Now a senior water engineer, Sarah was inspired to take up a position with the firm after winning the PPK scholarship whist studying at The University of Adelaide. This scholarship gave her a chance to complete work experience at the firm and see the culture of the business first hand.
“I also had a family connection to WSP,” says Sarah. “My father used to work for WSP and he valued working for an organisation that valued its people. It wasn’t until he left that I joined the business and appreciated that the culture would suit me and help me to develop as an engineer. Fast forward to now, and there have been so many reasons why I’ve loved it here. For one, the variety of work is dynamic and rewarding, and secondly there are always opportunities available to develop for those who want them. I think our biggest selling point is still our culture and our people; it’s what makes WSP a great place to work.
“The culture is open, honest and caring. We have a flexible workplace and we believe in our people. The minimal turnover of staff shows that we walk the talk.”
Looking ahead, Sarah is determined to develop her design management skills on a bigger scale. “I’ve always enjoyed working in the Adelaide water team,” she adds. “One of my goals is to lead teams on bigger projects and share the many lessons I’ve learnt along the way. I believe that being open and transparent in everything that we do is important to getting the best out of ourselves and delivering for our clients.”
A career that has spanned both design management and commercial leadership roles over the past 12 years, Sarah believes her greatest achievement is being able to balance work and family.
“During my time at WSP, I have taken maternity leave twice, and am currently making the most of our flexible working arrangements. I work from the office and from home and this means I get to spend time with my young family.”
Sarah acknowledges that it can be challenging to juggle the demands of a family and a career, however the key is to prioritise and communicate. “Certainly, having greater flexibility in the workplace benefits both men and women. Apart from helping us create more balanced workforce, it also boosts the quality of project outcomes. Working part time can be challenging but I always make sure that I communicate with the people that I work with where I am on which days and the hours that I am available. I’m always willing to be flexible because I’m driven to deliver outstanding results for our clients and team.”
Believing in the importance of conversations around gender diversity, Sarah is part of the office diversity committee and has set up a lunch time group of part time mothers to share their stories and generally act as positive influences for one another.
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