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Arcadis Director shares her inspiring journey to the top

Arcadis Director shares her inspiring journey to the top

 March 14, 2019

Edel Christie is the Managing Director for Buildings at Arcadis and the head of Arcadis’ focus on Age Diversity. Edel shares her insights on the female role models in her life, how she became a successful female leader, and what her future ambitions are for both Arcadis and for herself.

Celebrating the achievements of women

Edel believes it is vital to highlight the achievements of women.

"By increasing the gender balance in all aspects of life and work we can improve the world today and for the future and ensure fairness is achieved," says Edel.

Edel's role model is Ruth Bader Ginsburg and, if she could be any other woman for the day, she would be her mum, who is a specialist nurse in oncology.

"Her patience, compassion and technical excellence in what she knows and does, making a difference to the lives of patients and families everyday, I can only imagine how challenging that is, she is one resilient woman!" explains Edel.

Reaching for the top at work

Edel also shares insights on how she became part of Arcadis’ leadership team.

"I accepted opportunities that were diverse and not always a promotion ‘up’, learnt from those opportunities and seized the next one, that kept me energised and increased my understanding of our markets and capabilities." says Edel.

"I have also had the pleasure to work with great people in many locations around the world (a highlight was when I was based in Shanghai) and learning from people with different experiences and cultures increased by personal awareness and capacity to grow with them."

Edel has some advice for women who also want to pursue leadership roles within a company.

"For anybody I always have a simple piece of advice, there is no such thing as ‘bad work experience’ give everything a go at least once, that’s the only way you find your strengths and your areas where you would need others to work with you," adds Edel.

Edel has also faced obstacles in her career because of her gender. One of those is judgment from others, but Edel has a tactic to overcome this.

"Invest in the curiosity that normally helps with the judgment, it may take a little time but don’t accept ignorance or let poor perceptions and bias flourish," adds Edel.

Professional and personal ambitions

Edel also has many ambitions - for Arcadis for the North of the UK, and for herself.

She knows that Arcadis has made great progress in equality, diversity and inclusion, however there is still more to do.

"My ambition though is that our DNA means we simply lead in this area and that people choose to join and stay with us because their experience at work allows them to be best of themselves each and every day," says Edel.

And for the North: "I really desire that we can provide equal opportunity for education, careers and well-being across the north and its equal to that offered elsewhere in the UK. A simple ask for the many talented people in the North! We need to focus on securing economic futures for our towns and cities so that the next generations can have inspiring futures."

Finally, Edel's personal ambition is to first be the best mother she can be and to help others to thrive and to do this enable networks and opportunities for people to connect and engage.

"I passionately believe our industry can make a difference to gender equality that leads the way and will mean the girls and boys in pre-school now will look back in 20 years and wonder why we had to work so hard at equality, diversity and inclusion," adds Edel.

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Disclosure: Where Women Work researches and publishes insightful evidence about how its paid member organizations support women's equality.

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