Challenging the Status Quo to Shape our Future Environments and Communities

Caroline Funnell, WSP’s Victorian Team Manager for Environment Planning is challenging the status quo in helping to shape our future environment and the communities in which we live, work and play.

Having started her career in Edinburgh, Scotland within the renewable energy field, Caroline has experience across mining and infrastructure projects in Australia, a mix of urban regeneration schemes in the UK, plus road and rail projects. She returned to Australia recently and specialises in environmental impact assessments, design, environmental management plans as well as compliance auditing and consents.


Caroline says, “I’m passionate about making a difference. I believe that the work I do is helping to shape our future environments and local communities. I’m action-based and love that my team and I can advise at the front end of a project and follow it all the way through to build-out.”


She believes one of the big challenges for our future environments lies in changing people’s perceptions. “I’d like to accelerate the thinking in Australia so that we catch up with Europe who in particular are leading the way globally,” says Caroline.


“Being globally connected means there is no reason for us to be a few years behind in terms of technologies, road use (love of cars) and air emissions from vehicles. If we can shift towards getting more freight onto rail lines and more people onto public transport, then we will have a much more sustainable future. We need Australians to understand that there are other ways of commuting besides driving.”


Caroline believes that through having her superiors invest in her development has enabled her to progress her career. She adds, “Success can and should be shared but a greater diversity of thought is needed. I get excited when I see a younger colleague get promoted because at the end of the day it’s about having the right people for the right role. That means recognising and developing people’s skills, experience and talent so that a world of exceptional people can shine in their own way. As a team manager, I wear my team on my sleeve and back each of them to succeed.


“Being self-aware and open to other people’s ideas and approaches allows me to learn and improve. We need to be celebrating the broader diversity mix – different ages, cultures and backgrounds beyond just gender – to help achieve better outcomes for our clients and a more inclusive environment where our societies can thrive.”


Currently working on the approvals for the establishment of new mountain bike trails in Warburton, for the Yarra Ranges Council located just outside of Melbourne, Caroline says, “The project is challenging in that it is situated within an area of high conservation value. The project aims to deliver a world class mountain bike facility so that the local community and tourists alike can take advantage of the regions natural beauty, whilst minimising the environmental footprint.”


Outside of work Caroline loves cooking and enjoys being creative with her hands. Her hobby is herbalism which involves her love of gardening and turning dried herbs into creams, tinctures and skin balms. She is very active with her love of the outdoors, daily CrossFit sessions, yoga and meditation at home that help her balance work and life.


WSP Diversity and Inclusion 


To stay abreast of our latest news, publications, videos and posts, please follow us on LinkedIn.