By Samantha Polkinghorne   4 Sep 2021

NBRS was established in 1968 and has grown into a 100 strong company. Since that time there has been a strong focus on closing the gender gap, with the company proudly supporting a 50/50 split across the office; most enjoyably we have equal representation of female Studio Principals and Leads across both our Sydney and Melbourne studios. At NBRS our vision is to create life changing environments for the people, communities, and institutions we serve, and we are proud to have women leading this charge across our board, studio, project, and research teams. This diversity of thought is underpinned by our values and reflected in the projects we choose to engage with.

In 2018, NBRS elected our first female director, Samantha Polkinghorne. Samantha, with over 35 years of experience, plays an important role in understanding the issues that relate specifically to woman in the workplace. During her professional career she has seen positive shifts in cultural norms around women in the construction industry and looks forward to further opportunities in improving the workplace for women. Samantha also leads the firm’s Heritage Studio, a 9 strong team - 8 of whom are women. This leadership of a majority female team invigorates her campaign for our staff across the entire office, by working closely with a group of smart, established, and forward-thinking women.

Leading our Melbourne practice and the Justice Studio is Anthea Doyle. Anthea’s dedication to her responsibilities and ability to communicate has quickly established her as a strong role model within the practice and amongst our client and consultant community. Aside from a passion for her Justice work, Anthea also has a great energy for supporting those around her which is demonstrated by generously mentoring her team. Anthea’s ability to be a flexible and understanding leader epitomises her professional and compassionate approach to all that she does.

Being a woman in the construction industry does not come without its challenges; at NBRS we are keen to provide a strong support network for everyone in the company. An Associate in our Education Studio, Carmit Harnik Saar, led and supported by Education Studio Principal, Macella Salzmann, the studio is underpinned by wealthy viewpoints in the design and construction of a range of specialised school facilities. Carmit and Macella both bring their extensive architectural skills, alongside personal perspective as female architects, to creating life changing environments. In their leadership positions, these women demonstrate that experience and professionalism trump any gender stereotypes, furthering the cause for true equality within the profession.

NBRS is excited about the opportunities unfolding for women as the company grows, opportunities for professional growth alongside activities that will benefit our communities. It is women such as Samantha, Anthea, Macella and Carmit alongside all the other women of NBRS, who together provide support, illuminate points of difference and bring empathy to empower an ever-changing workplace.

Samantha Polkinghorne

Director, Principal - Heritage

“Reinvigorating old buildings through their successful adaptation offers opportunities to create more subtly layered environments.”