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International Women's Day 2021

Posted: 18th March 2021

Unfortunately this year we could not celebrate International Women's Day in the office. We caught up with our colleagues to see how women have shaped their careers and how they will #ChoosetoChallenge this year.


Nara Oliveira - Quantity Surveyor

What age were you when you first started working and what job was it?

I started working when I was around 20 years old. It was an engineering internship at a construction company in Brazil. I went on to graduate in Civil Engineering at Federal University of Bahia in Brazil.

Tell us about a time when another woman helped you with your career?

My first boss was a woman in a construction company in Brazil, it was my first experience with engineering. She taught me about the vocabularies, the quantities, the construction types and many other things related to construction in general. It was my introduction to a professional environment. She taught me many things about engineering and working in a big company.

What is the one piece of advice you would give your younger self?

Do more exercise!

What advice would you give to women pursuing your career choice?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you are in doubt. And don’t be afraid to make changes, you need to feel happy with your choices.

On this day what is the most important message you want to send to young women thinking about their careers?

Everything happens at its own time, be patient, persevere and your goals will be achieved.

What do you hope for in the future of women in the workplace?

Equal respect and responsibilities regardless of your gender. And only your skills and experience should matter for a career path.

This year International Women’s day is using the hashtag #ChooseToChallenge. How are you going to Challenge yourself this year? Create a weekly routine of exercise.


Katie Callery - H&S Administrator

What age were you when you first started working and what job was it?

I started waitressing in The Percy French Hotel when I was 15, every weekend and holidays until I was 21 (along with other jobs by then).

Tell us about a time when another woman helped you with your career?

I wouldn’t say “career” but “life path”….. Most women I have had the pleasure of working alongside have been inspirational in some way. From life challenges and past experience, they have all given me advice and encouragement along the way. Even if its just encouragement to go for a job etc; it all counts. The support of women throughout my working life has been most influential. I am still in touch with women I worked with over 20 years ago and know even now they would support me and I would do the same for them.

What is the one piece of advice you would give your younger self?

Don’t worry about the future so much, think about living in the now and enjoy it.

What advice would you give to women pursuing your career choice?

I started off on 1 career and ended up in another so I am not the best for advice.

On this day what is the most important message you want to send to young women thinking about their careers?

Do something that makes you happy.

What do you hope for in the future of women in the workplace?

I hope women are seen as cornerstones of the workplace.

This year International Women’s day is using the hashtag #ChooseToChallenge. How are you going to challenge yourself this year?

I would love to challenge myself to get fit and healthy but I think it’s a challenge enough to juggle daily life at the moment 😊


Kim Johnson - HR Officer UK

What age were you when you first started working and what job was it?

I was 16 years old and worked for an Audio Engineering company. It was an entirely male-dominated company and the guys thought it was a joke that I was working with them. After the line check was complete the Head Sound Engineer brought the entire crew together and explained that I’d successfully patched a 64 channel desk the first time – something not one of the guys had apparently achieved once in 10 years!

Tell us about a time when another woman helped you with your career?

Many women have supported my career progression. Without any of their support, I wouldn’t have achieved half of what I have. I’m very fortunate to have been mentored by highly skilled and knowledgeable women and can only hope that I possess a fraction of the skills they have.

What is the one piece of advice you would give your younger self?

You won’t remember how much blood, sweat and tears you shed, but you’ll always remember what you achieved. No one really knows what they’re doing… and those that claim they do probably have less idea than the rest of us!

What advice would you give to women pursuing your career choice?

I have no idea what career path I’m on… If there’s a door or a window or a crack even slightly open, then get in there! You never know where an opportunity will lead and it’s often the ones you least expect to lead anywhere that lead you somewhere great.

On this day what is the most important message you want to send to young women thinking about their careers?

Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do the role you want to do. Everyone is capable of doing anything if they work hard enough.

What do you hope for in the future of women in the workplace?

That women who are assertive in the workplace are stopped being seen as ‘overly emotional’.

This year International Women’s day is using the hashtag #ChooseToChallenge. How are you going to challenge yourself this year? I’m going to challenge any unconscious bias that occurs in the workplace with the aim of developing a fairer culture.


Alina Rusu - Project Administrator

What age were you when you first started working and what job was it?

I started working at age 18 doing projects for my colleagues. I did several internships while in University, but my first real job was at age 22, when I started working as a Geodesist Engineer.

Tell us about a time when another woman helped you with your career?

In my first job, a colleague taught me the basics of the job.

What is the one piece of advice you would give your younger self?

Don’t waste your time trying to please everyone. Try to spend more time with your family as you never know how long you’ll have them around.

What advice would you give to women pursuing your career choice?

Be yourself and keep learning.

On this day what is the most important message you want to send to young women thinking about their careers?

Do what you love and do it to the best of your ability.

What do you hope for in the future of women in the workplace?

Equal employment opportunities and equal pay for both women and men.

This year International Women’s day is using the hashtag #ChooseToChallenge. How are you going to challenge yourself this year? I'm due a new baby later this year. I'm going to challenge myself to be a better woman and mother.


Sharon O'Reilly - Portfolio Manager

What age were you when you first started working and what job was it?

I started working at 15 as a waitress.

Tell us about a time when another woman helped you with your career?

When I saw that two of the lead engineers in their fields, working on building a new large scale technology facilities plant, were female…..and at a time when the number of females working on that site was less than 10 out of well over 1000 employees. It encouraged me to see what was possible.

What is the one piece of advice you would give your younger self?

Open your eyes to topics that are not instinctively of interest to you.

What advice would you give to women pursuing your career choice?

Don’t! Only joking…strive for more and speak up!

On this day what is the most important message you want to send to young women thinking about their careers?

Don’t be led by anyone else’s opinions, be your own judge and know you can do anything if you put the effort in.

What do you hope for in the future of women in the workplace?

More women on the board/director tiers would change a lot for the better.


Viorica Grigorescu - Streetworks Administrator

What age were you when you first started working and what job was it?

I was 19 when I became a primary school teacher (in Romania, we do 5 years in Pedagogical College, after finishing secondary school at 14). Then I became a teacher of English at 25, after Uni.

Tell us about a time when another woman helped you with your career?

My mother helped me with my career, from the very start, by supporting me and encouraging me every time I felt insecure or unsure of the direction I wanted to take. She has always been my inspiration.

What is the one piece of advice you would give your younger self?

I would advise my younger self to be braver, to trust my intuition, and reach for my dreams. Cherish independence as a person and as a woman and to put myself first.

What advice would you give to women pursuing your career choice?

I would advise other women to be kinder to themselves. We need to take care of ourselves more and learn to delegate. Don't be afraid of failure. Often, that's how lessons are learnt.

On this day what is the most important message you want to send to young women thinking about their careers?

Young women should put their ambitions first, they should dream big and focus on their careers. Women shouldn't be afraid to go for leadership positions or roles that have been historically male-dominated.

What do you hope for in the future of women in the workplace?

In the future, I hope women will be listened to more. Women are tremendous for their creative energy, organisational skills and innovative ideas. I hope women will be given more roles at the top where the big decisions are made. I hope all gaps are bridged.

This year International Women’s day is using the hashtag #ChooseToChallenge. How are you going to challenge yourself this year?

I am going to challenge myself this year by looking after myself more, being more active, having more me-time and learning to sometimes say “No”. All in small but decisive steps.

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