You might have seen an article on BIM+ about our recent meeting of the BIM Regions Champs and some commitments we have made.
You can read it here:
My/response is as below. Sarah Rock, our Champs lead on Inclusion and Diversity will also be responding.
I want to respond to Dan’s comments as he raises serious issues, which deserve a considered response. However before we get carried away we need to put this in context and give it some perspective.
We invited BIM+ to our Champs Board as one of our media partners. Of necessity their article is a very brief snippet of a 4-hour meeting. So it’s going to be a little short on detail.
The 50/50 gender balanced target is just that, a target. We have set a number of targets for what we are calling the Champs SLA (Service Level Agreement) in terms of what we will deliver as a network at a local level. These are guidelines, a framework, to introduce some consistency and a minimum standard. However in terms of gender balance, if we achieve our target, we will do so by growth not through playing musical chairs with people and roles. We grow the network, we grow more groups, and we get more Champs. Simples. Many of our groups have core leadership teams, have as many champs as you like! Hopefully some will be women, some will be from ethnic minorities and various sexual orientations to increase our diversity. Our intention is to connect, grow and network – with everyone.
There seems to be an underlying misconception that people are queuing up to be Champs. Far from it! I wish. This is a role that is unpaid, you get little thanks, we receive no funding from anyone and it takes effort, commitment and a passion for BIM and transforming our recalcitrant industry. Moreover it would seem that we are engaged in some clandestine selection or de-selection process – this could not be further from the truth.
I cannot imagine any circumstances, under which someone whoever they are, whatever their race, gender, sexuality or creed being turned away if they’re willing to commit and help.
As a point of reference in terms of current status, our Board has 30% women – not bad by industry standards. And that was without trying! So why not 50%?
So far so good. But our vision as the BIM Regions takes in a much broader picture now. What does a truly Digital Industry look like? In terms of gender, race, sexuality, sustainability, safety, health, environment, whole life balance, communities, work force and so on?
I return to what I said at our meeting. As a typical professional male in a male dominated industry, maybe the time has come to try to even things up a bit. People will argue about the “right” way to this. Any excuse not to do something. If we can create a culture where anyone can come forward and stand up to be counted, particularly where we are creating a culture that encourages and supports women, those from ethnic minorities and any sexual orientation to be recognized, affirmed and empowered, then surely this is a step in the right direction. Pointing to a Digital Diverse Industry?
Justin Trudeau appointed a gender-balanced cabinet for the Canadian Government. I imagine some argued with that. He had made a stand.
Whilst what we are trying to do in the BIM Regions perhaps can’t be compared in the same way, I believe if we are talking about a digital transformation and everything that means, then we can at least try to show how things should be.
We talk about BIM, so we have our own Champs CDE courtesy of 4 Projects/Viewpoint.
As we grow the network, then our number of Champs will increase and hopefully we will achieve a gender balanced board.
This is a framework, a guideline, an intention, a rule of thumb even.
Meeting these targets and our other aspirations is totally dependent on who’s out there and willing to work with us, and how we develop.
For your information Sarah Rock, Champ for the South East, is our lead on diversity and inclusion. Also we retain our links with the CIC and they remain one of our key partners.
So I finish with an open message to everyone in the industry. By all means sit in the stands and pass comment. Or you can get on the pitch with us and help determine the outcome.
Joint Chair – BIM Regions