Builders Appoint First Woman CEO
Builders Appoint First Woman CEO, Mrs Denita Wawn

Master Builders’ first female CEO, Mrs Denita Wawn, was appointed in its 127-year history to represent the $200 billion building and construction industry.

The Board of Master Builders Australia has announced its appointment of Mrs Denita Wawn as the new Chief Executive Officer of Master Builders Australia, effective 20 March 2017.

In a giant leap forward for the corporate world in gender equality, Mrs Wawn will be Master Builders’ first female CEO in its 127-year history to represent the $200 billion building and construction industry and only the third CEO in thirty years.

In announcing Mrs Wawn’s appointment, the National President of Master Builders, Mr Dan Perkins, said, “Denita’s qualities, skills and experience as a highly accomplished industry leader and advocate saw her emerge as the successful candidate from the comprehensive recruitment process undertaken by the Board.”

“The Board is confident that Mrs Wawn’s leadership will see the implementation of its vision for Master Builders as a modern, credible and influential national voice for its more than 32,000 members,” he said. “Denita has impeccable credentials for success, including her wealth of experience spearheading game-changing advocacy and industrial relations campaigns at the National Farmers Federation (NFF) and the Australian Hotels Association (AHA),” Dan Perkins said.

“As CEO of the Brewers Association of Australia and New Zealand, Denita implemented a highly successful reputational change strategy at a national and international level,” he said. “Denita has spent over the past 12 months as General Manager Operations at Master Builders, giving her a strong foundation to understand the issues impacting on Master Builders and our members,” Dan Perkins said.

The Board is excited by Mrs Wawn’s leadership, her firm grasp of the factors driving industry association success, and her passionate commitment to standing up for members’ interests,” Dan Perkins said.

Although her appointment was announced to the membership last week, the announcement was made public on International Women’s Day. Mrs Wawn said it was “a great opportunity to highlight that certain women can strive for excellence – that they can be leaders in their field, including in male-dominated areas both in building and construction, but also in the political world.”

With women making up less than 1% of building trades, there is a monstrous imbalance that Master Builder’s Australia is already making plans to address.

Mrs Wawn also commented on the pay gap between female and male full-time workers, “It’s an opportunity to recognise that women need to get into senior roles, and that, therefore, brings up that pay gap problem. We need to encourage women into leadership roles. I hope appointments like myself and other leading examples around the country regarding female leaders realise that women can undertake these roles. It doesn’t matter whether you have kids or not, but we have the confidence and the capacity to take leadership roles in Australia.”