In her own words
I came into transport by chance, having started the first six years of my career in different industries including corporate services and telecommunications in Paris and London. In 2006 I moved to Singapore and through my network joined Alstom working on a large, turnkey rail project with a high level of complexity. It was an exceptional learning curve and I loved it, especially the aspect of enabling public transport for people and helping the planet as well through reducing car usage.
What I really enjoy about the industry is that is a complex business involving large projects, lots of technological interfaces and muti-faceted stakeholder environments. For me it is important to be challenged and do new things and the rail industry delivers this each and every day; it is constantly challenging.
When I went into project management in Singapore in 2009 and was working on the turnkey project, there were roughly 300 people on the project, and I was one of three women. I was always very well accepted, but it is true that we have a clear under representation of women in non-traditional roles. I am spending quite a lot of time with the younger generation encouraging women to come into the industry.
Next gen attraction
The next generation are asking themselves lots of questions about what they want to do and while they see transport infrastructure as an extremely promising industry the pathways to build their careers and evolve within the industry are often unclear.
Work life balance is a prominent consideration in this cohort, as is the importance of doing interesting, meaningful work. This is what I highlight when I talk to people considering entering the industry. There are always new opportunities emerging and the demand for women across organisations offers a lot of possibilities right now.
What is exciting and attractive about the transport industry is the level of investment in Australia and importance of the technological advancements coming through.
Building inclusive networks
In Australia the rail industry is still a bit of a boys’ club and that can be a deterrent. By injecting more women into leadership roles we can change this aspect and create inclusive networks. We can only drive change by participating in and building these networks.
And while we are seeing more senior women leaders coming through, there is void in the middle layer and that is a big issue in terms of succession planning. We need to continue all our efforts to build the pipeline of women.