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Rachel Blake

Virtual Women's Network Co-Lead

International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global celebration of the achievements of women and the progress we’ve made toward gender equity. This year’s theme, Inspire Inclusion, is focused on the importance of diversity and the crucial role of inclusion of all people in achieving gender equity. This includes everyone who relates to the female experience, regardless of age, ability, race, faith, body image or identity—gender equity is a collective responsibility which benefits all.


While our upbringings, experiences and identities may differ, we can all connect with the female experience and share the common desire to feel included, respected and empowered, fostering a sense of belonging. It gives us the confidence to speak up, set boundaries, be creative and achieve our goals. Societies and communities that embrace inclusion and gender equity are often safer, healthier, more successful and more likely to improve equity for other underrepresented groups. This outcome rings true for companies who embrace gender equity as well, as firms who work to close the gender gap tend to be more profitable and experience better performance, employee retention and productivity.

But achieving gender equity, whether in your community or within your company, is not something any one person can achieve alone. It requires collective action and support from many individuals who lead by example to inspire inclusion and equity around them, not only for women, but for all underrepresented groups. Inspiring inclusion means valuing women of all backgrounds and identities for their unique perspectives and contributions, and recognizing the important role diverse representation plays in shaping our collective future.

If we all start with our own actions, we can create this kind of environment, together, for all women at Arcadis—and beyond. To demonstrate how our actions can help us take important steps to achieve gender equity, we’ve asked several Arcadians, from a variety of backgrounds, to share how they inspire inclusion at Arcadis every day.

"I champion the female experience in the Arcadis workplace because I have seen the challenges and opportunities that we face in our industry. I have witnessed the resilience, creativity and leadership that women bring to our projects and teams. I am an ally for women because I believe in supporting our growth, development and recognition in Arcadis. As an ally for women, I strive to create a culture of inclusion and respect in the Arcadis workplace. I listen to the voices and perspectives of women, I advocate for their interests and needs, and I challenge the biases and stereotypes that limit our potential. I think that by being an ally for women, I contribute to our goals of inclusion and gender equity, which benefit everyone in Arcadis." – Lisa Micheletti Cope, Director – Global Energy and Resources Sector, Member – Age Affinity Group

“As a direct result of a consistent, equitable approach to interviewing new hires and manager promotions, the 200-person team in SER Pacific is 50% female overall as well as within the line management team. I encourage inclusion by talking openly about barriers, such as not “feeling ready yet” for advancement and encouraging women to believe in themselves and raise their hands for new opportunities. Our team has more engagement, technical thought leadership, and awesome people leadership because of the gender diversity that we have cultivated and the diversity of thought and approach that creates.” – Lynne Marie Fenley, Vice President, Resilience Environment

“The first step in our mission toward gender equity is to understand the female experience. We should all become more aware of the female experience at Arcadis. This enhanced awareness will contribute significantly to inclusion and gender equity.” – Wassim Selman, U.S. Mobility Business Area Director

“As a woman of color in a white-dominated industry, I fight for marginalized women by uplifting their voices in my everyday practice and personal life to ensure inclusion and visibility. Intersectional feminism is something I consistently and continuously stay educated on and continue to help others understand in both the workplace and personal space. An inspiring author once said, “I am not free while any woman is unfree”, and this has been foundational in my understanding of the importance of gender equity in and out of the workplace.” – Dema Talib, Designer – Corporate Interiors, Leader – Ethnicity and Heritage Affinity Group

I am passionate about the importance of unlocking and propelling the amazing and untapped capabilities and potential of the women of Arcadis. Leaders in our company must not be passive but be intentional in supporting and advocating for women as well as members of our other affinity groups.” – John Vogeley, Growth Director – Resilience Environment 

Recognizing the value of diversity in talent acquisition is not just a checkbox exercise; it's fundamental to fostering an inclusive workplace culture. Prioritizing gender and ethnicity equity alongside skills and experience not only enriches teams but also nurtures a sense of belonging among employees. Drawing from my own experiences, I've taken on the responsibility of leading workplace communities such as Roots of Arcadis and Location Leader meetings at my office in San Francisco. Working with active members, which are predominantly women, we come together to address common challenges and support each other's goals as a team. These initiatives have not only helped me personally but have also highlighted the collective strength that arises when individuals unite to overcome obstacles and thrive together.” – Aditi Nagabhushan Bharadwaj, Project Architect, Volunteer – Women of Color Program, Region Lead – Roots of Arcadis Region 8

“As a woman in a traditionally male world of construction, transport or technology, I have realized how important it is for us to live the Arcadis values and create, at the very least, those platforms of empowerment. My job as an Arcadian is to build a space where equality and empowerment are the foundation. Having conversations with women, people of color, people who are differently abled, those conversations lead to a movement like the Women of Color program. And from there, change comes. I am proud to be a woman in Arcadis and my job for my fellow Arcadians is to create safe spaces and empower women to break all the glass ceilings they can find!” – Isher Khella, Director – Places North America

“I am encouraged every day to see how diverse our teams have become and am proud to work for a company that not only rejects discrimination, but actively promotes meritocracy. As a leader, I aspire to be someone who inspires others through my performance and my impact on the company. I try to contribute to a future where we see more women leaders who inspire us all.” – Abbey Hesser, VP – Standardization & Automation, N. America Access & Neurodiversity Affinity Group Chair

“Women are naturally emotionally intelligent, self-aware and empathetic. They can connect the dots and cut through siloes. Leaning into these attributes makes woman leaders more strategic and tuned into their clients’ and team members’ needs. I am a huge advocate for women, and particularly women of color, tapping into their inherent talents, bringing their full selves to the workplace while speaking and standing up for themselves. This self-advocacy takes personal accountability to break through some of the generational and cultural trauma we have been subjected to, and the insecurities we need to battle.

It also requires organizational accountability – to break through bias and deconstruct systemic barriers that pull women down, like stereotyping, microaggressions, tokenism, ageism, misogyny, lack of representation and limited support / flexibility for women returning to the workforce. The list goes on. The time to act, and act with intention, is now.” – Supriya Murthy, Senior Vice President – EHS Compliance Assurance & Operational Excellence, Facilitator – Global Women of Color Forums, DEIAB Advocate and Leader, Professional Coach

“I am an ally for people who identify as women because they have been historically misrepresented, overlooked and undervalued. I aim to always go out of my way to be sure our female-identified and non-binary colleagues feel included, heard and supported, as my contribution to Arcadis’ inclusion and equity goals.” – Griselle Osses (she/they) Program Manager – Mission Critical Facilities

While the goal is to achieve gender equity worldwide, working toward this goal right here at Arcadis is a great place to start. With over 36,000 people across the globe, we have a unique opportunity to inspire inclusion and create a workforce which embraces diversity and provides equal opportunities for success for all employees, who can then share this way of working with our clients, partners, colleagues and communities. We all have an opportunity to lead by example and inspire inclusion all around us.


Rachel Blake

Virtual Women's Network Co-Lead