With a strong passion for addressing the skill shortage within trade-based industries and the financial hardship many women face, Hacia Atherton established Empowered Women In Trades (EWIT). As the CEO, Hacia is working to increase female representation in a highly male-dominated industry by empowering them with educational awareness programs, safe work culture and giving them access to develop their skills through different programs and training.

Finding an Industry Aligned with Values and Passion

Hacia had an exciting career path to her current role that had many twists and turns. When she left school, she started to study law, and her goal was to be a commercial law barrister. After gaining some work experience, Hacia decided that the law industry was not for her as it was extremely male-dominated and unpleased for women. So Hacia changed her field and started studying Psychology, Management, and Marketing. After a year, she was academically burnt out, so she left university and started a year of fashion design and a small business providing bookkeeping and office management support to small businesses. After a year at fashion design school again, Hacia decided that it was not a career pathway for her, and she went to do her financial planning qualification. This was also another industry that did not align with her values, and she left that industry. Hacia went back to university to finish a Bachelor of Commerce and the CPA program while working for her family’s company.

Over the year there, she worked her way from low-level positions to Chief Commercial Officer. Through her experiences and learning, she realized that women face many hardships. She is today addressing these issues through EWIT. Hacia’s greatest challenge was finding an industry that aligned with her values and passion and finding a role that gave her a feeling of purpose. She is extremely grateful to now have found that by being at EWIT.

Supporting Women to Enter Trade and Excel in Leadership

Empowered Women In Trades is a registered charity organization that pushes educational institutions and workplaces to encourage women to see trades as a viable career path. In collaboration with educational institutions and industry leaders, it aims to increase women’s role in learning the trade skills required for people and industry to thrive.

EWIT is there for women in the workforce to learn the skills to thrive in these industries to rebuild Australia’s trades-based sectors and enhance its communities and businesses. It will support women to enter the trade and excel in leadership positions across trades industries. While supporting the industry, EWIT would like to ensure that workplaces have the resources to enhance the sector’s economic development.

Leading with Courage and Creating Safe Workplace

Hacia states that courageous leadership consists of curiosity, vulnerability, and empathy. She says, “You need curiosity to explore the unknown or uncomfortable, embrace being vulnerable and the likelihood of failure and empathy for yourself and your team to support the bounce back from failure and hardship. Leading with courage creates psychologically safe work environments for everyone to thrive.”

Becoming Courageous and Resilient

Hacia says that through EWIT’s technology platform Artium, the company is creating the virtual world of trades where people can explore a range of industries and trades while also working on the mental tools to become courageous and resilient. This platform creates an engaging way to source new information and expand your mental toolbox.

Creating Equal Opportunity for Everyone to Thrive

Hacia would like to remove the bias when hiring and promoting. She says, “We should create an economic world where everyone has equal opportunity to thrive and achieve their remarkable full potential regardless of gender, age, race, or religion.”

Having Focus on Technology And Human Skills

Hacia recognizes the importance of technology but also equally values human skills. She says, “Technology’s role within organizations is evolving from automating the business to being the business. Industry trends and environmental factors are disrupting the traditional service requirements of organizations. What they need from employees is evolving. While robots will increasingly support organizational efficiency, automation still requires humans. Robots and machines will never possess human skills like creativity, nuance & sensitivity, communication, collaboration, idea curation, critical thinking, and conceptualized intelligence. We have a heavy focus on Technology and Human skills as part of our programs because technical skills are simply not enough in this new world.”

Empowering Women into Meaningful Employment

Hacia envisions EWIT launching its programs nationally in Australia and worldwide to empower women into meaningful employment and support employers to provide psychologically safe workplaces for these women to thrive.

Reflecting on Purpose and Never Giving Up

Hacia advises budding entrepreneurs, “Never give up; it will get hard! You are going to stuff up, and you will feel so out of your depth and a mile away from your comfort zone. Also, reflect on your purpose and passion for why you started and build a strong support tribe to push you in those moments you want to give up because they will be there.”

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