What does your role entail?
The Construction Manager’s role is involved in a project from the start to finish, i.e. from establishing plans and construction delivery strategy, to going through a multitude of management duties including safety, quality, project controls and scheduling, right through to closeout and handover.
Over the course of a project my responsibilities differ from phase to phase. During the design phase I work with designers and superintendents on constructability, program, sequence and method. Once on site, I keep track of progress against the plan, and initiate mitigation or acceleration as required.
Apart from the delivery side, a big part of my role is to mentor the team, provide guidance and support throughout the journey, and to also undertake performance management and implement improvement strategies when required.
How did you navigate your career?
I set myself targets and goals and break them down into achievable short-term milestones.
I never pigeonhole myself into the areas that I am comfortable with and I’m always keen to grab opportunities with both hands and take on new challenges.
McConnell Dowell has a strong mentor program and my mentor plays an important role in my career development, through both the formal program initiatives and informal catch ups. It is essential for me that I have someone that I trust to guide me to the right direction.
What has been your career highlight?
Together with my team, we delivered our very first project on time and on budget. The project was on an extremely tight delivery program and budget, and in a highly urbanised area with multiple stakeholders and residents.
I felt really satisfied watching the team grow together for the successful outcome.
What has been your biggest challenge?
Despite my gender and cultural background, my biggest challenge to date has been developing my performance management skills, which is a crucial part of being a leader and manager. Delivering a project is not as hard as developing and managing people.
What do you think is the most important change happening in the construction industry?
I think the most important change happening in the construction industry is the greater focus on health and wellness, in particular mental health.
Over the years, long and rigid working hours in the construction have been a primary reason for many women to not consider a career in this industry. And it is not only women. Many more men are now seeking more flexible working arrangements as a way of achieving a better work-life balance and maintaining good mental health.
The industry is starting to embrace flexible working arrangements, realising that happy, well-balanced employees equals more successful projects and a sustainable construction industry.
What would be your one piece of advice for other women aspiring to progress in the construction industry?
There are really no barriers for women entering the construction industry these days and the glass ceilings has been broken constantly by trailblazers, because there are so many different roles in this industry, which suits all different skill sets.
From my experience, construction is a very rewarding industry to be involved in, because you are always part of something that you can look back in the future and be proud.
I love the moment when you drive past, fly over or even just open google maps, and point to a landmark or area and say to your loved ones, “I helped build that!”
What are your aspirations for the future?
I’m looking forward to being a part of a more, flexible, welcoming, diverse and inclusive industry into the future. I truly believe that looking after our people and creating a balanced and healthy working environment, is the key to the success of our industry. I want to play my part in that.