

What inspired me to choose my profession:

I was attracted to a creative role and always into art and design. I really enjoyed the relationship between people and space, and inspired by the potential to positively shape and adapt an environment for its inhabitants.

My advice for young women who aspire to work in the industry:

Display your ability, traits and attitude to a role, whether it be towards architecture or any other profession. Enjoy what you do.

Topics: workplace, women, staff, design, interiors, interview, office, interior design, architecture, industry