Partner Sarah Fitts was a featured Q&A panelist in P3 Bulletin’s Diversity and Inclusion issue, discussing improving the gender imbalance in the infrastructure industry, the benefits of workplace diversity, and her top moment in the last five years:
How well does the Public-Private Partnership (P3) and infrastructure industry promote women and have you seen this changing over the last few years?
SF: There are many prominent and impactful women in the infrastructure community. For the last decade there has been a growing awareness of the role of infrastructure in addressing many of our current challenges from environmental issues and social justice to expanding renewable energy and automation and improving urban environments. As a consequence, people are coming to infrastructure as a vocation and passion from outside the traditional construction industry, and that is resulting in more women at the table and in leadership roles as well.
I think the industry attracts women who want to make a difference, and nothing affects how we live and work more than our built environment.
Why do you think it is important that there is gender balance in organizations?
SF: … in my experience, we get better results, have more satisfying professional experiences, and can enjoy richer personal connections when we make the effort to work with and understand people who have different perspectives.
No matter how hard each of us tries to be open and perceptive, in the end we are all shaped by our experiences. As a consequence, we all have blind spots. Having people with different experiences working together reduces the risk that we all have the same blind spot.
What has been your career highlight over the last five years?
SF: If I had to pick one highlight, it would be the release of Distributed Generation Law at the end of last month. This is a multi-author book that focuses on the history, policy, and law underpinning distributed generation. I led that project and was co-editor. It was nearly three years from start to finish. Bringing a project like that to completion (while still doing my day job) tested all my leadership skills, but the result was really satisfying.
What role do you see P3 having in helping to recover for the Covid-19 pandemic and boosting economies through infrastructure investment?
SF: We can expect that governments will be resource constrained until we fully recover from Covid. I think P3s are particularly suited to services that the public wants and is willing to pay for, but for which there is no compelling reason that they must be provided by government.
I also think P3 could open up creative alternatives on a smaller scale, such as new energy systems or building maintenance. These could be more impactful than the mega projects, and easier to implement.
Read the full article here.
Read the P3 Bulletin’s full Diversity and Inclusion issue here. (Subscription required)