When Ashleigh Denize was in high school, her career advisor told her to stay away from subjects like biology and chemistry, as they would limit her job prospects.
Now, she’s spreading her wings as an environmental engineer for one of the world’s largest civil engineering consultancies.
“I don’t like being told what to do – as my mum knows well – so I took every science class I could,” Ashleigh laughs.
Ashleigh was recently selected to meet with ANZ CEO Antonia Watson as part of the bank's Watch Women Win project, aiming to recognise and showcase female talent and inspire women to succeed in their chosen field.
Women are typically under-represented in STEM fields – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – and Ashleigh told Antonia that in her first year studying engineering at university, just 10 of the 120-or-so students were women.
“Civil, mechanical, robotics and computer engineering are traditionally male-dominated fields – and while I think people see engineers as being men, outside, hammer in hand and a hard hat on their head, the reality is that anyone can do anything,” Ashleigh said.
It’s a scenario Antonia has been all too familiar with during the course of her career, although the number of female leaders in banking, and within ANZ, is increasing.