Joanne Farrell

Founder, Build Like A Girl

2024 ACT Australian of the Year

Joanne (Jo) Farrell is a champion for females in the construction industry. In 2020, she founded Build Like A Girl, a not-for-profit program that supports girls and women to work in trades.  

Build Like A Girl matches females with pre-apprenticeship and entry-level training, then mentors them to secure work in the construction industry.  

As the general manager of Kane Constructions ACT, part of the multimillion-dollar Kane group, Jo has pushed for a better gender balance. Kane Constructions ACT went from having 6 per cent female staff in February 2020 to a 48 per cent female team in December 2022.  

Jo works closely with government, peak industry bodies, unions, training organisations and building contractors to help them recruit, train and employ women in trade roles.  

She also led construction of Strathnairn Charity House, a project designed and mostly built by women, which was auctioned in March 2023. Proceeds from the sale were distributed to local charities.