Hacia Atherton | Founder | Empowering Women in Trades
Paving a New way
Hacia Atherton is an industry thought leader in courage and is passionate about how Positive Psychology can empower the next generation of leaders to achieve their remarkable potential. Being CEO and founder of Empowered Women in Trades (EWIT); her passion for courageous leadership through empowerment continues to inspire people across trade-based industries. She has been recognized by the NYC Journal as one of the top 30 Women Disruptors to look out for in 2021 and by Disruptors Magazine’s top 30 Inspiring Women to look out for in 2022. She taught herself to walk again after a life threating horse accident by redefining her version of success. Hacia motivates audiences and clients to triumph over life’s challenges through her Courage Coaching and Speaking. She established Empowered Women in Trades (EWIT) to inspire women to see trades as a viable career option and to support industry and society to shift their culture to create a supportive environment for these women to thrive.
The Rise of EWT
Hacia comes from a family of change makers having a long history with skilled trades in Australia. So even after being formally trained as an accountant, she had the privilege to work and learn skills in manufacturing. And while working, she saw the negative effects of Australia’s skill shortages within trades such as welding and tool makers. That’s when she decided to do something to encourage females and non-binary people into trades. And when she met a female welder, she realised how hard it can be for women to pursue their passion in trades such as welding. She knew she needed to do what she could to empower more women to walk through and get a career in the trades without feeling like society was holding them back. That’s when she established Empowered Women in Trades (EWIT)
“Seeing the effects of the skill shortage issues and the pink recession on the Australian economy, I knew something had to be done. By providing a platform to foster practical solutions, EWIT aims to address these issues in collaboration with other stakeholders.”
– Hacia Atherton, Founder
The goal of EWIT is to build an inclusive community by connecting stakeholders to a new world of opportunity and cementing a foundation for rewarding careers, whilst boosting diversity in trades-based industries. They co-design immersive experiences with their stakeholders to open up a world of opportunities and changes lives. EWIT collaborates with other key stakeholders by addressing the skill shortage in trades to foster practical solutions. Their motto is to increase the participation of women in Australia’s economy and provide a platform for women.
Fitting into the Benefits
The building and construction industry is one of the top 5 fastest growing industries. So with the growing demand, they do need skilled labour. That’s exactly what the EWIT provides, the pathway to enter careers within trades. The “Trade Academy” women to finding a suitable trade. They collaborate with an industry leader to provideimmersivelearning and unique virtual programs. These programs are designed to empower women by providing them with the opportunity to gain skills, be informed about wide verity of career pathways and give them the confidence to break barriers.
To enter apprenticeships and address the issues of:
– National Skill Shortage
– Falling Apprenticeships
– Financial Security
Culture Renovation programs- These programs are for corporates to be able to go through a discovery process to co-design a new desired standard for diversity and inclusion.
Tradie Network- A program which will be an online platform combined with in-person events that allow tradies and industry professionals from all different backgrounds to network and build relationships. The platform also has essential educational resources or tradies to have a successful business and “Mates rates” with their corporate partners.
Excelling The USP
EWIT brings applied positive psychology into their programs to ensure they’re giving all their stakeholders the mental tools they need, to thrive regardless of career direction and industry. They deliver unique immersive hands-on experiences that empower stakeholders to make informed choices about starting a career in skilled trades and supporting diversity within the workforce. Through their custom-designed experiences, they create:
Participant: A supportive community for participants as they explore trades-based roles & industries.
Corporate: Provide a foundation for employers to embrace and advocate for diversity in the workplace
Highlighting the key achievements
When asked about the most recent or key highlight Hacia Atherton said,
“The key highlight to me was finally finding a role that truly lights up my soul. I love what I do and I don’t even see it as work. When women kick-start their careers within trades, I see the joy on their faces, that’s my achievement. I’m reading all those beautiful messages on how our programmes have changed their lives.”
The Organization we know, a backstory we don’t
Courage is an essential element to not only obtaining your personal goals but also the key to accelerating your career.
– Hacia Atherton, CPA
In 2017, Hacia Atherton was crushed by her 600kg warmblood horse and doctors told her she would likely never walk again in any meaningful way. Five years and over 20 operations later, she has defied the odds, not only learning to walk again but also completing two 100km bike rides, a half marathon and achieving her CPA from her hospital bed. She successfully turned a major life trauma into a triumph. Hacia’s adaptability and resilience, and her ability to redefine her version of success, have been vital in her challenge to regain control of her legs (and life). When doctors said, she won’t be able to walk again, she didn’t lose hope. During that time, she fought anxiety and depression with immense strength. She knew what she was going through and chose courage over fear. This incident changed her life forever and brought her where she is today! Standing tall through thick and thin, she is determined to change the lives of people.
Thriving with the Innovation
To stay innovative, EWIT brings together a range of different industries and trades. Throughout the programmes, individuals get an understanding industries such as the construction and manufacturing. The experience is always immersive and everything they do is underpinned by positive psychology. That’s how they thrive with innovation and stand out.
Currently, the industry is lacking in diversity, particularly within gender, only 3% of females in Australia are tradeswomen and in some trades such as plumbing, it’s under 1%. If we see the stats, the percentage is tremendously poor. So, according to Hacia Atherton, the future of our industry lies in embracing women into the industry respecting them and allowing them to advance their careers whilst creating a safe working environment for them.
Elevating the Organisation
EWIT philosophy is underpinned by principles of Positive Psychology. They ensure to have lots of positive energy and high levels of engagement and develop meaningful relationships with each other and external stakeholders. As a CEO and Founder of a company, Hacia said, “We are creating a family and not a corporation. I allow my team to have high levels of autonomy and encourage them to job-craft their roles into ones that bring great meaning to them. I ensure there is enough challenge within their roles so that they feel they are achieving a high level of competencies. I also ensure we are building a strong relationship with each other.” She believes that she must lead with high levels of empathy for both herself and her team so, she can continuously reflect on developing and growing her skills. Because if we are unable to lead ourselves successfully through hard times, we won’t be able to lead our team. Being authentic and vulnerable with her team and colleagues is her superpower as a leader. She also has an extremely curious mind and always wants to learn about new and different leadership styles. She takes on board those learnings, to suit herself and her team.
A Day in the Life of a CEO
Talking about her routine and daily life Hacia said, “Being in the start-up phase of empowered women in trades, there is no typical day. I like to start my day with some form of consistency which is, getting up at 5:00 AM, having a coffee, walking my dogs then giving myself a couple of hours to recharge my internal batteries and do some reading or studying. But once the business day kicks in, there is nothing typical about the day and it’s something that I genuinely love about this role.”
A boost of Refreshment
Hacia’s greatest passion is positive psychology and a lot of her favourite books are academic positive psychology books. Currently, she is reading a book named “coaching in the workplace handbook.” She’s also an active person who loves to take her dog for a walk, ride a bike, go for swims and to get out into nature as much as possible. She also enjoys a good movie and chilling out on the couch.
Words of Wisdom – Choose Courage Over Fear
Hacia Atherton, CEO and Founder of EWIT, shared a strong message for women.
“Discover your authentic true self, connect with her and listen to what she is telling you. Lots of people will give you a piece of advice which is either wanted or unsolicited. But, once you’ve connected with your authentic self, your gut feeling will guide you about what to do with this advice and where you should be allowing yourself to listen to the advice or not. Never dull your light to make someone else feel comfortable and shine as bright and strong as you want to. Dream something that scares the hell out of you, and then have the courage to keep chasing after them. One step at a time.”