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Inspiring Woman 2020

Fiona Nixon

Fiona is Head of Projects and Planning in Swansea University’s Estates and FM Directorate, managing the planning and delivery of the University’s portfolio of built environment projects. She and her team have delivered many major projects across the University estate including the ILS and Data Science buildings on the Singleton Campus, and several buildings on the Bay Campus - Engineering Central and North, ESRI, the Computational Foundry and Y Twyni, as well as major refurbishments of the existing estate. Before joining the University, Fiona worked in a private practice in London then Glasgow as Project Architect mainly on scientific research facilities for universities across Scotland.

Fiona was a member of the former Gender Equality Working Group; she has been involved in Athena SWAN since its inception. She is now Co-Chair of the Athena SWAN Career Advancement Group.

Beyond the University she is a Director of the Design Commission for Wales which as well as promoting design quality in the Principality, is a vehicle for championing diversity in the Industry. She also sits on the Steering Group for the ‘Middleton – A Paradise Regained’ project at the National Botanic Garden of Wales.

Fiona qualified in the late 1980’s when only 7% of the Architectural professions were female. Having spent 35 years working in the heavily male dominated Construction Industry, Fiona has always risen to the challenges and championed diversity within the industry. Fiona took every opportunity to support and promote the presence and positive contribution of women and other minorities. Working with others, she has challenged and continues to challenge many of the barriers and exclusions that discourage diversity, whether those are lack of facilities, prejudices, attitudes or behaviours. A generation later, the numbers have improved significantly but there is still a major imbalance.

During her career, she and her husband have brought up two, now adult, daughters. She understands the challenges of being the primary carer and doing ‘both jobs’, and positively promotes flexible working and family and carer friendly practices.

Fiona’s ethos has always been that opportunities should be open to everyone who has the ability or potential regardless of their background or circumstances. She actively encourages development and diversification of knowledge and skills in her team. She has mentored others through the Welsh Universities Mentoring Scheme (WUMS) and tries to support and share experience with colleagues in a positive way.