BCITO's new advocate for women – Verina Jones

My name is Verina and I have recently been appointed to the role of Principal Advisor for Women at BCITO. 

Some of you may know me from one of my former roles as I worked both as an Industry Advocate and a Training Advisor based in Christchurch post-quake. I’d like to share my story.

Like a number of school leavers I had no idea what I wanted to do post-high school and nothing that I’d achieved at that time gave me a clear direction. So I fell into Tourism, Aviation, Teaching then Marketing, spending twenty-odd years moving between roles until I recognised my purpose which is to ‘lean in’.  

I’m really good at helping others find 'their thing', turning dreams into reality.  I also love to design, plan and develop.  Growing up home was Wellington but in the ’90s Rotorua was the tourism capital of NZ which is where I choose to settle.  Personal patience isn’t my strongest trait and my desire was to achieve financial independence. Now aged 28, working full-time I decided to team up with a female building project manager building the first of 4 new homes before dipping my toes in the renovation pool.

On my return to Wellington, I teamed up with a talented decorator and overalls became the weekend dress code.  But it wasn’t long before I traded office suit for a bib and brace heading south to Canterbury.  

There will be a few of you reading this that will understand when I say Christchurch was tough, at times heartbreaking but I feel humble for the permission given to me to be there and able to make a difference.

Throughout all my previous roles resilience was critical.  When the work in Canterbury shifted from residential to commercial, I used my transferable skills firstly as a Training Advisor, then returning to Wellington as a BCITO Advocate for three amazing construction sectors and now my attention is women - who make up 3% of our industry today.  Aristotle said, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” and my challenge is to lift the representation of women on the tools to 10% but I can’t do this alone.   

In 2020 BCITO's Building Women Framework will be launched. The framework is a culmination of works representing two years of conversations with real people and a lot of research.  There are six key focus areas.  One that I would like to co-own with you, as a critical industry partner, is to ensure women career seekers enjoy success with the trade that they have chosen. For 2020 let us “be the change you want to see in the world” - Gandhi.        

I wish you and those closest to you a relaxing and happy holiday break.

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