Zawadi Mwambeyu fought off 12 suitors to take the top spot in Women in Property’s National Student Awards (@WiPUK).
Zawadi won the South West competition earlier this year and was then put up against other students also in their second year of a built environment degree, in the ‘best of the best’ finals.
The regional winners went in front of a panel of industry professionals, where they were questioned about a specific piece of coursework and their career aspirations.
The awards were set-up to recognise and inspire young female talent into the industry.
This year, 119 students from 54 UK universities entered the Awards, with 13 going through to the final round.
Rachel Bell, National Chair of Women in Property and a director at Stride Treglown Architects, sat on the judging panel alongside Carole Ditty of Bouygues UK and Iain Maxwell of Savills, both national sponsors of the Awards, and Caterina Polidoro of Architects, tp bennett.
The judges described Zawadi as “having great maturity and professionalism, confidence and humour, and a real serenity and depth about her. She gave very well-structured responses to our questions and, in our view, embodied the potential for an alternative way of leadership.”
The judges added: “We were wowed by her comments, for example ‘great things never come from staying in your comfort zone’, and adopting Verna Myers’ quote – ‘Diversity is being invited to the party but inclusion is being asked to dance’.”
“My journey through the Awards programme would not have come this far if I did not take a chance on myself.
“Because of the self-confidence I have grown into over the course of the process, I am able to appreciate how many doors this opportunity has opened. Whenever people doubt themselves and ask ‘why me?’, they should instead ask ‘why not me?’.”
“I know we, as judges, get a tremendous amount from this process. These young women are truly inspiring – we should never forget how much we can learn from the next generation coming into the industry.
“They challenge the status quo, bring fresh thinking and, without exception, have a very real sense of responsibility and stewardship for the sustainability of our environment. My congratulations go to all of them but particularly to our 2021 winner, Zawadi Mwambeyu.”
As well as a trophy, Zawadi wins a cheque for £1,000, membership of Women in Property and access to its acclaimed mentoring programme.
Over 1,300 students have passed through the National Student Awards programme since they were first held in 2007, and the 2022 university nominations will soon be underway, with the regional judging taking place in the early spring next year.