Meet the women breaking down barriers and building for our future

L-R Project Managers Naznin Chowdhury and Sarah Steer with Project Director Yasmin Ali

L-R Project Managers Naznin Chowdhury and Sarah Steer with Project Director Yasmin Ali

The architectural and construction challenges involved in transforming the former Royal London Hospital into a new town hall for Tower Hamlets are not the only things that set it apart from other major developments of its kind. For some of the team working on the project, it is a personal as well as a professional journey.

Project Director, Yasmin Ali, said: “I’m proud to be delivering a great new town hall for the benefit of our residents and our staff. I have lived and worked in Tower Hamlets for most of my life. Like so many people, I have a personal and emotional connection with the Royal London. It was the place where my father passed away and where I later went on to give birth to my eldest child. Many of our residents have shared similar stories with us. These memories remind me what an immense privilege it is to be able to bring this building back into use.”

In an industry traditionally dominated by men, the multi-million pound town hall project also stands apart because it is led by a team of women.

“I have worked on a number of major construction projects during my years at Tower Hamlets,” said Yasmin. “There was a time when I might have been the only woman in the room. That’s certainly not the case with the new town hall where women are leading from the front. The wider programme is overseen by our Corporate Director, Ann Sutcliffe, while my two most senior project managers are also women.

“Of course every member of the team, regardless of their gender or background, plays an important role. But I think it says a lot about our approach to truly representing the communities we serve that this project is being led by a team with such strong female and BAME representation.”

The town hall team is also playing its part in leaving a lasting mark on efforts to increase diversity in the construction sector. Earlier this year, it took part in the council’s Women in Construction Week, which provided an opportunity for local women to understand the sector. Yasmin’s team attended as speakers to showcase the new town hall project and to help participants understand how everyone’s journey into construction was unique.

Yasmin and her team are hoping to visit local schools as the project progresses, talking to pupils and planting a seed in the minds of future leaders in the transformation of Tower Hamlets.

Posted on Thursday 2nd January 2020