What does your role entail?
- Part of the Executive Leadership Team for John Holland Group
- Long and short-term business strategy
- Business improvements
- Mergers and acquisitions
- Business digital transformation and digital platforms
- Customer, government & market engagement strategies and development
- Employee engagement
How did you navigate your career?
Each of us has a unique career pathway, shaped by education, family, time, and opportunities. The common element for all of us is leadership and the role of our leaders to open the space for us to grow and take on new and different experiences. I have been very fortunately to have had some great leaders who have pushed me into uncomfortable roles, situations I felt unprepared for, and projects that tested my skills and approaches. And importantly in all these adventures, they create an environment that supported me, and gave me a safety net. And invariably the safety net was not needed, and each opportunity gave me the platform to take the next step in my career. Being open to opportunities, being confident to take risks and knowing you have leaders that support you seem to be the key elements.
What has been your career highlight?
Predictably I am not sure there is just one highlight, whilst there have been some key milestones.
- Moving to Australia to take on a new Business Development role in Southeast Asia, as a young female – overcome a plethora of expected and unexpected challenges
- Working for Greg Hayes, Ross Taylor and Joe Barr – three amazing leaders that each challenged me with broad and exciting roles
- Reaching a point in my career that I can share my experiences to help others on their own unique career journeys
What has been your biggest challenge?
Work life balance is probably one of the top three challenges for most executives, and particularly for females in the Infrastructure sector. This has been a work in progress for me – not one I have mastered but I think I am better than I was. What is the secret – not sure – but what works for me is being very organised, having some simple rules about personal time, and being honest and open about what is important to me.
What do you think is the most important change happening in the construction industry?
We work in an exciting industry, it shapes the world we live in, it drives GDP and economic growth and connects communities. But it is challenged and has not progressed in line with so many industries around it. It has one of the lowest female participation rates, highest suicide rates amongst young men, and expectations around work hours that puts too much stress on individuals and families. It is also one of the worst performing sectors regarding productivity improvement.
So, there are a few changes needed, all of which are addressed through the three ACA pillars of Commercial, Culture and Capability. And whilst these three pillars work in union, if I was to single out the top two, they would be inclusion and wellbeing (part of the Culture pillar). If we could unpack and solve for these important changes, we unlock more talent and create a more sustainable sector that will attract more people and skills – at a time when skills scarcity is at an all-time high.
What would be your one piece of advice for other women aspiring to progress in the construction industry?
Embrace yourself, be authentic and grow your own confidence. Seek out great leaders and don’t tolerate poor leaders. And say ‘yes’ to challenging opportunities that allow you to stretch and build new skills.
What are your aspirations for the future?
To see a sustainable Infrastructure sector.
What does being a director of the Australian Constructors Association mean to you?
We work in an industry sector that contributes 11% of Australia’s GDP, employs 10% of the population, connects our regional and metro communities, and genuinely can transform lives. But it needs to change, improvement is mandatory. The human cost of how we operate today is too high, and the stress it puts onto organisations is disproportional to the return. Reform is needed. Being a Director of ACA allows me and John Holland to have an impact on the change needed across the three pillars of Commercial, Culture and Capability. Nearly all the industry stakeholders agree on reform, but implementation and consistency are challenging – being part of the change is exciting and being able to create a better place to work is a legacy I would love to be part of.