This week for our celebration of international women’s day we interviewed one of our Westmead Redevelopment project managers, Michelle Englert, about her experiences studying engineering and working at Westmead.
How did you become an engineer?
I have always been interested in the built environment and originally wanted to be an architect. I actually had no idea what a civil engineer was until my final year of high school. I decided to attend the civil engineering presentation despite having no knowledge of what it would be about. I’m glad to say it was an enlightening moment and I immediately changed my career choice from architecture to engineering.
I’ve always wanted to build things - it’s pretty much all I’ve ever wanted to do.
During your time at University was there any focus on gender due to the traditional underrepresentation of women in the engineering industry?
There is certainly a consciousness that traditionally the construction industry is not an industry which has been a choice for many women in the past. However, a change was already occurring as I was going through my studies.
What would you say about women working on the project?
I have never worked with so many women before. I feel that women are extremely well represented at Westmead and I think we have fantastic support here for diversity in the workplace, especially in a traditionally male dominated industry sector. This is so important for a project like ours at Westmead because diversity in a team brings differing viewpoints and perceptions. If you have diverse backgrounds working together, different people will think of different possibilities and outcomes which may not have been realised or reached otherwise. So with diversity of personnel comes diverse outcomes.
What’s exciting you about the project management space?
The key focus of project management for me is about affecting positive change in society. If I can change someone’s day-to-day life by improving the infrastructure around them, then that really is the most rewarding aspect of my job.
Could you provide a specific example of this?
That’s an easy one. What we are doing here at Westmead is transforming the health landscape for Western Sydney. This project will be a huge transformation for the region and will have a major impact on the people who live and work in Western Sydney for years to come. One day I hope to be telling the grandkids about the role I played in building this new health city!On International Women’s Day why do you think it’s important to reflect on the importance of our fellow women in the work place?
I think it’s great to be able to reflect on the roles women play all around us at this time and to celebrate this. I know for me and I believe this is true for many others however that this is something we are conscious of everyday. It’s critical that we recognise and constantly support one another in the great work and impact that women continue to have in our industry.
This story appeared in the Westmead Redevelopment Project Update 101 - see this story for more photos of Michelle in action.
Make your committment to #BeBoldForChange for International Women's Day 2017. Read more at the campaign website.