INWED 2018

The 23rd June 2018 marks International Women in Engineering Day (INWED), an awareness campaign dedicated to raising the profile and celebrate the achievements of our outstanding women engineers and to focus attention on the career opportunities available for women in the engineering sector. INWED began as the UK National Women in Engineering Day, however the incredible response led to the expansion to an international event in 2017. NDY is proud to once again highlight the contribution of our female staff, as well as encourage our male team members to act as allies, helping to create a robust, diverse and innovative culture.

The theme for this year is “Raising The Bar“, with the global hash tags #INWED18 and #RaisingTheBar.

Rui Tang – Sydney

Rui Tang
Regional Finance Manager, Sydney

“Each job is a customer service, so long as my work can help my customer grow, I will be able to grow with them too”

 Questions

In your career to date, what achievements are you most proud of?

Leading a successful team to deliver the business needs.

Every profession has its successes and challenges; what particular scenario has helped shape you into the engineer/professional you are today?

I remind myself all the time that each job is a customer service, so long as my work can help my customer grow, I will be able to grow with them too.

How have you seen the gender balance change during your career?

Males still hold a majority of the leadership team, but it certainly has changed a lot from 10 years ago.

This year’s INWED theme is Raising the Bar – what aspect of the industry would you like to see “raised” and how would you contribute to that happening?

More opportunity for women to become the Project Leader and Director. We have female employees who are more than capable of doing the job, however,  to become a leader they will need more training in leadership skills as well as skill training. We need to open that door more or encourage them to apply for that role.

What advice would you give to young women considering a career in engineering?

Always be confident in what we do.

Benita Husband – Melbourne

Benita Husband
Director, Strategy & Clients, Melbourne

“The fact that I’m different to my peers is a good thing – design teams need diversity of thought, and we should celebrate (not just tolerate) each other’s differences.”

 Questions

In your career to date, what achievements are you most proud of?

Earlier in my career it was the tangible outcomes of the projects I worked on (that is the buildings that stood at the end of the day) which gave me the most enjoyment, but I find more recently that I feel equally proud when I see a person I’ve managed or mentored succeed.

Every profession has its successes and challenges; what particular scenario has helped shape you into the engineer/professional you are today?

I have been lucky to have some really great managers and peers in my career. Often if I feel challenged by someone when I reflect on it later that person had been pushing me. If it weren’t for all the people who had given me a push I wouldn’t be where I am today.

How have you seen the gender balance change during your career?

At University there were less females in my course (about 15%), however as a graduate engineer it was approximately 50/50 where I worked. I have found the number of females to males has reduced as I’ve become more senior. Its a perplexing challenge we face as an industry, and one that I’m hoping to see change in my generation.

Tell us something about the industry that women mightn’t be aware of

A lot of my friends ask me what its like at site (on construction sites). I must be honest I don’t get out on site a lot these days, although I did work ‘on site’ for approximately six months at one point. Site is lots of fun. Its great because you get to see the project unfolding before your eyes. They are run very well with safety always the first priority. I always feel safe and respected. The only minor inconvenience its caused me over the years has been if I was wearing a dress or skirt and shoes that weren’t appropriate, it meant that a quick change was needed. But I soon learnt to keep a spare lot of clothes and boots in my drawer in the office.

What advice have you received that you have found to be helpful?

Some helpful advice that I received a while ago was not to worry about ‘fitting in’. The fact that I’m different to my peers is a good thing – design teams need diversity of thought, and we should celebrate (not just tolerate) each other’s differences.

Julia Thompson – Wellington

Julia Thompson
Project Engineer (Graduate), Wellington

“The building industry is starting to become aware of the necessity to work with nature rather than against it, but we still desperately need to progress past sustainable and to regenerative design.”

 Questions

What attracted you to a career in engineering?

The variety of work available and opportunities in the building industry, as well as the practical aspects of the work and the potential to improve major developments.

What does being a successful engineer mean to you?

Being interested in a challenge, adapting to changes, and being passionate about what you do. It’s important to be able to communicate that passion through competence and technical skill.

How have you seen the gender balance change during your career?

I have been fortunate in the Wellington office to have had many strong female (and male!) role models since the beginning of my career. The support and encouragement for females in engineering roles is constantly improving, and in our office it’s being driven by these strong role models.

This year’s INWED theme is Raising the Bar – what aspect of the industry would you like to see “raised” and how would you contribute to that happening?

Environmental responsibility. The building industry is starting to become aware of the necessity to work with nature rather than against it, but we still desperately need to progress past sustainable and to regenerative design. There needs to be an industry wide improvement, whereby environmental management is a consideration for all design decisions. Engineers contribute by educating clients about the holistic importance, and encouraging the overall benefit of strong environmental considerations throughout projects.

What advice would you give to young women considering a career in the professional services field of engineering?

Always keep learning! Knowledge is power. Take every opportunity that is available to you, and never be too shy to ask for more training.

Doordaneh Esfandiari – Vancouver

Doordaneh Esfandiari
Graduate, Vancouver

I believe a successful engineer is an individual who observes the need and demands of the society we live in and feels responsible to find an affordable solution to that need.

 Questions

What attracted you to a career in engineering?

I have always been interested in being productive in the society I live in and to be a part of the better future. I have found it in myself that my engineering skills and mindset has been useful in solving problems that are related to this field.

In your career to date, what achievements are you most proud of?

If there is one thing that I’m proud of, is the fact that I have never stopped learning and always feel I could do better than what I am today. I have grown to be a woman who can adapt to unforeseen changes in life and tryto bring positive energy to the people I interact with and try to be a good listener.

What does being a successful engineer mean to you?

I believe a successful engineer is an individual who observes the need and demands of the society we live in and feels responsible to find an affordable solution to that need. A good engineer is a person who honorshis or her title by providing a possible solution where any other person would say is impossible.

Every profession has its successes and challenges; what particular scenario has helped shape you into the engineer/professional you are today?

When I first started my career as an engineering student I solved problems and assignments without exactly knowing the importance of the topic. Up until my last years of study when I started appreciating thetopics and projects and how they affect our daily lives and that was when I realized how important solving those problems were.

What advice would you give to young women considering a career in the professional services field of engineering? / what advice have you received that you have found to be helpful?

Being an engineer requires huge amount of patience and motivation. It is a good practice to be honest to yourself, know your limits and plan accordingly. Always try to find people who you would like to work with and find a work you would love to do and are passionate about.

Helen – Canberra

Helen
Accounts Receivable Officer, Canberra

My advice for young women is to be courageous with their passion, as engineering is a field where you can create innovative, viable solutions to solve challenging problems”

 Questions

In your career to date, what achievements are you most proud of?

From my previous job, using my accounting and business knowledge, I was able to apply my knowledge to help the company to be more organised and efficient. They were generous enough to share lighting design and engineering drafting knowledge with me, helping me to better understand the way NDY operates. I am proud that I could assist them on projects outside accounting, and am able to multitask while handling both engineering related works and administration works.

Every profession has its successes and challenges; what particular scenario has helped shape you into the professional you are today?

When I joined NDY, I was transitioning from smaller company. It was a challenge to overcome the volume and the deadlines that are always approaching. My willingness to learn, a good mentor and continuous training have helped me to work efficiently and effectively to overcome these obstacles. Maintaining professionalism and accuracy during tight deadline also a big challenge, hence determination and dedication are important to be successful in completing the tasks.

What advice would you give to young women considering a career in engineering?

Even though I came from economic and business background, having worked with engineers for several years has enabled me to see the excitement of the engineering industry.

My advice for young women is to be courageous with their passion as engineering is a field where you can create innovative, viable solutions to solve challenging problems. Moreover, engineering also could help and influence many aspects of life; namely, you could help developing countries to build infrastructure that could help them doing day-to-day activity, such as water pumps for clean water source, etc. Climate change has also shaped engineering industry greatly and being part of the industry means that you could become part of the solution to global problems.

How have you seen the gender balance change during your career?

I have seen gender balance in terms of the quantity during my career. In my previous company, there were equal number of women and man working together. However currently, there are more men than women in the office. For me it was quite a dramatic change. Regardless of the quantity, it is important to see the quality of the work that each person produces is not based on gender.

What does being a successful engineer mean to you?

From my observation, a successful engineer is an engineer that could solve problem through effective and efficient design that could fit into the surrounding environment by incorporating sustainability principle for their design. Moreover, a successful engineer also needs to be able to have a good communication skill so they can communicate their ideas clearly to different type of audience

Victoria Rastelli – Auckland

Victoria Rastelli
Acoustic Engineer, Auckland

“Men and women have the same capabilities and we have to overcome very similar challenges to succeed, we need to understand that we may approach or think things differently, but while working together as equals, we complement each other in a very efficient way.”

 Questions

What attracted you to a career in engineering?

What mainly attracted me in the Engineering career is the fact that I could use my mind and the available resources to be an active participant into the great challenge of changing the world and addressing the current problems in a creative way to improve the quality of life for all.

In your career to date, what achievements are you most proud of?

I am very proud of my career overall, but I guess I could say that I am particularly happy to be able to enthusiastically participate into solving Acoustic problems in a second language, in the other corner of the world (because I started my Engineering career in Venezuela), applying a different set of rules, but discovering that at the end of the day, the physical principles are the same, the numbers and equations are the same and the overall objective is also the same: trying to make the world a better place!

What does being a successful engineer mean to you?

To be a successful engineer means to be able to provide new, efficient, creative, useful and viable solutions to solve problems, while considering the human, social, ethical and environmental aspects of your projects at the same time. It means not only doing your job with passion, but to inspire everyone else around you to be always a better version of themselves.

How have you seen the gender balance change during your career?

It is true that Engineering was historically a profession mainly followed by men and currently there are more women deciding to take a roll in this beautiful profession, which is great. But having said that, I consider it is time now for society to stop putting tags into the gender aspect of the discussion; we need to consider people and not genders.

Men and women have the same capabilities and we have to overcome very similar challenges to succeed, we need to understand that we may approach or think things differently, but while working together as equals, we complement each other in a very efficient way.

No gender is more competent than the other, therefore we need to stop classifying and start speaking about people and not men or women. If we achieve that as a society, we would have understood that intelligence, creativity, communication, invention, effort and success do not have a gender.

This year’s INWED theme is Raising the Bar – what aspect of the industry would you like to see “raised” and how would you contribute to that happening?

I think it is time to approach problems in a more holistic way to contribute to the Sustainable Development, we need to understand that we are active agents working for the development of the world, therefore we are not only solving technical problems, we need to consider the human, urban, social and environmental impacts of our projects and decisions.

What advice would you give to young women considering a career in engineering?

I would advise young people (not men or women) to consider this career because it teaches you to think outside of the box, to challenge the rules, to be creative and to use the most powerful tool that exist (the human mind) to try to make a better world for everyone. Engineering is a career where there are no fixed solutions, no particular recipes to each case and your particular set of skills will be unique to approach efficient and holistic solutions. This is the career where you see numbers transformed into buildings, bridges, refrigeration systems, medical devices, highways, harmonic sounds in a room, computational tools, clean and potable water and the sky is the limit. I would say go for it because it is beautiful!

Mun Ng – Adelaide

Mun Ng
Senior Electrical Engineer, Adelaide

“It is a great feeling thinking what I have designed would benefit the community and make a difference.”

 Questions

What attracted you to a career in engineering?

I have special interests in building, fixing and making things work even when I was at a young age. I recall I would attempt to repair a calculator, dismantle gadgets and put them back, create my own toys with building blocks and I was always fascinated with the science projects my older brother brought home from school. I was later exposed to various science subjects in school, including working on experiments involving electricity. I was amazed and eventually decided to pursue a career in Electrical Engineering.

In your career to date, what achievements are you most proud of?

I have been with the NDY Adelaide team for more than 9 years and just being able to work on and successfully deliver various types of projects in Adelaide and various parts of Australia during this time is what I’m really proud of. It is a great feeling thinking what I have designed would benefit the community and make a difference. Another highlight of my engineering career would be obtaining a PhD in Engineering.

What does being a successful engineer mean to you?

To me, being a successful engineer means being passionate with the things I do regardless of the nature, challenge and difficulty of the task, and do them well.

Every profession has its successes and challenges; what particular scenario has helped shape you into the engineer/professional you are today?

The NDY Adelaide team is one of the smaller teams in NDY. We achieve every success and face every challenge together. Being part of this close-knit and yet diverse team for many years, it has helped me see the importance of not just being good in our engineering skills but also being respectful of each other’s needs and differences. With good level of mutual understanding we thrive together.

How have you seen the gender balance change during your career?

The gender balance scene has certainly changed tremendously over the past few years. I can now see many female engineers taking up significant roles not just within NDY but also in the building industry or even the engineering world in general.

Madeline Homewood – Melbourne

Madeline Homewood
Project Engineer, Melbourne

Having the confidence to take on a new challenge is often the first step to achieving something great.

 Questions

What attracted you to a career in engineering?

I’ve always considered myself to be a bit of a nerd – growing up I really enjoyed playing with building blocks and puzzles and as I progressed through school I found I had an aptitude for mathematics and science. As I grew older, I also discovered a love for hiking and nature and I realised my passion for the environment and sustainable living. These combined loves of technical challenges and our natural environment meant that I knew a career in engineering was the right choice for me.

In your career to date, what achievements are you most proud of?

My career as an engineer has given me the opportunity to work on some of the most exciting construction projects in Melbourne. As a building services engineer, I have a chance to shape the way spaces are used and enjoyed by people and I am really proud of the projects I have worked on.

Beyond this, I am most proud of some of the work that I have achieved outside of the office, which NDY has actively supported me in pursuing. I recently embarked on a trip to India to work with a group of professionals from throughout the world. We worked in disadvantaged communities in urban India to understand the challenges that people face and come up with practical solutions. This trip was incredibly challenging, eye-opening and humbling, and I am really proud of the work we achieved.

Every profession has its successes and challenges; what particular scenario has helped shape you into the engineer/professional you are today?

Early on in my time as a graduate at NDY, I was made lead mechanical engineer on one of the office’s biggest tenancy jobs. After a period of shadowing senior engineers, I suddenly found myself driving the design of a high profile project, attending meetings and site visits on my own, and helping to manage our project team. Being thrown into a project with this level of responsibility so early on in my career was daunting, but it allowed me to develop my consulting skills, and foster my own professional brand. I relished the challenge of flying solo for the first time, and my success in this situation made me more confident in my own abilities as an engineer.

How have you seen the gender balance change during your career?

Many of my male friends from university speak of how they knew from a very young age that they wanted to be an engineer, whereas I hadn’t ever heard of engineering until very late in my secondary schooling. It bothered me that as a student who had always loved mathematics and science the option of engineering was made aware to me so late in my schooling. Why was the seed of engineering not planted in my own mind the way it was for my male friends?

Since my time as a secondary school student, the industry has shifted significantly. There is now a huge focus on encouraging young women to pursue STEM subjects and the opportunities associated with a career in STEM are made clearer to women at a much earlier age. As an engineer at NDY, I am involved in our Engineering Students at Work program which allows me to conduct presentations and oversee projects for Year 10 students interested in engineering. I am really passionate about ensuring that young women are aware of all career options that are open to them and inspiring them to pursue a career they are passionate about – whether that passion is engineering or anything else!

What advice would you give to young women considering a career in engineering?

Be bold. Be confident. We don’t realise our potential unless we are brave enough to get outside our comfort zone and test ourselves. Having the confidence to take on a new challenge is often the first step to achieving something great.

Haley Miller – Vancouver

Haley Miller
Project Consultant, Vancouver

“When I was considering engineering, I didn’t have a clear idea of what an engineer was, outside of a man working on a car or a computer. I was interested in design, fashion, travel, writing and competitive swimming”

 Questions

What attracted you to a career in engineering?

Truthfully, I didn’t have a good understanding of what a career in engineering meant when I was choosing to study engineering at university. I’d always been a strong student and I enjoyed math and science, but I was most interested in the challenge that an engineering degree and a career in engineering would pose. More than the technical side of the profession, I was attracted to the innovation, teamwork and continuous growth that goes with solving challenging problems.

In your career to date, what achievements are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of how much I have been able to learn in the year since I graduated from university. Being exposed to real world projects has pushed me outside my comfort zone and made me a more confident engineer.

What does being a successful engineer mean to you?

Success as an engineer to me means maintaining a strong code of ethics, designing with integrity, creativity, elegance, and coming up with solutions that serve the people and the environment.

This year’s INWED theme is Raising the Bar – what aspect of the industry would you like to see “raised” and how would you contribute to that happening?

I think it would be valuable to form a female-mentorship program for young women who are new to the profession/field as well as for women with experience. It is so valuable to be able to see yourself reflected in someone with more experience in the industry, whose career milestones match your goals. I know things like this probably exist, but I think it would benefit the industry if participation in these programs were encouraged throughout the disciplines.

What advice would you give to young women considering a career in engineering?

When I was considering engineering, I didn’t have a clear idea of what an engineer was, outside of a man working on a car or a computer. I knew that the degree had a reputation for being hard, and those who pursued it for being – for lack of a better word – nerds. I didn’t imagine that I fit into the stereotypical image of a pocket-protector wearing, math-loving, sunshine-hating brainiac. I was interested in design, fashion, travel, writing and competitive swimming. My perspective changed when I met with a friend of my fathers, who worked as a chemical engineer in Alberta, on a crude oil refinery. She was a young mother, with a wicked sense of humour and an impressive collection of designer footwear who completely changed my mind about what engineering could be, and who could pursue it as a profession. She was both steel-toed boots and Jimmy Choo.

So, to any young woman who loves problems and sees beauty in design but is unsure of what engineering means, or who can become an engineer, I would say to just give it a try. Reach out to family and friends, try to find someone you can look up to as professional role model, and don’t be afraid of trying something difficult.

Lisa Kelly – Melbourne

Lisa Kelly
Associate – Asset Performance Manager, Melbourne

“Engineering is such a broad industry that encompasses so many businesses and opportunities. It’s exciting, rewarding and constantly changing. Find an area that interests you and give it a go”

 Questions

What attracted you to a career in engineering?

To be honest, I fell into engineering at university by simply following the subjects that I enjoyed. I had no idea what a career in engineering really meant. During my studies however, I worked for a year in the automotive industry which showed me the practical and exciting area that a career in engineering can be. What I liked most was that there was something tangible at the end of the day that you helped create.

In your career to date, what achievements are you most proud of?

Working in great teams, with great clients, on great projects with great mentors.

What does being a successful engineer mean to you?

Being a successful engineer means working hard, always learning and having fun!

How have you seen the gender balance change during your career?

I haven’t seen a marked change in gender balance during my career within the engineering field, however I do find myself working with more female project managers, architects and designers.

What advice would you give to young women considering a career in engineering?

Engineering is such a broad industry that encompasses so many businesses and opportunities. It’s exciting, rewarding and constantly changing. Find an area that interests you and give it a go.

 

Nadine McLennan – Wellington

Nadine McLennan
Senior Electrical Engineer, Wellington

“I think we need to raise the bar with regards to explaining exactly what is involved with the different engineering disciplines and how having a degree in one discipline does not prevent you from working in another”

 Questions

What attracted you to a career in engineering? 

I wanted a job that wouldn’t have me stuck in an office all day and offered plenty of variety – I get bored quite easily and with engineering no two days or jobs are ever the same.

In your career to date, what achievements are you most proud of? 

Overseeing the upgrade of a large fertiliser factory from initial design through the construction phase to hand over. It was a multi-million dollar project and involved being on site most of the day and ensuring smooth communication between the site team and the design office. Project was completed on time and within budget.

How have you seen the gender balance change during your career?

During the early days of my career, I was used to going to product launches and training courses and being the only female in the room, but these days at least 25% of the participants would be female. I would be the only female working on a particular project but a project I recently worked on had a design team of that was predominantly female – this included the architect, project manager, and building property manager. The Wellington Office at present has a female engineer in almost all disciplines.

Tell us something about the industry that women mightn’t be aware of, or that you hadn’t considered prior to becoming an engineer

I wasn’t aware of the wide variety of jobs that are available to you once you have an engineering degree, you don’t just have to be a design engineer. Engineers I did my training with have ended up in a number of different occupations including project management, sales, plant and site inspectors, facility managers just to name a few.

This year’s INWED theme is Raising the Bar – what aspect of the industry would you like to see “raised” and how would you contribute to that happening? 

A lot of people have no idea what a mechanical engineer is – I used to be asked if I fixed cars!! Saying you are a building services engineer also usually results in blank faces.I think we need to raise the bar with regards to explaining exactly what is involved with the different engineering disciplines and how having a degree in one discipline does not prevent you from working in another. I would love to have the opportunity to talk to college students or even intermediate students about engineering and what subjects are and aren’t important. I think by the time students reach Year 11 or 12, they have usually figured out what they want to do, which is why you need to engage them earlier – especially in the STEM subjects.

Jessica Pegg – Brisbane

Jessica Pegg
Project Engineer (Graduate),Brisbane

“I feel like the number of women studying engineering has increased over my time at university … When I graduated there were certainly many amazing females graduating along side of me.”

 Questions

What attracted you to a career in engineering?

It’s probably been said before, but I was always interested in maths and physics at school so I decided to study engineering at uni. At first, I was interested in biomedical engineering because I thought it was really interesting that you could apply maths and physics to improving people’s health and wellbeing. But as I continued my degree I very much enjoyed electrical engineering and that’s what I ended up graduating with.

What does being a successful engineer mean to you?

I believe a successful engineer is respected by others, both colleagues and clients, and is able to communicate effectively to both. I believe that a successful engineer should be confident in their abilities to produce efficient design solutions.

How have you seen the gender balance change during your career?

Being a graduate engineer, my career has only just started. But I feel like the number of women studying engineering has increased over my time at university. You are always told that you will be one of the only women in your class, and maybe that was true before, but when I graduated there were certainly many amazing females graduating along side of me.

This year’s INWED theme is Raising the Bar – what aspect of the industry would you like to see “raised” and how would you contribute to that happening?

I would like to see more children, both male and female, being encouraged to pursue STEM fields from an early age.

What advice would you give to young women considering a career in engineering? / What advice would you give to young women considering a career in the professional services field of engineering? / what advice have you received that you have found to be helpful?

Even though it is a male dominated industry, treat it like any other, if you’re passionate about it, have a go! You’ll never know if you don’t try and in this day and age there are a plethora of amazing female and male role models.

Liz Williams – Melbourne

Liz Williams
Project Engineer (Graduate), Melbourne

“It’s easy to think about the hard numbers and maths associated with engineering but it’s crucial that this information be translated and articulated in a useful way for colleagues and clients in particularly in an engineering consultancy.”

 Questions

What attracted you to a career in engineering?

I’ve always enjoyed maths and science but truth be told, years of watching Grand Designs and Kevin McCloud likely kick started my interest in ESD and the built environment.

How have you seen the gender balance change during your career?

Having only recently concluded my studies, it’s difficult for me to comment on gender balance in the workplace. However, it has been interesting to observe the gender balance dynamic in the engineering society I was involved in throughout university. During my first year there were four female representatives on a committee of 20. Now, women make up more than half the committee members – including the club president. While it may be coincidental, I believe it highlights the importance of having women in leadership positions to help encourage younger generations to persevere and continue to apply for leadership roles.

Tell us something about the industry that women might not be aware of…or that you hadnít considered prior to becoming an engineer

I definitely underestimated the value in soft skills and communication. It’s easy to think about the hard numbers and maths associated with engineering but it’s crucial that this information be translated and articulated in a useful way for colleagues and clients – particularly in an engineering consultancy.

This year is INWED theme is Raising the Bar. In what aspect of the industry would you like to see “raised” and how would you contribute to that happening?

Currently, there are fewer women running ASX 200 companies than men named Andrew. I would like to see the bar raised through ensuring that women are provided equal opportunity to positions of leadership – without bias or discrimination.

What advice would you give to young women considering a career in engineering? 

Don’t be intimidated by the prospect of embarking on a career in a male-dominated profession.

Lucy Stevenson – Canberra

Lucy Stevenson
Project Engineer (Sustainability), Canberra

Before I graduated as an engineer, I didn’t realise how broad your career options can be, because engineering teaches you howto approach problems, and pretty much every career needs good problem solvers”

 Questions

What attracted you to a career in engineering?

To be honest, I didn’t really know what a career in engineering would look like, and I’ve realised that’s because there is not just one “Engineer” you can be. But studying engineering I enjoyed learning to work collaboratively in sometimes-challenging situations with a range of different people, and being encouraged to think through different problems and scenarios – skills that are definitely applicable in my career.

Every profession has its successes and challenges; what particular scenario has helped shape you into the engineer/professional you are today?

Moving interstate to work fairly autonomously (although, of course, very much supported by my geographically-diverse global team) was a big step, but so far I am enjoying the challenges and opportunities it has presented. Getting out of your comfort zone is definitely worth it.

Tell us something about the industry that women mightn’t be aware of…or that you hadn’t considered prior to becoming an engineer.

Before I graduated as an engineer, I didn’t realise how broad your career options can be, because engineering teaches you how to approach problems, and pretty much every career needs good problem solvers.

This year’s INWED theme is Raising the Bar – what aspect of the industry would you like to see “raised”?

I would like to see the industry – and particularly individuals and companies with a lot of influence – not just minimise the effects of prejudice and bias, but to take active, deliberate action to implement diversity at all levels. Diversity leads to better project outcomes, more innovation and better financial results, and presumably if you work in an industry that actively values diversity you’ll be more likely to carry this attitude into other aspects of your life.

What advice would you give to young women considering a career in engineering?

Don’t be scared to ask for support/training/mentoring, and to ask questions generally, but also just back yourself and be confident. You’ll make some mistakes, but so does everyone else, and it’s always a great learning opportunity!

Caroline Lee – Melbourne

Caroline Lee
Project Engineer, Melbourne

“It’s a great feeling to walk past a building and think ‘I helped design that’.”

 Questions

What attracted you to a career in engineering?

I was constantly building things and wondering how thing worked as I was growing up.  At school I enjoyed maths and physics so engineering was the logical choice when it came to selecting a university degree.

In your career to date, what achievements are you most proud of?

I feel proud whenever I whenever I see a building that I’ve helped to design.  It’s a great feeling to walk past a building and think ‘I helped design that’.  It’s particularly exciting to be involved in the design of iconic building such as Rod Laver arena or Bendigo Hospital.

What does being a successful engineer mean to you?

I believe that a successful engineer is someone who uses their technical expertise to help to improve the world around us. For example, in the building services industry, I believe that a successful engineer is someone who uses their knowledge and communication skills to help deliver a design of a building that will ultimately enhance the lives of its occupants.

This year’s INWED theme is Raising the Bar – what aspect of the industry would you like to see “raised” and how would you contribute to that happening?

I would like to see the number of young women entering the industry ‘raised’. I think this should be achieved through changing the perception of maths/science/engineering subjects at the school level.  I think young women should be made aware that these subjects aren’t just ‘boy’s subjects’ and encouraged to participate in them.

What advice would you give to young women considering a career in engineering? 

Engineering is a broad industry full of a diverse range of opportunities. I’d encourage young women to take advantage of these opportunities and embrace the challenges that may come with them.  Overcoming these challenges is what makes work rewarding, interesting and fun!

Vanessa Varisco – Auckland

Vanessa Varisco
CAD Operator, Auckland

We women are a minority, but that was never a reason for me to feel any different.”

 Questions

What attracted you to a career in engineering?

I grow up watching my family invest in real estate. Building and renovating. I just fell in love!

What does being a successful engineer mean to you?

Success for me is not in developing great projects, but to develop all successfully. Exceed customer expectations.

Every profession has its successes and challenges; what particular scenario has helped shape you into the engineer/professional you are today?

I believe that we are always shaping ourselves and learning. I’m an Architect and today, I am here at NDY working with engineers from all areas. I’m still shaping myself.

How have you seen the gender balance change during your career?

I have always been well received as a woman in offices and on construction sites. We women are a minority, but that was never a reason for me to feel any different.

What advice would you give to young women considering a career in engineering?

If you love it, do it! My father told me: “Daughter, do what you like, what gives you pleasure.”

Catarina Nava – Brisbane

Catarina Nava
Senior Project Engineer, Brisbane

“We need to encourage more girls to take on engineering degrees and break the stigma that engineering is for boys only.”

 Questions

What attracted you to a career in engineering?

Maths and Physics were always my favourite subjects at school; I was always very curious about how structures worked. I enjoyed trying to understand how buildings, bridges and harbours were brought to life. I guess watching my father drafting his electrical designs by hand also had a big impact on my understanding of the planning and thought that is required to build something. Following a career in engineering was an easy decision for me, choosing the engineering discipline was the hard part but I decided on a civil engineering degree.

In your career to date, what achievements are you most proud of?

Becoming a Chartered Engineer and an RPEQ was definitely a great achievement for which I am very proud. For me it is always a great achievement to see a building finished and ready to occupy after designing it and being involved in all stages of the project.

What does being a successful engineer mean to you?

For me a successful engineer is someone who provides efficient and sustainable design solutions to their clients and who is truly passionate for their work.

How have you seen the gender balance change during your career?

I’ve definitely seen some improvements over the years, especially in regards with flexible working arrangements which are essential for mothers returning to work. However, I think there is still a lot of work to do to ensure there is gender balance in the engineering pipeline. We need to encourage more girls to take on engineering degrees and break the stigma that engineering is for boys only.

What advice would you give to young women considering a career in engineering?

Definitely go for it! There are so many different areas of engineering, from aerospace to biomedical and mechanical or civil, just to name a few. A career in engineering allows you to think outside of the box and contribute to the development of new equipment, new materials and new building methodologies. I find working in Building Services extremely rewarding because I get to contribute to the shape of our cities and each project has different challenges, so I am constantly learning.

Jane Lai – Melbourne

Jane Lai
Sustainability Consultant, Melbourne

“It is rare to walk into a meeting nowadays where you are the only women in the room.”

 Questions

What attracted you to a career in engineering?

In high school, I was most interested in mathematics and science. I always enjoyed solving problems with maths. When I finished high school, I was inspired by my brother, who was studying civil engineering at the time. With a keen interest in natural systems, I decided that Environmental Engineering was the field most suitable for me.

In your career to date, what achievements are you most proud of?

As a Sustainability Consultant, what excites me is knowing that I am making real societal impacts with the projects that I am involved in. As part of design teams for commercial, residential, defence, healthcare, and retail assets, I am able to help drive the direction of the design and embed sustainability initiatives. I have also been involved in delivering NDY’s capability in the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) arena, which is an annual global survey assessing asset portfolio’s sustainability credentials. It is fulfilling to see organisations making real changes on their management and operations as a result of our work.

What does being a successful engineer mean to you?

Engineering has unsurprisingly always been a traditionally male-dominated profession. However, I feel that the status quo is gradually changing. To me, one aspect of being successful is to be a role model and inspire students, especially girls, to study engineering. I enjoy mentoring and providing guidance to high school and university students, and have given various talks to students to introduce them to engineering and sustainability.

Tell us something about the industry that women mightn’t be aware of…or that you hadn’t considered prior to becoming an engineer

While there are still more male engineers in the industry, I feel that the trend is shifting. Within the office, there are women in both junior and senior roles, which is inspiring to see. I am also working with a lot of women in design teams comprising of architects, builders, and other engineers. It is rare to walk into a meeting nowadays where you are the only women in the room.

What advice would you give to young women considering a career in engineering? / What advice would you give to young women considering a career in the professional services field of engineering? / what advice have you received that you have found to be helpful?

Having a career in engineering is both rewarding and meaningful. You meet a great diversity of people when you work on projects with various disciplines. It is interesting to be exposed to different angles to the same problem when you interact with other engineers, architects, builders, developers, etc. There are also many skills that you pick up in engineering that you can apply to other parts of your life. Engineering is good fun!

Kimberley Whynn – Auckland

Kimberley Whynn
CAD Operator/ Undergraduate Mechanical Engineer, Auckland

“Being an engineer is like any other profession in the world – if you have a passion for it, go for it.”

 Questions

What attracted you to a career in engineering?

I started out as a CAD Draughtsperson and noticed that I would like to be a part of the design engineering stage as well so started training from there.

In your career to date, what achievements are you most proud of?

Going back to university to finish my bachelor’s degree and completing NABERSNZ ratings on quite a few of our buildings.

What does being a successful engineer mean to you?

A successful engineer to me means coming to work every day and enjoying what you are doing. As we spend such a large part of our lives at work, it is important to love what you are doing and leave at the end of the day feeling like you have made an impact in solving everyday problems.

How have you seen the gender balance change during your career?

I have seen the gender balance change during my career as when I started it was well and truly a male dominated industry but now there is definitely a shift in direction and have seen more woman making their mark in the industry.

What advice would you give to young women considering a career in the professional services field of engineering? 

Being an engineer is like any other profession in the world – if you have a passion for it, go for it. There is always a huge support system and the more women are encouraged to follow into the engineering professional services field the more the gender gap will narrow.

Renee Fourie – Perth

Renee Fourie
Senior Associate, Perth

“I am now the section manager for the electrical team in Perth and a mother of two beautiful girls and I’m passionate about being a role model to them through my career.”

 Questions

What attracted you to a career in engineering?

My dad was an engineer and growing up I was exposed to the industry and grew fond of it.  I liked maths and science at school and when I moved to Australia from South Africa, the industry was booming and the opportunities were endless.  I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to study while working in an engineering firm while being trained.

In your career to date, what achievements are you most proud of?

Engineering was my second career path and I’m most proud of the support I had while studying and working full time to progress in my career.  I am now the section manager for the electrical team in Perth and a mother of two beautiful girls and I’m passionate about being a role model to them through my career.

What does being a successful engineer mean to you?

We essentially see ourselves as problem solvers and to me being a successful engineer means thinking outside the box and being innovative.  Staying on top of technologies are crucial in consulting to ensure our clients are presented with options that fit their objectives and pockets.

How have you seen the gender balance change during your career?

I believe that diversity is a way of life and having seen the workforce become more diverse in the last 11 years has shown me that it is vital to a company’s success to be diverse in thought and culture.

Tell us something about the industry that women mightn’t be aware of…or that you hadn’t considered prior to becoming an engineer.

Typically if someone talks about Engineering or a career in property, the perception is that it is highly technical and therefore maybe not for them.  I’m passionate and excited when I talk to young women to demonstrate that this is probably one of the only industries that offer the widest range of careers.  The opportunities are endless.

Aimee Mitchell – Wellington

Aimee Mitchell
Administration Manager, Wellington

“Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself, you do have to be strong, put yourself out there and get into it and go hard”

 Questions

In your career to date, what achievements are you most proud of?

Being able to successfully transition out of Hospitality and take on a career as a Contract Administrator, each step along the way it has grown, with a gradual increase as I have gone along, this has been sustainable growth

Every profession has its successes and challenges; what particular scenario has helped shape you into the professional you are today?

Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself, you do have to be strong, put yourself out there and get into it and go hard

How have you seen the gender balance change during your career?

Slowly but surely, we do still have come way to go.  More in transitioning out of the ‘Boys Club’ mentality.  I am not sure that these attitudes will change overnight, sometimes it takes the next generation to take us forward.

This year’s INWED theme is Raising the Bar – what aspect of the industry would you like to see “raised” and how would you contribute to that happening?

There is nothing immediately that comes to mind with regards to this, I would say this not to change others, but often how we see ourselves, Women need to realise their value and keep knowing that

What advice have you received that you have found to be helpful?

Don’t let people underestimate you, I have discovered Women are relational, I would use this more to my benefit when looking back at some of the working relationships that have not always gone well at the time, but have not been beyond redemption, in other words, start well – end well wherever you go.

Aviva Gunzburg – Melbourne

Aviva Gunzburg
Senior Lighting Designer at NDYLIGHT, Melbourne

“Know your client. Understand their motivators and the way they prefer to communicate.”

Questions

What attracted you to a career in engineering?

I fell into an engineering type of world. At high school I wanted to study fine art at University. After encouragement from my parents, I turned to industrial design, which incorporated my interests both in art and science based problem solving. My knowledge of AutoCAD along with enthusiasm landed me employment within the building services industry. Here I was exposed to lighting design, and I did not look back.

In your career to date, what achievements are you most proud of?

When I look at career achievements, I consider the projects I have been part of, and designs I have been responsible for. I am happy to say that I am proud of many of my projects. They are designs which have effectively and cleverly solved the design brief and have been designed in a way which is sensitive to both human needs and the environment.

What does being a successful engineer mean to you?

Success for me is measured in my own satisfaction of the work I produce along with the satisfaction of my other team members (including Architects and designers) and clients.

Every profession has its successes and challenges; what particular scenario has helped shape you into the engineer/professional you are today?

There have been many small learning steps in every area. These include using oversized lights in an installation, to understanding the different motivations of various clients, to which communication methods to use with each person. That said, as a lighting designer, the most profound lesson I learnt was through the commissioning process at the Southern Stand at the MCG many years ago. Here I saw a space go from having light in it to being lit atmospherically, simply by changing how lights were aimed.

How have you seen the gender balance change during your career?

When I began in the industry roughly 20 years ago, it was very male dominated. The number of female, non-administration staff could be counted on one hand. The number of administrative staff could be counted on the other. This has progressively changed over time and today it is much safer to present as a woman, with intelligence and a voice and not second to a bloke.

This year’s INWED theme is Raising the Bar – what aspect of the industry would you like to see“raised” and how would you contribute to that happening?

This aspect is extremely personal to me. I would like to see accessibility for neuordiverse people raised. In particular providing accommodations for high functioning Autistic people can make valuable contributions in terms of attention to detail, loyalty and intelligent input. Women on the spectrum tend to fly under the radar, and instituting some general elements within a workplace could help all those undiagnosed and masking and struggling day to day. My contribution would be to assist in researching who is best placed to help create and integrate strategies to aid employees on the spectrum. I am also happy to be an advocate to break down stigma surrounding neurodiversity.

What advice would you give to young women considering a career in engineering? / What advice would you give to young women considering a career in the professional services field of engineering? / what advice have you received that you have found to be helpful?

Engineering is puzzles and problem solving, but the fun of doing that is mixed in with essay and report writing and documenting your findings in a manner which others can understand. It can be tedious and stressful, but worth it for the opportunity to challenge the brain.

Consulting engineering is another level, where you need to adopt and apply person skills and communicate in an effective manner with clients and team members to ensure a quality result. It can be daunting, but can also lead to interesting projects and an amazing sense of contribution.

One piece of helpful advice I have received is to know your client. Understand their motivators and the way they prefer to communicate.

Dr Marie Le Pellec – Sydney

Dr Marie Le Pellec
Senior Sustainability Engineer

Sustainability is not a nice shiny layer on a core project. It should systematically be embedded in every solution.”

 Questions

What attracted you to a career in engineering?

As an engineer, we are able to reinvent ourselves through new projects, new skills and new working teams. Our career is always evolving, often new. I also value the engineer way of thinking: organised, logical, building solutions out of facts and innovative thinking. My background is both engineering and strategy: the engineering side brings a robust base to the strategic solutions I develop.

In your career to date, what achievements are you most proud of?

During my time at the French Space Agency, I had the opportunity to help anticipate future needs (e.g. environmental data, sensors) to better understand our planet through Earth observation space programmes. My work involved anticipation, innovation, optimisation and making ideas work for very different stakeholders: a rewarding challenge.

Every profession has its successes and challenges; what particular scenario has helped shape you into the engineer/professional you are today?

I can’t think of a specific scenario that shaped the professional I am today because I believe that a characteristic of engineering is the continuous challenge of our knowledge and skills with every new project. This constant adjustment, to projects and people, is being an Engineer.

From a people point of view: When I arrived in Australia almost 5 years ago, I better understood that a career is also largely built on the people we work with and for. It is not only important to bring the best engineering solutions, we also need to adapt to cultural differences, group dynamics.

From a project point of view: We are lucky enough to see tangible successes as a consequence of our work. A building that includes innovative sustainability solutions: I did this. A company that implements a social policy improving employees’ health: I did this. The challenge is as stressful as the success is rewarding.

This year’s INWED theme is Raising the Bar – what aspect of the industry would you like to see “raised” and how would you contribute to that happening?

As a Sustainability Engineer, I would like to see a bigger shift in the sustainability field. We need to go beyond compliance to make a significant difference. Sustainability is not a nice shiny layer on a core project. It should systematically be embedded in every solution. We wouldn’t build a bridge without checking that the materials load won’t make it collapse. We shouldn’t build a bridge without checking we use the best available materials to ensure the lowest environmental and social impacts. I am working internally and with our clients everyday to make sure we consider the big picture of sustainability, using NDY core engineering skills to achieve strategic sustainability objectives aligned with global objectives such as the Paris Climate Agreement, UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Modern Slavery Act.

For Sustainability Engineers, raising the bar would also be around recognising the value of these engineers as much as others, and give them the same career opportunities and top end responsibilities.

Poppy Cook – Melbourne

Poppy Cook
Project Consultant, Melbourne

After dabbling in Commerce, English Literature, Architecture and Civil Engineering I graduated with a degree in Construction Management. It seemed to me to require just the right mix of analytical systems thinking and social problem skills to keep me engaged throughout my degree and my career.”

Questions

What attracted you to a career in engineering?

My path to engineering was definitely a winding one. I wasn’t someone who, at the end of high school, knew exactly what career they wanted to pursue. In high school I loved maths as well as the arts so I did 50:50 just in case I decided to study engineering.

After dabbling in Commerce, English Literature, Architecture and Civil Engineering I graduated with a degree in Construction Management. It seemed to me to require just the right mix of analytical systems thinking and social problem skills to keep me engaged throughout my degree and my career. I decided to pursue project management within the engineering industry more specifically because I enjoy being constantly challenged.

I love that I get to consider the more spatial and technical aspects of ensuring a building functions to its full potential, as well as observe how a project changes and develops over time. One particularly satisfying aspect of engineering and construction is being able to drive past or walk into a building you’ve contributed to and experience the physical product of your efforts.

How have you seen the gender balance change during your career?

I can’t really comment on how the gender balance has changed at NDY given I’ve only been in my role a short time, however I can comment on how it has changed between the various disciplines in the industry that I’ve been involved in. I do think that while there are relatively few women still in engineering services, the overall number of women involved in the engineering and construction industries is increasing – many of my civil/structural classes at uni had approximately 20% female enrolment, and my construction management major was about 40% female.

Tell us something about the industry that women mightn’t be aware of…or that you hadn’t considered prior to becoming an engineer

There was a bit of a stereotype when I started uni that engineers were good with numbers but not much else. That is 100% wrong. There is room in engineering for people who want to crunch data all day but if that’s not you, don’t stress. Being an engineer, a consulting engineer in particular, requires not just ability to master technical aspects, but also that little something extra – the ability to engage with people from all professions, ages, genders, and from all walks of life.

This year’s INWED theme is Raising the Bar – what aspect of the industry would you like to see “raised” and how would you contribute to that happening?

While the engineering industry is improving on encouraging female participation at a graduate and project level, these numbers drop off once women reach a management or director level. While this will take some time, I’d love to see more women stay within the industry as they progress through to these higher levels. I think that improvement on this front has to have two approaches – further research into understanding why there are fewer women at this level, and encouragement of women to reach and remain at this level. While conducting widespread research may be difficult for an individual I think participating in any and all networking opportunities you’re given is one way to contribute. In particular this could be formal and informal mentoring opportunities – even catching up for coffee with a woman in a more senior position to hear about her experiences and any advice she may have.

What advice would you give to young women considering a career in the professional services field of engineering? 

Even if you’re not sure you want to pursue a career in engineering, I’d recommend keeping that option open. Like me you could end up five years out of high school and suddenly end up an engineer so you never know when that Year 12 math will come in handy.

Career wise, the most helpful advice I’ve received was actually from one of my friends in med school: “It doesn’t matter what you know if you don’t have the confidence to say anything.” I’ve always taken this to mean that even if you’re the smartest person in the room, but you don’t have the courage to speak up, you may as well know nothing. As clichéd as it is, another piece of advice I’d give anyone entering any industry is to not be afraid to ask questions: everyone is constantly learning and it’s better to ask the question than spending half your day confused with no idea what you’re doing.

Liana Paolino – Sydney

Liana Paolino
Electrical Engineer

If you are the kind of person who enjoys problem solving, learning how things work and creating things, engineering is a career worth considering.”

 Questions

What attracted you to a career in engineering?

The thing that attracted me most was the broad range of career opportunities in the field of engineering. I was excited to learn about all the different ways engineers contribute to society.

In your career to date, what achievements are you most proud of?

I feel a sense of achievement seeing people use the facilities I have worked on and collaborating with others to solve problems.

What does being a successful engineer mean to you?

A successful engineer is passionate, collaborative, inspires others, never backs down from a challenge and strives to make things better.

Every profession has its successes and challenges; what particular scenario has helped shape you into the engineer/professional you are today?

In engineering you are continually learning and adapting. In my experience it has been about giving everything go, being committed to working through challenges and learning from everyone around me.

What advice would you give to young women considering a career in the professional services field of engineering?

If you are the kind of person who enjoys problem solving, learning how things work and creating things, engineering is a career worth considering. An engineering career will equip you with a broad skill set that is highly sought after in a range of industries.

I would recommend getting involved in career events, work experience and speaking to some professional engineers to get a better understanding of what engineering is all about.

Melanie Finch – Sydney

Melanie Finch
Project Engineer, Sydney

“Over my relatively short time of just over two years in the Mechanical team at NDY I have already seen the balance shifting, with each new graduate intake to the team being at least 50% female. “

Questions

What does being a successful engineer mean to you?

To me, being a successful engineer means delivering the best solutions possible within your realm of impact and ability. This means being curious, diligent and developing a strong technical background, as well as cultivating a strong relationship with a client to better understand what they are looking for from a project. It’s also equally important to know where your limitations are and how to address them so that you can ensure the client gets the best result regardless, and to continually improve as a professional.

How have you seen the gender balance change during your career?

Over my relatively short time of just over two years in the Mechanical team at NDY I have already seen the balance shifting, with each new graduate intake to the team being at least 50% female. It’s very encouraging to watch the company’s diversity initiatives translating into reality.

Tell us something about the industry that women mightn’t be aware of… or that you hadn’t considered prior to becoming an engineer

One of the most surprising things about the industry is the number of senior male engineers that are real, active advocates for women in engineering. In my first couple of years at NDY I have been challenged and encouraged by a number of male mentor figures who have gone out of their way and been hugely effective in supporting my development as an engineer. While the gender imbalance issue gets a lot of attention, there are so many men in the industry who are intent on doing their part to address it by supporting and retaining good female engineers.

This year’s INWED theme is Raising the Bar – what aspect of the industry would you like to see “raised” and how would you contribute to that happening?

I would love to see the industry working harder to use new technologies and innovations as well as novel ways to implement existing technologies. By using inventive engineering on projects that may typically be viewed as routine, I believe we will see improvements in outcomes for our clients – in both dollar terms and in energy efficiency and sustainability.

What advice would you give to young women considering a career in engineering?

Engineering is so much more of a wide and varied field than it may appear! It’s possible to go in a direction that is technical and detail oriented, or you can choose roles that are people-focused and big picture – or anywhere in between. Especially in this time as a female engineer, the wealth of opportunity that is available to us seems endless!

Megan Lilycrop – Sydney

Megan Lilycrop
Project Engineer

“I believe more attention and support is needed to keep the current female students and an effort to advertise every career equally to both genders.”

 Questions

What attracted you to a career in engineering?

The continuing variety and opportunities attracted me to engineering. I was lucky to find Engineering because in school I didn’t know what it was and what it offered. From changing schools and taking my time on deciding my further education and career I had the chance to explore different work places of family members and see the amazing industry of engineering which one of them was in.

In your career to date, what achievements are you most proud of?

My biggest success to date is pushing myself and achieving my Masters of Mechanical engineering with the extra challenge of being the only female in my class to continue from Bachelors to Masters.

What does being a successful engineer mean to you?

To be successful would mean being a Chartered Engineer and still continuing to learn and being excited to go to work every day.

How have you seen the gender balance change during your career?

My career has only just started but from just an undergraduate to my first job unfortunately I have seen a decrease in the gender balance with approximately 8 females in my bachelor’s class of 150, to 1 out of 30 in my Masters class and similar numbers in my first job. I believe more attention and support is needed to keep the current female students and effort to advertise every career equally to both genders.

What advice would you give to young women considering a career in the professional services field of engineering?

Don’t be put off by the intensity of the Degree, whether it’s the gender imbalance or the modules you learn it all contributes to the foundations you need to be a good engineer. The opportunities and career after is worth all the blood sweat and tears.

 

Iwona Pluzanska – London

Iwona Pluzanska
Project Engineer, London

“Success in engineering in my view comes down to perseverance and hard work both of which women are perfectly capable of.”

Questions

What attracted you to a career in engineering?

It is a family tradition. My grandfather, my mother and father were all educated in, and worked as engineers.  I grow up in an inspiring atmosphere of devotion to logic and creativity.

What does being a successful engineer mean to you?

Because every project is a prototype, being an engineer gives the opportunity to be creative and constantly learn new things. Success is about understanding the basic principle and being able to apply them to ever changing conditions.

How have you seen the gender balance change during your career?

I have an experience of working for a company where all senior management were women. So I suppose the change is happening, but maybe at different speeds throughout the industry.

Tell us something about the industry that women mightn’t be aware of…or that you hadn’t considered prior to becoming an engineer.

In my experience the building industry is very dependent on the overall economic cycle. So working in it could be a bit like feast or famine. Sometimes there is too much work, or at other times not enough.

What advice have you received that you have found to be helpful?

Success in engineering in my view comes down to perseverance and hard work both of which women are perfectly capable of.  Women can actually have an advantage when comes to soft skills, that might be quite important in a team working context.

Xavia Troeger – Brisbane

Xavia Troeger
Associate Senior Fire Engineer

I’ve been very lucky to be part of a very progressive office and company where gender has never been considered a defining feature.”

 Questions

What attracted you to a career in engineering?

Math and science were always my strengths so Engineering was interesting for me from this perspective. I was also attracted to the wide range of options available due to the large number of different disciplines and specialties in Engineering.

What does being a successful engineer mean to you?

To me a successful engineer is one who effectively solves technical problems to the satisfaction of all stakeholders.

How have you seen the gender balance change during your career?

I’ve been very lucky to be part of a very progressive office and company where gender has never been considered a defining feature. However, I have seen the reception in project meetings to women positively change and I am often no longer the only woman in a project meeting which is an exciting indication of the change in the industry.

Tell us something about the industry that women mightn’t be aware of…or that you hadn’t considered prior to becoming an engineer

Something I hadn’t considered prior to entering the workforce is that being considered different is a good thing. Different ways of thinking and approaching a problem offers insights which may not have been considered before and can help drive new solutions.

What advice would you give to young women considering a career in the professional services field of engineering?

It is a challenging career path but it is also very rewarding. There are so many different career paths in engineering that it is easy to find a field you enjoy and enjoying what you do is one of the best ways to ensure success.

Zoe Razavi – Vancouver

Zoe Razavi
Senior Acoustical Engineer, Vancouver

“Twenty years ago, when I started working as an engineer I was one of the two engineers working within a group of forty. I was the only one student out of eighty students at my undergrad studies. I feel this ratio is more balanced at schools and companies now.”

Questions

What attracted you to a career in engineering?

Growing up in a family with a lot of respect for engineers inspired me to become an engineer.

In your career to date, what achievements are you most proud of?

Being able to start new engineering services (e.g. acoustics) within each company that I joined during my engineering carriers.

What does being a successful engineer mean to you?

Being innovative, practical and being active in your field (giving presentations and read papers).

Every profession has its successes and challenges; what particular scenario has helped shape you into the engineer/professional you are today?

My former supervisor at my grad studies (deceased Dr. Murray Hodgson) was rarely happy with the results of our work which made me strive to perform as best as I could. I appreciate all he thought of me that made me get the best out of myself.

How have you seen the gender balance change during your career?

Twenty years ago, when I started working as an engineer I was one of the two engineers working within a group of forty. I was the only one student out of eighty students at my undergrad studies. I feel this ratio is more balanced at schools and companies now.

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