Diversity and Inclusion at KBR - Karen Schilling Finds Success Through Mentoring
As a woman in a male dominated defence industry, it is refreshing and encouraging to find initiatives tackling diversity and inclusion head on. I am proud to be part of a company like KBR that is actively involved in a wide range of initiatives including The Future Through Collaboration (TFTC) – a unique professional training program tackling the issue of diversity. The TFTC Mentoring Program is a unique cross-industry mentoring program in Australia that supports the development of women within the engineering and project management disciplines. It has a focus on creating a supportive and inclusive industry environment as well as developing skills that will allow participants to thrive in the defence industry.
The TFTC Mentoring Program provides women working within the defence industry the opportunity to work with a senior defence industry mentor. Over 12 months participants develop skills and create a network designed to enhance the capability of the defence sector in Australia. The intent of the program is to increase the representation and retention of women in the defence industry to better reflect Australian society, particularly in the areas of STEM.
KBR was first involved with the program in 2015 with our first pair of mentors and mentees. This year, the company has four mentors and four mentees, including Rob Hawketts, Vice President of Government Solutions APAC, as a mentor. The program not only provides value to the mentees, but mentors learn about the experiences and challenges that women working in defence industry face. It also provides an opportunity for participants to gain insight into how other participants, whether in the private sector, public service or defence itself, support women in a traditionally male dominated industry.
Karen Schilling serves as the General Manager of Sigma Bravo, a KBR subsidiary. Sigma Bravo provides IT services focused specifically on aviation operations and information management across the Australian defence industry.