In recognition of International Women’s Day on March 8, and this year’s theme, #BeBoldForChange, we are featuring stories from our leaders and employees throughout the month of March, describing their own bold moments in relation to workplace equality and honoring diversity and inclusion.
On International Women’s Day, I celebrate all of the women at AECOM and the groundbreaking, exceptional work we are able to accomplish due to the talent they bring. The engineering and construction industry has traditionally been thought of as a “man’s world,” but we see that perception changing every day, and it is inspiring to know so many key positions in our company are filled by women, because they are the best-qualified person for the job.
I also think of my beloved late mother on this day. When my siblings and I were children, we saw how she balanced her dedication to her profession of teaching, which she loved, and to her family, whom she also loved. Watching my mother taught me to appreciate the unique and irreplaceable contributions of anyone who is taking care of their home and family. Being a parent is one of the toughest full-time jobs; in fact, there is no way anyone can do it part time. It requires leadership, smart planning, emotional intelligence and many other skills that keep a family functioning and healthy. I never underestimate how much dedication goes into this job by those who do it, and I salute the many women who are balancing this alongside a full-time professional job.
Finally, I’m grateful to all the talented people – women and men – on our AECOM team across the Asia Pacific region. The fact that women are excelling in key roles across our organization and making significant contributions to our business is because we are all bold in forging women’s advancement. Perhaps it is more accurate and more important to say that we are all bold in forging the advancement of talent – that we value skills and experience irrespective of gender, and that we do not limit giving women equal consideration due to any gender-related perceptions. This is the measure of true equality.
Sean C.S. Chiao is president, Asia Pacific, overseeing AECOM’s strategic growth and business operations in Greater China, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand, including more than 12,000 employees. He has led award-winning masterplans for new towns and the regeneration of urban landscapes. He is a passionate urbanist and firm believer in the power of collaboration to create holistic solutions and inspire the next generation. Sean led the 2016 publication, “Jigsaw City,” on the Asian new town, and he initiated the “AECOM Studio” with the Harvard Graduate School of Design, giving students an opportunity to engage with Asia’s urban challenges through in-depth design studies.