What is your current Job Title or Role?
Estates Mechanical Maintenance Manager
What advice would you have for young women who are interested in a STEM career or job?
Don't compare yourself to anyone else; set your own targets and work hard to achieve them. And try not to think too much about gender; you should be aiming to be the best scientist/engineer not the best female scientist/engineer. There are people that will support you, make sure you support yourself too.
How did you get to where you are today?
When I was a child, my parents were always avid followers of Formula 1, and I started getting an interest in it from about the age of 8 or so. Although I was always interested in the drivers and racing, I was also interested in the way the teams ran behind the scenes; the mechanics, the tacticians and the analysts. I think I always had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to do something along those lines 'when I grew up', perhaps subconsciously. When it came to applying for university, I nearly chose a criminology degree because the prospect of engineering was a bit daunting, but in the end thought I’d give Mechanical Engineering a go, and if I wasn't very good, I could always transfer to something else. It turned out, I was actually quite good at engineering, and ended up with a first class masters degree, and an IMechE Best Student award when I graduated. Following a two year graduate scheme at an engineering company, I ended up as a Project Manager; delivering a range of infrastructure/estates projects. I ended up managing the demolition of a 300 tonne hammerhead crane using two of the largest mobile cranes in the country, which is a far cry from a Formula 1 team mechanic, but very exciting all the same. I was then offered a promotion to Mechanical Maintenance Manager in the Estates department, which is the role I’m currently carrying out.
What do you do on a daily basis in your work?
My day job involves managing a team of 40 people and a budget of just over £4 million to ensure that all the mechanical services throughout the site I work at are maintained and operational. This includes managing the planned maintenance of hundreds of assets, including 2 large boiler houses that generate steam to heat the entire site, and also corrective maintenance when things go wrong. There's a wide variety of things I do; one minute I can be in a meeting discussing our adherence to statutory pressure vessel regulations and the next receiving a phone call to say that we've had a failure of a water main and suddenly I’m coordinating a repair whilst ensuring that buildings that have been cut off are provided with temporary arrangements, and our water bill isn't rocketing sky high. There's a fair amount of responsibility, but we know we've done a good job if everyone else can carry out their day to day jobs without knowing that we're working hard in the background to keep everything going.
Who or what inspired you to get into STEM?
My parents definitely always encouraged me to do whatever I put my mind to, and have supported me no end in getting to where I am now. I also had some brilliant teachers and lecturers along the way, including my a level maths teacher who told me 'If you can do maths, you can do anything', which I think is true! I think, as a stubborn person, I didn't need much inspiration to get into STEM, but there are a lot of people who I have met who have inspired me to stay in the field.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
Working together with people to solve problems. As much as I enjoy organising, paperwork and keeping everything on track, there is a part of me that enjoys having to think on my feet, organise a team and get stuck into forming a solution; unfortunately this tends to happen when something goes wrong! I do get a huge sense of satisfaction when a project or task that I’ve put a lot of effort into goes well and gets closed out.
What do you like to do outside work?
Outside of work I’m heavily involved in playing hockey. Last year as captain of the 2nd team, I helped us to earn promotion from our league, and this year I have taken on the role of Vice-Club Captain. Alongside that, I’m also Secretary/Treasurer for a junior club, and I try to umpire where I can too. Outside of hockey, I’m also keen on baking, and I’m part way through making a wedding cake for one of my work colleagues.