September 1, 2015
Woman on Top
Lucrative Business Manager and all-round role model for women, Jeanette Singline has experienced what it’s like to be a part of a minority group. Here, she shares her life’s influences and how it impacted her to be a voice for women in building today.
Jeanette Singline is on a pursuit to change the ethos of the building industry with its stereotypical male-dominated trend. Boasting a genuine personality and hardworking ethic, Jeanette certainly knows what it’s like to be a minority in a specific field, which sparked her passion to help other women break into the construction industry.
“I spent two years growing up in Arnhem Land which is an Indigenous-based area in the middle of nowhere, so I learnt to adapt quickly as we were very much a minority within a minority,” says Jeanette. “I’d never change these experiences though as I feel it’s made me who I am today.”
Despite her unusual upbringing, Jeanette’s life experiences have led her to where she is today, an award-winning business manager for Buildmore and Project Manager of Industry Women Central, an online education hub that supports and links women in the building and construction industry.
Sure there are a lot of males in the industry, but there are also a lot of females. The numbers are low but we are making ripples, and ripples turn into waves.”
“Industry Women Central is what we proposed needed to happen after the Women into Building project, which saw 80 women from around Queensland construct and design a small-lot home,” she says.
“After this project was completed, we sent a comprehensive report to the Industry Skills Council to start Industry Women Central, which would give women and businesses a place to go for information in all areas of construction and building.
I am also part of the Sunshine Coast Technical Trade Training committee, which rolls out trade day programs for young women thinking of doing a trade. It’s important to get this information out there because industry support is definitely out there, but it is scattered.”
Jeanette’s successful career stems back to when she started out as a personal assistant to one of South Australia’s top real estate agents, where she was unaware that her professional profile was already being marketed around the state.
“I landed a job managing a few real estate offices around South Australia, but then I wanted to take my job further and wanted to know more about how to build a house. I moved up to Queensland and secured this job with Buildmore and have been with them for seven years now,” says Jeanette.
Women are generally role models in everyday life. There is no reason women can’t do the same job men do, and what makes a project any different if it has women standing in front of it?”
As a diligent worker Jeanette has remained a positive role model in the industry and her ability to involve women in a male-dominated world has been nothing but admirable. Jeanette receives contact from women from all over Queensland on a daily basis seeking advice on building-related issues.
“I never put my hand up to be a mentor, but I started getting phone calls from women who wanted to be pointed in the right direction,” she says. “I want to aid women into building and show that young girls or women already in the industry can put their stories out there and realise there is no stereotype.
“I’m definitely a people’s person, I don’t like to be shoved in the corner. I’m meeting different individuals every single day and because I’m not a government representative I can say things others can’t. I’ve got a voice that some others don’t have the courage to use.”
Along with Jeanette’s lucrative background, she continues to push for a stronger female presence in the building industry by working with other networks such as the National Association for
Women in Construction (NAWIC) and Supporting and Linking Tradeswomen (SALT) who supply women with monthly workshops and other educational events.
“The key is to become more visible and accessible, the more women recognise they are role models and have something to give, the more the younger generation can see that,” she says.
“Women are generally role models in everyday life. There is no reason women can’t do the same job men do, and what makes a project any different if it has women standing in front of it? “Sure there are a lot of males in the industry, but there are also a lot of females. The numbers are low but we are making ripples, and ripples turn into waves.”
Jeanette is immensely pleased that major corporate companies have already jumped on the bandwagon to incorporate women into the industry, with some CEOs endorsing a Champions of Change Initiative, which calls for equal rights and pay for women in the workforce.
“Having a diverse workforce with women in board positions gives businesses profitability. There are things that need to change in order to accommodate equality, such as being more flexible and stop stereotyping women, but it all starts from the top. It’s about supporting your co-workers whether you’re male or female,” she says.
Last year Jeanette’s success continued to flourish with the addition of her being added to the board of Master Builders, a major Australian building and construction industry association.
“They called me and asked if I was entering the Women into Building Award because they’d heard of my involvement on the project we did, and the fact I was on the Sunshine Coast Technical Trade Training committee,” she says. “I was astounded they knew all about me but I entered at the last minute and amazingly I won the award. I wear this award as a badge of honour and have since been asked to sit on the Master Builder Board.”
An achievement as enormous as this would likely top anyone’s work aspirations, but Jeanette remains grounded and strives to promote women in the building industry while she actively manages Buildmore and their growing business goals.
“People say all the time that I’ve been really lucky, but I believe you make your own fortune and it all comes back to the choices you’ve made. As a young girl I didn’t have the greatest family environment and was always going around to different places. I didn’t have an appreciation for the experiences I was going through. Adapting to different environments and talking to different people was the norm for me,” she says.
“I’ve always been a personal assistant, promoting and supporting other people and trying to get them on the pedestal, so for me this was a great personal achievement.”
With a driven work ethic and the ability to sway others, Jeanette maintains her stance on bringing women into the workforce and growing Buildmore’s already highly regarded reputation.
I asked the successful business woman what her most prized advice would be to women wanting to get into the building industry, she says, “explore your options, there is a vast array of exciting and rewarding career options in the building industry and get in touch with your local support groups like Master Builders and NAWIC. The Buildmore Group and I have always been very passionate about women and changing our “traditional” roles and I think that is why this cause has struck a chord with me, because during my life’s experiences I’ve always been in a minority situation”.