The Women in Trade Event

Date: Friday 25th March 2022

Time: 3.00pm – 6.30pm

Location: The Timber Yard (351 Plummer St, Port Melbourne, VIC 3207).

About the event

Your chance to meet an epic lineup of influential and inspiring women, empowering conversation with like-minded women, networking opportunities, awards, games, gifts and plenty of fun.

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Panel Appearance:

  • Monique Burns – Master Builders Association of Victoria, Legal Manager and Associate Legal Counsel
  • Bardie Somerville– at Cowan Build Construction, Fourth Year Carpentry Apprentice and Public Figure
  • Melissa Manson – 2019 The Block Contestant and Contracts Administrator
  • Chelsea Symes – Bowens, Internal Sales and ex-Cabinet Maker
  • Vesna Brown – Bowens, Head of Human Resources

Special Guest Appearance

Stef Apostolidis – Site Manager and Co-Founder of Tradie Lady Club (TLC)

Better known as Melbourne Chippy Chick, Stef is a Carpenter and Site Manager for LGA Home Builders. She is raising awareness for women in the construction industry, founding the Tradie Lady Club (TLC), now with over 700 members in its private Facebook group and over 16.5K Instagram followers.

Our Panellists

Monique Burns –Master Builders Association of Victoria, Legal Manager and Associate Legal Counsel

Having joined the Association in late 2017, Monique leverages her background in business and law to provide members with commercial and astute legal advice across various matters, including contractual queries, disputes with owners and issues regarding non-payment. Specialising in Building and Construction Law, Monique takes a particular interest in providing advice on industry-related problems and is passionate about supporting members through their various projects.

Bardie Somerville – Fourth Year Carpentry Apprentice and Public Figure

Based in New South Wales and better known as Bards Builds, Bardie is a Fourth Year Carpentry Apprentice at Cowan Build Construction. With over 12k Instagram followers Bardie raises awareness for women in the construction industry. She supports, inspires, and connects women in construction and trades.  Bardie initially studied a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the National Art School, however, after a few years working as a labourer she discovered a newborn passion for the trade and began her career as a Carpenter.

Melissa Manson – 2019 The Block Contestant and Contracts Administrator

Melissa, also known as ‘The Bullet,’ is an administrator at an engineering company and is an ex-contestant of the TV series The Block 2019. Melissa renovated her first apartment in St Kilda followed by a three-story terrace in an iconic St Kilda building formerly known as The Oslo Hotel. Melissa is currently on her third renovation as owner-builder on a single fronted Victoria. Both Melissa and Jesse currently run an Instagram account with 25k followers inspiring Australians to renovate and get on the tools.

Vesna Brown – Bowens, Head of Human Resources

Vesna started her career in Industrial Relations before moving into a generalist HR function including talent management, training and development, remuneration and benefits and organisational design.  Vesna joined Bowens in 2012 and has since enjoyed leading a team motivated to create a high-performance environment where staff feel energised to give their best and grow their career.

Chelsea Symes – Bowens, Internal Sales and ex-Cabinet Maker

Chelsea worked as a cabinet maker whilst studying building and construction. Soon after, Chelsea started her career at Bowens in counter sales and was recently promoted to internal sales. She represents one of many female branch employees and inspires and motivates her team through positive leadership.

The Margaret Hickey Award

The Margaret Hickey Award will recognise women who have overcome the barriers of working within the building and construction industry to succeed. Bowens has continuously encouraged and empowered women by offering employment opportunities across different departments within the business. In homage to the success of professional women at Bowens, we have named The Margaret Hickey Award after the first woman we employed in 1913.

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