CIBSE Exchange series talks women in engineering

Leading engineers discuss ideas and opportunities for the global industry

Clockwise from top left: Annette Ash, Farah Naz, Fiona Cousins and Lucy Sherburn

As part of its International Women’s Day celebrations, CIBSE launched a new CIBSE Exchange global discussion, to showcase leading figures from building services engineering.

The online conversation, on 8 March, brought together engineers from a range of backgrounds to explore the future of the industry, opportunities for change and growth, and how to support others in their careers.

The international panel of speakers included: Annette Ash, principal electrical engineer at the University of Oxford, and chair of CIBSE group Women in Building Services Engineering (WiBSE); Fiona Cousins, mechanical building services engineer and principal at Arup in New York; Farah Naz, building services engineer leading sustainability and specialist services for Aecom in the Middle East, Africa and Saudi Arabia, and chair of the CIBSE UAE region; and Lucy Sherburn, consulting engineer at FairHeat, and CIBSE ASHRAE Graduate of the Year 2021.

Each gave an overview of their journey into building services engineering, with Cousins saying: ‘Engineering comprises creativity, problem solving, and technicalities, and has the ability to change the world.’

Naz added: ‘It is important to understand that our horizons are expanding with the climate crisis and net zero transition. There are two keywords for our industry and our profession: co-creation and collaboration.’

Ash spoke of the importance of mentors and role models, and of making people feel comfortable to ask questions.

In what is being termed the decisive decade, CIBSE is committed to facilitating conversations within its membership and the industry more broadly.

● Watch the CIBSE Exchange discussion at