Tony Schreiber

A message from the chair – April 2024

In this edition, I want to acknowledge one of the ASI Board members Maria Mavrikos, who is the founder and managing director of leading Victorian steel fabricator Structural Challenge. This is a story to read in full as Maria made an incredible impact on me in March 2024.

International Women’s Day was on 8 March this year. I did what many do, and supported various workplace events within my business. I participated in a company-wide virtual panel where, along with several women within our company, we shared our thoughts and experiences, and identified challenges women face when advancing their careers in the steel industry.

International Women’s Day done for the year…or so I thought.

On 19 March I saw a LinkedIn post in which Maria shared insights into her own journey to become an outstanding business person, ambassador of our industry, and supporter of the communities that we serve. Maria spoke of the challenges in not being readily accepted for what she was – the leader of a steel fabrication company.

Maria shared observations and her thoughts on how to attract and advance women in the steel industry by working consistently with structured initiatives, specific goals, tangible opportunities, and open communication challenges to receive feedback from the frontline.

Maria’s closing paragraph was a compelling call to action for us all … and if women do not consider steel a career option, an annual celebration with a cute pink cupcake won’t do the job. We need as many men as possible in this industry to take ownership of the Women in Construction Strategy. It’s a great strategy; it’s time to bring it across the line.

Maria has put her own words into action, founding Steel Chicks—a community for women breaking into, re-entering and developing within the steel industry.  

We, as the Australian steel industry, are dedicated to supporting Australia realise its societal ambitions. We come together across the value chain and supply chain to make the unbelievable happen. We make structures that astound the eye. We make gathering places like stadiums, campuses, and shopping centres that connect people. We make public and private infrastructure that house, support and educate the community. We make a difference.

In support of Steel Chicks let us all resolve to make a difference in the speed by which our industry removes barriers, impediments or traditions that demotivate women from aspiring to enter our industry. Let us all resolve to enable women maximum equality in our industry. Let us resolve to make our industry open for all Australians.

Please be an advocate for initiatives such as Steel Chicks, Women in Construction, and many other programs. Dare to be more than an advocate and recall Maria’s words—we need as many men as possible in this industry to take ownership. 

Tony Schreiber 
Chair, ASI

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