Inspiring Inclusion: A Conversation with Christina Lye, Managing Director of Enviresearch

As we mark International Women’s Day 2024, the campaign theme “Inspire Inclusion” resonates deeply, urging us to reflect on the importance of fostering an inclusive environment where women feel valued, empowered, and have a sense of belonging. In a world where inclusivity fuels progress and drives positive change, the significance of this year’s theme cannot be overstated.

At Enviresearch, we are committed to embedding a spirit of inclusion at every level of our organisation. As part of International Women’s Day, we sat down with our Managing Director, Christina Lye, to give her perspective on this important day.

We asked Christina to share her thoughts on what International Women’s Day means to her personally, navigating her role as an MD in a male-dominated sector, and the initiatives undertaken by Enviresearch to champion inclusion.

In this interview we gain insights into the landscape of women in leadership roles, how Christina works to inspire others and the work Enviresearch are doing to promote a culture of inclusion and empowerment.

When asked about her view on the representation of women in leadership roles, Christina acknowledges there is underrepresentation of women in top managerial positions within RSK (the wider group which Enviresearch are part of), especially in sectors such as engineering, construction, and other typical STEM roles. As a female Managing Director, she recognises the key role she plays in paving the way for future generations of women to pursue careers in fields traditionally dominated by men.

“It’s clear that women MDs are underrepresented in RSK,” she asserts. “As a female Managing Director, we have a responsibility to lead by example and break down barriers that may deter women from pursuing careers that may typically be perceived as male-dominated.”

Women bring valuable attributes to leadership roles. However, she highlights the critical importance of confidence, noting that it is often the missing piece preventing women from fully leveraging their capabilities. “In many aspects, women are very well suited for leadership roles due to their softer skills,” she remarks. “What is missing is not the ability, capacity, or knowledge but the confidence to make their voices heard. Confidence is everything.”

Reflecting on her own experiences, she acknowledges the initial apprehension she felt stepping into a leadership role within RSK, with the board room being dominated by men but affirms that this doesn’t need to be crippling. “You have to challenge yourself and step back from those constraining thoughts and feelings of self-doubt and rethink it”. However, she states RSK very much endorse and promote a culture of inclusivity..

“Regardless of gender, you are recognized in RSK,” she notes. “The root cause of lack of confidence often comes from within—self-perceived imposter syndrome.” To address these challenges, she highlights the importance of changing how we process negative emotions and focusing on accomplishments to overcome self-doubt. She also advocates for connecting with other female leaders and peers to reshape perspectives on leadership.

“At Enviresearch, we prioritise recruiting, retaining, and developing diverse talent,” she explains. “Our team currently comprises a 50:50 female-to-male ratio, and we recruit based on capability, experience, and expertise, regardless of gender.”

Her insights highlight the importance of creating an inclusive environment where women feel empowered to thrive in leadership roles, to help drive positive change and progress within the industry.

In closing, Christina emphasised the ongoing commitment to inspiring inclusion and ensuring gender equality within Enviresearch and beyond.

“We are proud of the positive steps we’re taking as a business to inspire inclusion, with female staff playing crucial roles at all levels of our business,” she affirms. “This also extends to engaging with schools and universities to inspire future leaders to pursue careers in STEM fields.”

As a leader, she vows to continue championing women in leadership roles and ensuring clear progression routes within the company. “We aim not only to nurture and retain talent but also to inspire the next generation of STEM leaders by providing an inclusive workplace they want to be part of”.

Acknowledging that there is still more work to be done, Christina emphasises the collective responsibility and that “we must all play our part in this journey” in achieving gender equality.

In the words of internationally recognised feminist, journalist and activist Gloria Steinem, “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist, nor to any one organization, but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.” As we celebrate International Women’s Day, let us each commit to making a positive difference for women, both within our organisations and in society at large.

Together, through collective action and unwavering dedication, we can build a future where inclusion and equality thrive, empowering women to reach their fullest potential and creating a more just and equitable world for all.