Spec Services company’s purpose is deeply rooted in our values of inclusivity and responsibility. We are a women-owned business and are proud of our management practices and corporate structure. We prioritise Indigenous culture, gender equality and the recognition of veterans within our team. Above all else, safety is our highest priority, and we take every measure to ensure the well-being of our employees and clients.

This International Women’s Day, we’re turning the spotlight on Spec’s female leaders – meet our influential women that are shaping the industry! Each day of the IWD Week, we will sit down with one woman for an intimate conversation about gender equality and what women’s empowerment means to them.

Join us on March 8th as we celebrate all female leaders and collectively work towards forging a more inclusive world for women. Let’s inspire inclusion, empower the next generation and create a world where every woman feels the sense of belonging she deserves.

#IWD2024 #InspireInclusion #InvestinWomen #WomeninBusiness

Hi Nikita, how would you describe your every day at work?
Every day is about facing multiple challenges. I am also a new mom, and right now it is about making new adjustments and changes. However, I take each experience as it comes in a positive way – it’s a learning curve! Thankfully, my colleagues are very supportive and understanding. I enjoy my job and I am grateful that Spec Services nurture inclusive environment at work, so everyone can thrive and be happy.

How long have you been with the company?
I have been with Spec 2 years and 11 month now. I am the multi-site supervisor.

What does “women in leadership” means to you?
It means women have right to work. They can focus on their professional development and build their careers, lead high performing teams… it also gives them opportunity to meet people from different countries and cultures. All these unique experiences are fundamental in shaping one’s perspective, value system and beliefs, which essentially makes anyone a great leader!

How would you describe yourself as a leader?
As a leader, my priority is to provide supportive, empathetic and safe working environment for my colleagues. I enjoy solving problems, assessing risks, managing construction sites and people. I am very proud of myself being a leader.

Tell us little bit about your world outside Spec…
I am from India and our culture is very different than Australian culture. My hobby is cooking, travelling and playing music. I have a loving husband and a beautiful 4-month-old daughter, she is a very calm baby.

How do you manage work / life balance?
My in-laws are currently visiting Australia, and they are helping us to look after my newborn daughter whilst my husband and I work.

What progress have you seen on gender equality in your life and work?
I have seen Spec giving opportunities to everyone to grow, equally, regardless of their gender.

What message do you think is the most important to young women thinking about their future careers?
Women can do everything, that is what I believe!

Can you share empowerment moment that inspired you?
I have seen many women working very hard, especially moms. They are there to feed their families, which makes me incredibly inspired… these women are my role models!

What does IWD means to you?
International Women’s Day celebrate women from all over the world. It’s an opportunity to say THANK YOU to incredible women all around us, for looking after their families and children, for recognising their achievements and simply for just being HER!

Hi Sue, how would you describe your every day at work?
My days at work are so varied. With quick turnaround. Our specialist team provides biological and environmental decontamination and forensic cleaning services. These services are designed to remediate affected areas to a level which provides a certified, safe environment for people to re-enter, work and reside in. Our ‘in house’ microbiologist, pathologist and hygienist, along with a team of trained technicians, will remediate any premises or situation back to a healthy and safe level as required.

What do you enjoy most at your role?
That I don’t stand still too long. Jobs get completed quickly which I love. Spec’s Biohazard team is like a family, we look after each other!

How long have you been with the company?
Coming up 3 years in November. I am the Spec’s Biohazard Division Supervisor.

What does “women in leadership” means to you?
I am proud to lead a team that supports me. Shows that if you are confident and determined, it doesn’t matter whether you are male of female.

How would you describe yourself as a leader?
Caring and understanding. I like to lead by example.

Tell us little bit about your world outside Spec…
English born. I enjoy walking with my pup. Listening to chilled out tunes. I also enjoy hanging out at my friend’s farm in Murrumbateman.

How do you manage work / life balance?
Biological, environmental and forensic cleaning is different every day. My background as a restaurant manager has really helped me with organising and prioritising. Preparation is everything, I organise my day in my head. What tools and equipment I will need, understanding the job etc.

What progress have you seen on gender equality in your life and work?
Definitely finding that referencing “you can’t do it because you’re a woman” has gone!

What does IWD means to you?
Celebrating Women’s Day shows how far we have come. How proud it makes me to see women in all sorts of roles that were previously only men lead – electricians, plumbers, mechanics… I wouldn’t have even considered what I am doing as a job when I was a child.

Hi Divya, how would you describe your every day at work?
In my role as HR Officer, I bring my skills, expertise, and unique perspective to the table. I’m passionate about making a difference in my field and contributing to the success of the projects I’m involved in. I’m fortunate to work in an environment where my contributions are valued and respected. I collaborate with colleagues who appreciate diversity and foster a culture of inclusion. We support each other, share ideas, and work together towards common goals.

What do you enjoy most at your role?
I find fulfillment in contributing to Spec’s growth trajectory, leveraging my HR expertise to collaborate with a diverse team. Excited to be part of Spec’s expansion, I’m passionate about streamlining processes to propel the company to new heights.

What does “women in leadership” means to you?
“Women in leadership” in the construction/cleaning industry, historically male-centric, signifies more than just representation; it embodies breaking entrenched barriers, championing diversity, and catalyzing innovation, all pivotal for our business’s triumph.

How would you describe yourself as a leader?
I prioritize fostering an inclusive culture where every voice is heard and valued. My strength lies in empathy, as I believe understanding and respecting diverse perspectives leads to stronger teams and better outcomes. I strive to create an environment where individuals feel empowered to contribute their unique talents, fostering collaboration and innovation. In promoting inclusivity, I aim to cultivate a workplace where everyone feels a sense of belonging and can thrive to their fullest potential.

Tell us little bit about your world outside Spec…
Having an Indian background, I’ve lived in multiple countries, experiencing diverse cultures from a young age. This fusion of my Indian heritage with global adventures has broadened my worldview and moulded my identity. Additionally, I embrace my community and culture by actively participating in events and celebrations that showcase our traditions and values.

What progress have you seen on gender equality in your life and work?
I agree that there has been notable progress in gender equality, particularly with the increasing number of women entering fields traditionally dominated by men. This shift signifies a positive trend towards greater inclusivity and opportunities for individuals of all genders in the workforce. Additionally, it’s encouraging to observe more men taking on caregiving responsibilities and embracing roles as stay-at-home dads, highlighting a broader societal shift towards breaking down traditional gender roles and fostering more equitable family dynamics.

Have you faced any barriers in your career due to being a woman?
I’ve faced situations where inquiries about my family plans surfaced during interviews, potentially creating obstacles in the hiring process. However, I’ve realized that I’m not obliged to respond to such inquiries. I’ve navigated these challenges by steering the conversation back to my qualifications, expertise, and dedication to the role, underlining that personal matters are unrelated to my professional competence. Through asserting my boundaries and prioritizing my right to privacy, I’ve ensured that my career progression is solely determined by my merit and suitability for the position.

What message do you think is the most important to young women thinking about their future careers?
To young women considering their careers in HR, I’d emphasize the importance of confidence, mentorship, and continuous learning.

Can you share an empowerment moment that inspired you?
Every day in my workplace, I’m inspired by the empowering stories shared by women who exhibit remarkable courage and resilience. While it’s challenging to pinpoint just one moment, the collective courage and determination displayed by my female colleagues continually inspire me to strive for excellence and advocate for empowerment in the workplace.

Hi Katie, how would you describe your every day at work?
Very diverse. Every day is completely different. I might be in the office, on a site or at off-site meetings. The people I interact with could be clients, government stakeholders, my corporate team or the operations team. On any given day, I may have to go from a site inspection to a formal client meeting or from the office to a construction site. I have a several changes of clothes in my car to fit the environment I may be going to!

What does “women in leadership” means to you and why do you think it’s important for your business?
To me, it signifies the empowerment and representation of women in positions of authority and influence. Particularly in our male dominated industry, having women leaders is the most tangible commitment a company can make to creating a more diverse and inclusive leadership landscape. Personally, I want younger women to look at our women leaders and know that we are working to provide them with equal opportunities to lead, make decisions and drive positive change.

How do you manage work / life balance?
Oh boy – my life is hectic! I guess, as the “Boss” I am only beholden to my own standards and commitments – however, I tend to over-commit in every aspect of life. At work, I’m trying to delegate more and focus on higher level company development. Having a very capable team working with me certainly makes it easier! For the first 6 years, our business was run from home, which really blurred the lines of where work finished, and home life began. But since moving to our office in 2020, we have at least created a small separation between work and home.

What progress have you seen on gender equality in your life and work?
Even in the 10 years Spec has been running, I have seen enormous change. Particularly in the construction industry. When I first started in 2014, you would rarely see women anywhere on a construction site. Now, (at least in the good reputable companies) there are women at all levels – form corporate to middle management and into the operations teams, it’s great to see.

Have you faced any barriers in your career due to being a woman?
I think this is a hard question to answer… barriers, there have been plenty. But could I say any of them are due to being a woman? I don’t think so. In saying this, I have never put myself in a position where my success is determined by someone else. I have surrounded myself with like-minded people- people who believe in success for everyone, no matter your gender, race, or any other persuasion. The biggest barrier in my career is managing a business and children – being able to dedicate enough time and attention to both is a constant battle.

Why is gender equality important for your business?
We position our company as an industry leader and a best practice organisation. Particularly as a women owned and led business, fostering an inclusive work environment is at the forefront of our values. But believe me, it’s not purely altruistic! Having women in leadership has great returns in terms of performance, staff retention and wellbeing. Go Girls!

What can men do to help to achieve equality?
I started my answer to this by writing “we are so lucky to have an amazing team of supportive men”… and I guess that’s the problem, isn’t it? We shouldn’t have to count ourselves lucky to have the men around us supporting and championing the success of women. This should just be the standard.

Why do we need more women in leadership?
Because women are awesome! Seriously, we are the silent cogs that keep entire countries running. This is not to say that men don’t play a very important role as well. It’s not about men vs women, it’s about recognising and celebrating the skills of women and how they apply to the corporate world.

Can you tell us more about Spec’s mission / vision for the future?
We achieved our goal of 50% women in leadership in 2021. This extends through all levels of leadership – from the executive team to management and operational teams. Our goal is to maintain this balance, drawing on the strengths of men and women alike. We do this through leadership pathways, training and recognition.

Hi Nicky, how would you describe your every day at work?
Every day is different, that is part of the appeal. The team I work with is like family so no job is too hard!

What do you enjoy most at your job at Spec?
The people, the opportunity to learn new skills both formally and informally.

How long have you been with the company?
I have worked for Spec for 6 years; I am the multi-site supervisor.

How would you describe yourself as a (female) leader?
I get the job done, I am straight forward and tough when needed, I am good at communicating across all levels of the company. I lead by example.

Tell us little bit about your world outside Spec…
Outside Spec my family is my priority. I enjoy reading, jigsaws and magnet fishing.

How do you manage work / life balance?
I make sure that make time for myself. I am able to switch off when I leave work, this is something that has taken time. I used to find this hard to do, but now I know how to switch off.

What progress have you seen on gender equality in your life and work?
There are many more females working in construction, the change seen in the last 3 – 4 years, both at management level and workers. Empowerment can come from the top down.

Have you faced any barriers in your career due to being a woman?
At the beginning of my career, I have faced some barriers due to being a woman – construction foreman could be very negative towards women. I overcame this by standing my ground, the quality of my work spoke for itself.

What message do you think is the most important to young women thinking about their future careers?
Go for it, make sure you choose to work for a company that accepts you as you are.

Can you share a (women’s) empowerment moment that inspired you?
My mum worked 3 jobs to get herself through school, she did this so she could get a better job and then be able to spend more time with her family.

What does IWD means to you?
It is a chance to celebrate women and a chance to send a thank you to all the women that I work with every day.

Hi Juliana, how long have you been with the company and what is your role?
I have recently joined Spec. I have been in my role as a Construction Project Manager 4 months now.

How would you describe your every day at work?
I describe myself as a very hard-working, very multifaceted. I do several tasks in the day, such as driving to multiple construction sites, planning, scheduling, reporting, answering the phone a lot, organizing the next day’s work, reviewing contracts, resource allocation, identifying projects risks and liaising with management… everyday solving work-related problems, ensuring my bosses, workers and clients are happy; after all, we are solution focused business! And simply making sure that everything works in the best way – on time, on budget, on spec.

What does “women in leadership” means to you?
It means being able to be versatile, being able to do many different things or to adjust to new conditions – for example women who are not afraid to work in construction and don’t think that this job is only for men. It also means talent and ability to face any type of work or even situation.

How would you describe yourself as a (female) leader? What are your strengths and superpowers?
Through my role, I would like to inspire many women to dream BIG and never give up becoming a leader and to explore new (different) career opportunities.

Tell us little bit about your world outside Spec…
I was born in Medellin, Colombia located in South America. In my country, I was studying at the University and working in an office. When I arrived in Australia in 2018, I started working as a cleaner in construction. I think it was one of the most difficult moments of my life – arriving in a new country, facing new culture and new language, which was not easy to adapt to.

I will tell you a little more about my life. I am an only child. My parents live in Colombia and every month, I send them money so they can survive. I am very grateful to have arrived in this country – it changed my life; although, it is difficult and sad to be away from my family and loved ones. I got married 6 years ago, here in Australia, but my husband is from Colombia and together, we have formed our small home.

Throughout these years, I have built many great relationships with friends, colleagues and people who have been very supportive in this process. I do not have children yet, due to my career being my main focus at the moment, but one day, I’d hope to have one.

How do you manage work / life balance?
I feel that I manage my time the best I can, and I am always focused on learning and obtaining new knowledge that propels me forward.

What progress have you seen on gender equality in your life and work?
I think that the progress in gender equality that I have seen in Australia is inspiring – women are capable and able to work in construction and other male dominated industries. Unfortunately, we see a lot of gender bias and discrimination towards women in Colombia, that stereotypical belief that women must be performing a particular type of job; for example, no woman works in construction!

What message do you think is the most important to young women thinking about their careers in construction industry?
My message to young women who are experimenting in the industry, especially in construction, is that they do not limit themselves, whether because of the language or because they do not have the appropriate experience, each one must value themselves and believe that they can achieve what they set out to achieve.

Can you share an empowerment moment that inspired you?
What has inspired me the most to achieve my goals was learning English, removing the language barrier and being able to help my family in Colombia.

What does IWD means to you?
It means not being afraid to achieve any goal we set for ourselves. It means gender freedom.

Hi Sam, can you tell us what is the difference between gender equity, gender equality and women’s empowerment?
Gender equity – relates to fairness. Gender equality – is allowing all genders equal treatment regarding rights, opportunities and responsibilities.

Why is gender equality important for your business?
At Spec Services we wish to attract all genders when applying for any position with our business, regarding rights, opportunities & responsibilities.

What do you believe needs to happen to achieve gender equity in Australia?
Fairness (equity) during the interview process, the onboarding process, the training/learning period and the review method of the probationary period.

What can men do to help to achieve equality?
Men play a very important role in maintaining ‘fairness/equity’ in their day to day lives, whether it’s at work, home, sport, socially… keeping equality at the forefront of everyone’s minds is crucial for our children, siblings, grandchildren, parents and friends. Every person regardless of race, religion, culture, sex, etc deserves to be treated fairly in all environments. Men must encourage other men to bridge the equality gap in conversion, mannerisms and what’s accepted socially.

Why do we need more women in leadership?
To ensure our future female leaders in this country, don’t have the barriers existing today… we need to move forward.

Can you tell us more about your company’s mission?
We’re very proud at Spec Services to have achieved a closing of the gender gap in our Supervisor and Management leadership roles across all our divisions – Construction, Commercial, Amenities, Bio Hazard & Forensics, and our newly accredited division – Asbestos & Lead.

What does IWD means to you?
IWD means to me – There is exposure now for all of us to do better regarding acceptance of both male and females being equal in business and society in Australia in 2024!

IWD 2024