#EngineeredOurWay – Daniela Castro-Zolezzi

We hear from Daniela, our People Services Coordinator, who shares her WSP journey with us so far.

 

What do you do?
I work closely with both the Human Resources and Marketing & Communications teams to develop, manage, and deliver projects centred around our people – their engagement, development, inclusion, and wellbeing.
 
Where are you originally from?
My answer to this usually is: I don’t know! My parents are originally from Peru, in South America, and I was born in Canada, where I did most of my formal education. I was raised in Saudi Arabia for 8 years, New Zealand for 4, and lived most of my adult life in the Middle East, between Qatar and, now, UAE.

 
How long have you been with WSP and in the region?
I moved to Dubai in August of last year and started with WSP a month later. Time flies!
 
What attracted you to WSP?
In my previous jobs, I always felt that there wasn’t enough being done when it came to making the employee experience a positive one, one that boosts productivity and pays close attention to detail. As an intern in the Doha office, WSP showed unique attention to the look-feel-and-smell of the workplace, always ensuring that people are treated as internal clients, providing them with a sense of safety, appreciation, and trust, in order to optimise their ability to perform their roles at their very best. This stood out to me as a place where, not only I wanted to be, but to which I wanted to contribute, as well.
 
What has been your best accomplishment at work?
Mostly, my achievements are thanks to the collaboration between my teams, who empower me to coordinate initiatives that really make an impact on our people in a positive way. One of those initiatives has been the establishment of the Gender Balance Steering Group, a group of diverse leaders from across the business committed to addressing and tackling barriers to diversity and inclusion. I’m proud to be a part of this group’s influence on our people and the organisation.
 
What are you passionate about?
Seeing the world with people I love most. My family and I have always been quite nomadic, to say the least – we’ve moved 6 times through 4 different continents in my short lifetime, and we are all passionate for learning about new cultures and ways of living. I seek human connections with locals wherever I go and try to learn a few phrases in their language before going to really immerse myself once there.
 
What is it you do outside of work that you feel most proud of?
I play football, sometimes in mixed teams, but most often with men’s leagues, and more often still, I end up with a bruise or three. I play the guitar and sing at home, salsa, and practice yoga whenever I find the time.
 
What can you say about diversity and inclusion – at WSP, in our industry, or wider community?
I think a lot is being done – in small but meaningful pockets of influence – both in our region and globally. WSP in the Middle East is making large strides in the construction industry, and beyond; to engage clients and partners to ensure workplace design cares for the needs of diverse workforces, as well as to attract more females and nationals to a career in engineering. I think if we continue to drive actions upwards with grassroots groups in our organisations, with help from empowered leadership and forward-thinking ways of working, we will be able to make a difference one barrier at a time.
 
What are the key learnings you have taken away from being a part of a diverse workforce?
I’ve learned that each person has something unique and valuable to share and contribute to a healthy workplace – a smile, a good-morning, a snack, an idea, a life story, a compliment, advice, expertise, or time. I’ve also learned that everyone is an expert in something, and deserve appreciation regardless of where they sit in the business, or what their elevator pitch is. I’ve seen the importance of practising cultural intelligence and encourage everyone never to stop learning about others!