What does your role entail?
I work in CPB Contractors’ NSW & ACT business and tender team, leading our approach to better understanding our client’s needs and wants, while also working with our management teams to create value through the delivery of our major infrastructure projects.
Through my role in our bid team, I work across various sectors including Tunnelling, Civil, Rail and Building to develop our NSW & ACT win strategies. I also work with the General Managers of each NSW & ACT business unit to embed client-centric thinking into our approach.
It is an interesting role as it requires a good understanding of the economics of business, along with how construction plays an integral role in the growth of the economy.
How did you navigate your career?
I had no grand plan and would encourage trying different areas or coming in from another industry as construction is a melting pot of talent.
As a young architect, I started my own business very early. In one sense, it allowed me to navigate a young family and career, yet with enormous financial insecurity. I was always envious of other mothers, with maternity leave and the security of a return to work. Hindsight is wonderful and I realise now there was no ideal scenario. As I sought greater financial security, I moved from a regional government role, to leadership role in a global design firm, principal of a start-up to now part of CPB Contractors and the CIMIC Group. What has underpinned my career along the way has been an appetite for education, gaining an MBA and other qualifications.
What has been your career highlight?
Passing my corporate finance exam, with its three hours of NPV calculations, and enjoying the subject. This was worlds away from a career in design! This was about learning to face challenges with grit and enjoying the unknown. The construction industry has taught me this underlying value.
There have been many highlights, from entering the first building I designed, to exiting a role due to discrimination when I had everything to fear, then landing a new position I love at CPB Contractors. The industry has so many opportunities, I am continually amazed. I have worked in Asia and Europe and found international experience exceptionally valuable. It has been 25 years since I graduated from architecture and I am still learning – and finding engaging opportunities.
The greatest highlight is the relationships I have formed and knowing I can back myself.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Balancing family and career has been the hardest juggle. Despite never taking time out for a career break while my children were young, I did feel I’d slipped behind male colleagues earlier in my career. This is changing for younger women and career progression for female employees in construction is a key focus for both CPB Contractors and the wider industry which is fantastic.
What would be your one piece of advice for other women aspiring to progress in the construction industry?
Know yourself and take time to craft your individual sense of purpose. Try new areas and seek counsel from mentors – if you don’t have one, find one! Always keep learning in all areas of your life, not just in technical skills. New skills are important because, as productivity pressures mount, the industry is looking through a different lens and no longer doing things, just because that’s “the way we always do it….”
What are your aspirations for the future?
I hope to continue to accelerate my career through senior management levels, ideally with P&L responsibility. I would like to participate as a director, on more company and or relevant industry advisory boards to continue to influence transformation across the industry, and to build sustainable modern businesses. I love building businesses that deliver tangible outcomes to people’s lives. Being able to walk through a community and knowing that I was part of improving the physical and social environments continues to be my purpose.
What does being a director of the Australian Constructors Association mean to you?
It is an enormous privilege; I am both excited but also feel incredibly responsible to evolve our industry. I am aware that without CPB Contractors seeing potential in me, and the ACA as a vehicle to lead change, I would not be where I am today. Australian Constructors Association is my chance to give back in an impactful way, and to continue learning.