In a career that began in her native Shanghai in the early nineties, Susan’s commitment to her clients and to creating safe, elegant and long-standing building structures has been unwavering.
She says, “I think to an extent I was born into engineering. When I was young my mother taught me to build a radio from scratch and then once at school I always had a passion for maths and physics.
“Since entering the industry, I have enjoyed fostering many fantastic client relationships, developing my skills further through studying for a PhD and I’m also now a part-time Professor at Tongi University back in Shanghai.”
These achievements are significant moments in Susan’s career. One of her proudest achievements was receiving a ‘Special Contribution Award’ for excellence in client service from Poly Australia in 2018.
She says, “Since starting with the firm in 2015, I have been empowered to grow and develop relationships how I’ve wanted, and to be recognised for my work in this area is humbling and satisfying.
“My secret to providing a gold standard in client service is simple. Firstly, I would say that two-way communication is the key. Secondly, make sure your skills and knowledge of the project are exemplary – after all, their problems are yours. And finally, take your reputation seriously. The latter is important to maintaining relationships whilst also improving your own personal brand and growing your network.”
Having worked at universities in Sydney and Shanghai on top of her day-to-day career, Susan has firsthand knowledge of gender imbalance in the industry. She says, “At university, I was one of the few females in a class of males. Whilst I was able to channel this difference and use it as a source of inspiration, many women see it as a barrier to entry.
“I’m passionate about the next generation and to me, breaking down these barriers of entry is at the forefront of the debate. Can we better incentivise women through bonus points at high school into careers in STEM-related fields? Can we better utilise our current female leaders to speak openly and passionately to our young people about how we as engineers can help to create thriving communities and our future cities?”
As part of her part-time role at Tongi University, Susan is heading over to Shanghai in late April to impart her many years of experience on eager students. She will use the opportunity to encourage the engineers of tomorrow to work hard, be humble, ask questions and travel.
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