We're pleased to announce the appointment of Amanda Robinson as a Director, our first female appointment to the Board of Marshall Day.
Amanda is based at our Melbourne office and is a professionally qualified mechanical engineer who has specialised in acoustics since graduating with honours from Adelaide University in 1996. She began working at Marshall Day Acoustics in 2005 and has a keen interest in classroom acoustics and the educational benefits of good acoustic environments.
To mark this occasion we asked Amanda a series of Q&A questions that we'd like to share:
What attracted you towards a career in acoustics?
I have two people to thank - Dr Peter Swift and Professor Colin Hansen are the reason I entered acoustics. They provided a practical application to the physics. I am still finding after almost 20 years as a consultant that every job has a twist, or something different to the last, and that keeps it real.
What have the highlights and challenges been during your time at Marshall Day?
One of the highlights for me is that Marshall Day treats people as an individual, not a number. We are very much a people orientated company. I think our biggest challenges are yet to come, as the company enters a new era with the founding partners approaching retirement. It's a little daunting.
What advice can you offer to women who want a career in engineering?
Don't set yourself apart because you are female. You are every bit as good (if not better) than your male counterpart. Women think and approach problems differently, and that is a good thing in the traditionally male dominated field of engineering.
Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
Not sure about female leaders, but I have a lot of strong female role models in my family, which helps. The Robinson girls are all accomplished in their relative fields, and I think we get a lot of that from my paternal grandmother, who was a very smart and assertive person.
What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
Pay inequality. Women are generally not as prepared to ask the question of their employers, and as a result, are often paid less for doing more.
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
Like most people, I struggle! Particularly working part time and being a mother to a 2 year old. The most important thing for me is to keep it in perspective, and if I find myself out of control (as I so often do) to put my hand up for help. The construction industry has changed dramatically over the last 20 years, and not all for the better in my opinion. I think that the issue of mental health in the construction industry is something that needs to be countered in the next decade, or we will see ourselves burnt out. This applies to all trades, not just engineers.
What is the most important lesson you've learned in your career to date?
Sleep on it. I make some of my best decisions over the first morning coffee after having let my subconscious do the work. I find that when I make snap decisions it doesn't always turn out so well.
And don't be afraid to ask. Nine times out of ten, the other people in the room are thinking the same question, so don't hold back if you don't know something.