Let your own hard work and talents tell your story.
My advice? Find a company that actively supports learning and development, one where you feel you can be your true self.
This year Engineers Week 2017 is running alongside International Women’s Day. This is a great opportunity to encourage young adults to study STEM subjects, especially girls! Having worked in the construction/industrial sector for over 20 years, I can say it is a great time for the Industry. Initiatives like Engineers’ Week and the UN’s International Women’s Day are essential to inspire the next generation of engineers and encourage a higher representation of females in the industry. Participation of women in construction and engineering remains staggeringly low. An article in The Journal states that in March 2015 there were just 2,506 women enrolled in full time undergraduate engineering, manufacturing or construction courses at Higher Education Authority-funded institutions in Ireland. This is compared to 14,215 men enrolled in courses in the same area. This is highly disproportionate, and to ensure a successful industry, we need the innovation of ideas that can be gained through increased diversity.
How did you start your career in construction / at Hilti?
My Hilti career started in North America in 2010. Then in 2013 I moved to Great Britain to take a role as Sales Director for the Central Southwest division and was the first female Sales Director for Hilti in GB. At the time I assumed my current role as Managing Director of Hilti Ireland (Hilti Fastening Systems Ltd) in 2014, I was the only female GM within the Hilti group. I am now one of several!
What does a typical day look like for you?
Every day is different! And I love it that way. One day I might be working with our leadership team on strategic topics, and the next day I might be in the field meeting customers and visiting key projects for Ireland. I cover from Derry to Dublin, Blarney to Belfast, and everywhere in between.
My favourite days are those spent “in the van” with our account managers. Co-rides are a cornerstone of how we understand our business and our team members. We meet the customer directly, and this allows us to get real-time feedback on our business practices, our marketplace and the challenges facing our customers and our own people. I have one-on-one time with our salespeople to coach and encourage them in their daily activities while also gaining insight into their personal goals and career aspirations.
What surprises people about your role?
“A woman runs your company?” In Ireland, YES! Gender doesn’t define who makes a great leader, and at Hilti we have female leaders across all areas of our business including sales, engineering, finance, R&D, marketing and more. I believe strongly that the construction industry can benefit from a diverse work force, but diversity alone is not the answer. As a leader, I strive to make inclusion a top priority – encouraging our team members to celebrate our differences without losing sight of what unites us at Hilti: our passion to create enthusiastic customers and build a better future.
What would you say to any other women who are considering a career within the construction industry?
Working in the construction industry is extremely rewarding. The career paths are numerous and quite varied. My advice? Find a company that actively supports learning and development, one where you feel you can be your true self. Then let your own hard work and talents tell your story.
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