Launched in 2019, we have celebrated male and female professionals who pro-actively influence and promote gender balance, diversity and inclusion in their workplace, project or sector. This can be a man or woman who has inspired other women to opt for a career or promotion in the sector; to overcome challenges they have faced or provided inspirational leadership and is recognised as a role model or someone who has provided inspirational leadership and is recognised as a role model.

Nominations for the 2021 WiFCERM Awards closed on the 20th April. The winners will be announced at the Flood and Coastal Conference in June 2021.

Women in FCERM Awards winner 2020

Kellie Fisher, 2020 WiFCERM Award Winner

Job title – Flood and Coastal Risk Management Senior Advisor, Environment Agency

Qualifications – University of Portsmouth (BEng (Hons) Engineering Geology and Geotechnics), MSc Contaminated Land, Chartered Engineer with CIWEM

What do you do?

I work within the Coastal Partnerships and Strategic Overview Team in East Anglia 3 days a week and for the National Coastal Team 2 days a week. It’s important that I have a good knowledge of various types of flood and coastal erosion risk management structures and coastal management techniques utilised in East Anglia, as well as an understanding of the evolution of our coastline and how it is likely to change in the future. My role involves the delivery of integrated coastal zone management for the Environment Agency. I particularly focus on coastal resilience, transition and adaptation, in order to manage the impact of coastal change on communities.

What qualities do you have that make you good at your job?

I have good attention to detail and I like troubleshooting. At home, I’m always keen to find a solution to everyday problems, whether it’s fixing a fence or the lawnmower, I like giving things a go! At work, I also enjoy developing new strategies and improving processes. I’m working on several coastal adaptation projects within East Anglia, particularly focusing on issues that can be tackled through anticipatory and effective spatial planning. Therefore, the ability to plan ahead and inform effective planning policy is really important.

What is your favourite part of the job?

I love being on the coast. The East Anglia coastline is stunning, from towering coastal cliffs to seemingly endless sandy beaches, intricate saltmarshes and historic buildings, our coast has it all. The communities I work with are always passionate and dedicated to the coast, which is really inspiring. Delivering integrated coastal zone management is challenging but it’s definitely worth the effort!

How did it feel to win the WiFCERM Award?

It was an honour to win the Women in FCERM award for 2020, up against such brilliant colleagues from across the FCERM sector. I knew I had been nominated but I had no idea I was shortlisted, with such amazing competition too, winning came as a complete surprise! I remain very proud to receive the award and overwhelmed by all of the supportive messages I received from friends and colleagues.

I really enjoying mentoring, supporting training/CPD in the Environment Agency and promoting diversity, both at work, through STEM Ambassador volunteering and through various sporting initiatives in my spare time. Whilst it’s wonderful to be awarded for my effort, I don’t see any of this as ‘work’ as it’s so satisfying watching others succeed and grow. To be called inspirational is extremely flattering, as I’ve never seen myself this way, but it is wonderful to think I may inspire others within FCERM.  

And what do you like doing outside of work?

I’m a STEM Ambassador and also deliver Royal Institution masterclasses with my Environment Agency colleague, Guy Cooper. During the pandemic we decided to produce online learning material for schools, focused on coastal management. We now have a range of learning products that are free to download, specialising in interactive practicals and demonstrations at KS3 and GCSE level. We know not all students can get to the coast so our resources aim to take the coast to them!   At home, my husband and I have a smallholding in rural Suffolk. We have converted the old barns over the past 7 years and worked really hard to renovate the site. I spend most of my free time at home with my animals, two dogs and three horses, including one home bred foal. We love walks with the dogs in the Suffolk countryside and I’m also incredibly lucky to be able to compete my horses in eventing and dressage competitions.