In her own words
Bold leadership is needed in the transport industry as projects are getting more complicated and infrastructure is not being seen as creating just one standalone asset such as a rail line or road, but as connecting into a whole system.
There are so many types of disruption in the industry, including the path to net zero along with better usage of technology that require us to come together and be bold and change past perceptions of how we do things.
As we start to use infrastructure not just to drive economic outcomes but to achieve more inclusive and societal benefits, we need to have people with diverse voices and different experiences at the table to help come up with more creative solutions.
What is exciting is the amount of work that is going on in infrastructure and transport and how we are shaping the way people move and live, as well as creating a more even playing field in society.
We can really see this in Western Sydney with the creation of the aerotropolis. My Mum grew up in Western Sydney and I have a lot of family there. For a long time, it had been a forgotten part of Sydney. The work happening there now is connecting people and building jobs and respecting the Indigenous culture.
I love seeing the system as a whole and how transport provides access to education and better jobs closer to housing. Infrastructure attracts a raft of development opportunities which can lead to greater community outcomes.
We also have a big role and responsibility in decarbonisation. If we build good transport infrastructure, it must address carbon emissions and support the path to net zero and leave a positive legacy for generations to come.
We need to do a better job of educating people about what the different types of careers in transport can look like, particularly engineering which has traditionally had a very masculine identity. We need to talk about all the possibilities and role model what it looks like.
When I speak with students at schools and universities, I talk about all the amazing careers where engineering can take you – it’s not a linear path.
Being an engineer can take you anywhere in the world and provides a great skill set for a whole range of roles. Having that foundation has ensured I can walk through any door in my career.
In terms of attracting more women to the industry, there is no easy solution. It will include encouraging girls into STEM classes at school, 50-50 graduate intakes as well as supporting those women coming back into the workforce in the mid-section of their career. We must work along the whole spectrum of a women’s career path and their education journey.