AIRAH established the Women of AIRAH special technical group to help promote diversity, representation and inclusion within the ranks of HVAC&R. Established in 2016, the Women of AIRAH (WOA) group works to develop AIRAH’s strategy for supporting women and increasing their participation in both AIRAH and the HVAC&R industry at large. In 2019 all of AIRAH's division committees and special technical groups were invited to nominate a diversity champion to expand on the work of the founding committee.
The diversity champions will ensure the following in their committees:
Actively encourage female participation in their committees
- Actively encourage and seek female speakers for the committee organised events
- Include events in every state that focus on interpersonal skills (e.g. unconscious bias, negotiation skills, leadership, etc.)
- Promote stories and achievements of female or diversity champion individuals/companies from each state/committee
- Support the WOA committee in organising WOA events prior to major events in their state.
Diverse teams are proven to be more effective: they produce better financial results and better results in innovation. These results show that having a diverse organisation is a business imperative. (The Data on Diversity 2014). While diversity is a vast umbrella, gender diversity is an area with great potential for growth within HVAC&R.
Workplace gender equality is associated with:
- Improved national productivity and economic growth
- Increased organisational performance
- Enhanced ability of companies to attract talent and retain employees
- Enhanced organisational reputation
(Workplace Gender Equality Agency, 2016)
This can also be considered an industry imperative, as AIRAH represents an industry body that seeks to continue to grow and innovate.
Unfortunately, the gender gap remains wide, and women are still significantly and visibly under-represented in the HVAC&R industry.
Women of AIRAH is seeking gender equality and representation in the workplace, with the intent of making the Women of AIRAH group redundant through achieving critical mass within the HVAC&R industry (30 per cent [Gender Diversity in the
Boardroom and Firm Performance: What Exactly Constitutes a “Critical Mass?”, 2012]).
The committee welcomes and encourages all advocates working toward gender equality and representation in the workplace and will engage in any constructive dialogue toward that end.
This group is the national steering committee which will develop and drive initiatives to improve the entry and subsequent engagement and retention of women in the HVAC&R industry.
The Committee aims to:
- Increase the number of female members in AIRAH to 30 per cent.
- Increase female participation in the AIRAH committees to 30 per cent at all levels.
- Promote industry leadership in the following key areas:
Communicate the business case for diversity within the AIRAH and wider HVAC&R community.
Provide guidance to the HVAC&R industry to develop a considered, integrated and approach to gender diversity and improving it.
- Attracting female graduates and apprentices into HVAC&R
- Providing networking and support opportunities for women during all stages of their careers
- Encouraging employers to create a diverse workplace through recruitment, career development and cultural transformations
- Assisting women to feel engaged in our industry and part of the HVAC&R community
- Improving retention of women in the HVAC&R industry
- Highlighting the female role models within the industry and celebrating their achievements and contributions.
To formalise and track progress toward these aims, the committee will establish a rolling list of projects/outcomes to be accomplished for the calendar year. The list will be updated yearly with interim reviews as appropriate.
Deliverables and Communications
The Committee aims will be fostered via the following:
- Building a female community and support network within AIRAH
- National events at major conventions (ARBS/Future of HVAC)
- State Events – Presentations at forums, seminars, conferences and other industry events, workshops/networking etc.
- Development, identification and celebration of female leaders / role models / presenters in the HVAC space.
- Collaboration with AIRAH state committees and other stakeholder groups
- Articles in Ecolibrium
- Mentoring and support opportunities
- Promoting diversity agenda within the AIRAH community.
The Committee will communicate its activities and publications through:
- Ecolibrium contributions
- Input into state division events
- Focused seminars/events
- AIRAH newsletter
- Direct contact with members.
Women of AIRAH Committee and diversity champions
Mikaila Ganado, M.AIRAH (Chair)
Ura Sarfejoo, M.AIRAH
Committee diversity champions
Neil Caswell, M.AIRAH Infection Control and Operating Theatre Practices STG, NSW Committee)
Sally Carmichael, Affil.AIRAH (Refrigeration STG)
Ben Adamson, F.AIRAH (Refrigeration STG)
Xiaolin Wang, Stud.AIRAH (Solar Cooling STG)
Peta Blight, M.AIRAH (WA Committee)
Elizabeth Paparo, Affil.AIRAH (NSW Committee)
Chris Flanagan, M.AIRAH (Qld Committee)
Jenny Smith, Affil.AIRAH (NT Committee)
Liza Taylor, M.AIRAH (Resilience STG)
AIRAH Executive Support
Marie Karekla – Engagement and Program Coordinator, AIRAH
The Committee is responsible for its own administration including the preparation and circulation of minutes and agendas. Meeting minutes must be lodged with the AIRAH Executive manager – government relations and technical services.
Term of office and incumbents
All committee positions shall become vacant on January 31 each year. The committee shall accept nominations from any interested AIRAH member.
The Chairman/President and Deputy shall be elected annually by the committee members at the first meeting following January 31. The incumbent may re-nominate.
If you are interested in being involved please contact Phil Wilkinson, the Executive manager – government relations and technical services, [email protected]
Click here to log into the committee portal
The committee will comprise a minimum of five members, with a chair and deputy chair elected from the committee membership. State committee chairs shall be referred to as State President.
Membership is open to any financial AIRAH member.
We have a dedicated Women of AIRAH group on LinkedIn.
You can also follow all Women of AIRAH news on Twitter via #WomenOfAIRAH.
The Women of AIRAH STG has initiated a Career Series, featuring professionals discussing the latest issues and trends affecting women in the HVAC&R industry.
Session 1 – Leading for Success: Overcoming Challenges in a Changing Environment
Friday, November 27, 2020
Exceptional leaders shared their stories and practical tips on how they have adapted in a COVID-19 impacted environment.
The session covered:
- Adaptability, leadership, and keeping in touch with trends
- Networking, developing a personal brand, and standing out in a virtual environment
- Communication and staying relevant
||Mikaila Ganado, M.AIRAH (LinkedIn)
Mikaila is an associate and part owner at GWA Consultants Australia, based in Sydney. She is a mechanical engineer actively involved in the design and construction management of various projects, ranging from main plant and controls upgrades to essential services and fitouts across all industry sectors.
Mikaila specialises in whole building energy upgrades and is passionate about improving the energy performance of existing buildings.
||Liza Taylor, M.AIRAH (LinkedIn)
Liza is the CEO and co-founder of Global IQ Group, a management consulting company specialising in the HVAC&R, sustainability and technology arena. She has spent the past 20 years working for some of Australia’s most loved brands – 3M, George Weston Foods, Pacific Brands, Hunter Douglas, and ActronAir. Her specialty is transforming ideas into business growth opportunities.;
||Elizabeth Paparo, Affil.AIRAH (LinkedIn)
Elizabeth Paparo is in her 11th year in the HVAC&R industry, having worked in the wholesale sector originally within Heatcraft Australia and now as part of the Beijer Ref group, heading the communications function at Kirby.
||Christie Deneys, Affil.AIRAH (LinkedIn)
Christie is national general manager for HydroChem, where she is responsible for delivering HydroChem’s national service standard. This entails consistency of processes and procedures through the operational teams.
She is dedicated to developing management teams and their leadership skills through continuous coaching, mentoring, taking a collaborative approach, and fostering a sense of ownership.
Please stay tuned for announcements on the Women of AIRAH STG's next Career Series event.