As part of the #BuildingEquality 2019 Campaign, Lorraine Brady,
Design and Bid Manager with BAM Ireland shares her story as a woman in construction.
Working in construction is a highly rewarding career. I get to follow our projects from the moment that a ‘Request for Proposal’ (RFP) lands, to driving the strategy to win, to pitching the proposal to the Client, to waiting and watching for the win, to finally and hopefully seeing the project rise from the ground and to handing it over to a delighted Client.
There is a great sense of achievement to see the finished project, which started out as an RFP. Every phase of the project from bid to build has its own unique requirements, demands and challenges. Every day is different, and I have the pleasure of interacting with our site, design, commercial. marketing and digital construction teams. There is great variety in my role at BAM Ireland and always new skills to be learned.
I do believe there is a lack of awareness about the interesting and varied career opportunities available, and partly due to the perception of the industry being male dominated and muddy. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Well, the muddy bit anyway. My role is just as likely to take me to a meeting in the city centre as it is to take me to a construction site. That’s the beauty of it, you get to do a bit of everything, which makes each day genuinely different from the last. I am passionate about construction and never bore of seeing those green BAM cranes on the skyline.
When I look at who I consider to be my female role models ‘who rose above the ranks’ in my current and past work environments they all have one trait in common. None are just ‘average’ performers, all are high achievers and are driven and passionate in all that they do. Therefore, I believe that women in construction, or in any industry for that matter, who strive for senior management positions must be a little more ‘brilliant, dedicated and constantly and consistently outperform their male peers to get noticed.
Unfortunately, this can sometimes translate into a perception that women who do well in some industries are “pushy”, but this to me is just another word for “driven”, and I think this is something that we can all learn to live with. I do wonder for how much longer women will need to prove they are twice as good as men to get ahead?
Finding a mentor (or someone with more experience than you) is a very useful tool in your learning process. Having moved from architectural practice to a global Engineering, Procurement and Construction Management (EPCM) company I was very lucky to work with one of the best Industry Project Managers who acted as a mentor. A mentor can provide crucial feedback. It puts a stress test on your skills and challenges the knowledge areas where you might be weak. Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know something and be open to any advice that a mentor provides. The key is to understand that finding the right mentor could be the difference between success and failure.
To learn more about the #BuildingEquality campaign and to share your own story, please visit our dedicated #BuildingEquality page here