Dominique Gill, the 356th person I’ve met on my quest to have lunch with 500 strangers, is changing the construction industry.

As Dom explains, the industry is male-dominated and, due to the lack of diversity, can sometimes suffer from outdated thinking. By contrast, almost half the 50-plus staff in Dom’s construction company, Urban Core, are women.

Dom began her career as an architect, in 2002, but ultimately found it frustrating, because many of the projects she worked on would never get past the planning stage.

When Dom transitioned into construction, in 2009, and attended her first job, the refurbishment of the QVB in Sydney, she had a visceral reaction to watching the enormous escalators get moved into place above the building. This was an action-packed profession where big things got done.

Dom loved construction and, thanks to her skill and hard work, climbed the ranks and became a project manager. But it frustrated her that she was often the only woman in the room or on site. She felt attracting more women into construction would not only make it a more equitable industry but would also promote more diverse – and therefore more imaginative – thinking.

Rather than waiting for someone else to solve the problem, Dom decided to make a contribution by founding her own business, Urban Core, in 2016, and going out of her way to recruit female staff. In 2022, she also founded Next Generation Construction, a not-for-profit organisation that educates schoolgirls about the opportunities and benefits associated with a construction career.

One of the highlights of my lunch with Dom was the choice of restaurant, Palazzo Salato. There’s a reason the venue looks so enticing – it was built earlier this year by Urban Core.