We are thrilled to announce our inaugural ‘Inspiring Women in Infrastructure Leadership’ award.

This award is a beacon of recognition for the remarkable women who have shone brightly on their leadership journeys with The Learning Wave over the past 12 months.

It’s no secret that women remain under-represented in the infrastructure sector. By honouring those who exemplify exceptional leadership qualities, we’re igniting a flame of inspiration and empowerment for women to pursue leadership roles within infrastructure. We want to be a part of the solution, so we have launched this award. 

Our facilitators identified standout learners throughout their leadership programmes who modelled the attributes and behaviours of women committed to making a difference in the infrastructure sector. Their unwavering dedication and courage in navigating a predominantly male-dominated industry have earned them not only accolades within their organisations but also admiration as role models for emerging leaders. Their leadership is a guiding light, and we are privileged to walk alongside them on this transformative journey.

Special mention to our award finalists for embodying inspiration and resilience:

Janine Perrin, Emerging Talent Program Lead NZ at Downer
Jamie Walton, 2IC Data Network Surveyor at WEL Networks
Leah Essex, STS Operator at Downer
Sarah Chung, Business Growth & Strategy Specialist at Veolia. 

Congratulations to our winners Hope Fairley, Operations Manager at Freightways Limited and Polly McEwan, Traffic Management Operator at SouthRoads. 

‘’Hope embodies the spirit of growth and resilience that Freightways is known for. Starting from a level entry position, Hope has consistently embraced new challenges, working her way up with determination.  Balancing the demands of leadership with the responsibilities of single motherhood in our fast-paced industry is no small feat, yet she manages both with grace.

Hope is a pillar of support for her team, seamlessly transitioning between tough decisions and empathetic understanding. She’s not just a role model; she’s a force to be reckoned with, deserving of recognition for her outstanding leadership in infrastructure and her unwavering dedication to her team and family.’’

‘’Polly was the only woman in the SouthRoads leadership program last year. Polly spoke about her challenges being a woman in a male-dominated industry. She decided to speak up about it in front of the entire leadership team on the last day as part of her presentation. 

Polly sees herself as someone who can empower women to break the perception barriers by being courageous enough to speak up and showcase their unique skills to change the perception of women in the roading infrastructure industry. Polly is an inspiring woman who has earned a great deal of praise for her fortitude and commitment as a role model for others entering a strongly male-dominated industry.”

Hope and Polly will each receive three one-on-one sessions with a talented Learning Wave coach as part of their ongoing professional growth and development.

We look forward to seeing the new nominations for our 2025 award. Together, let’s continue to champion diversity and leadership excellence in infrastructure.