In celebration of International Women in Engineering Day this week we interviewed Cara Roughan of Jennings O’Donovan to tell us about her career in engineering so far.
What is your job in Jennings O’Donovan & Partners?
Contract Management Advisor – My role includes advising on all contractual matters throughout the full lifecycle of the project from the feasibility stage right through to the resolution of contractual disputes.
What interested you about a career in engineering?
The diversity of opportunities and the fact that engineers will always be in demand. Engineering is a highly respected profession; engineers contribute to a meaningful, functional and evolving society. Engineers are more essential than ever in light of the complex challenges we are facing; such as climate change, globalisation and overpopulated urban centres. I also loved the fact that Engineering is a passport profession and that the skills learned in engineering are highly transferable.
What other roles have you done in your career so far?
I studied law to complement my engineering degree which created a range of opportunities in the world of contract law and construction disputes. I have been extremely fortunate, in that, my roles have been very diverse and I have worked and lived in every continent. My most recent role prior to Jennings O’Donovan was acting as an advisor to the United Nations (UN) advising on a range of matters for their global infrastructure portfolio. I have also worked on some of the world’s largest and most complex infrastructure projects; power projects in Africa, an American football league (AFL) stadium in the USA and multiple highway, rail and water (including hydro and desalination) projects all over the world.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
The diversity and versatility of opportunities my work offers. I love the varying complexity of each project or role; no two projects, clients, sites or set of circumstances will ever be the same. Your educational training gives you the background knowledge necessary to go out into the profession and work; however, confidence in your technical and problem solving abilities are very much enhanced by hands-on practical experience. So far, I have enjoyed exposure to a range of complex projects and working in many challenging jurisdictions. What I have also found is that the harder the project, the more valuable the lessons learned. I have also met some truly brilliant, talented and inspiring individuals throughout my career to date.
Any advice for girls considering a career in engineering?
There are so many opportunities out there in the world of engineering. Work extremely hard, find your niche, do something that you love and above all else, at the early stages of your career; listen and ask questions. For me, the most career changing event was observing and learning from the best in the industry. It is also very important to find a truly great mentor who encourages you, shares information willingly and pushes you to your limits. The key to success is to bring competence, pragmatism and a solution based approach to the table. I would also say, engage with every stakeholder along the way in a meaningful way to build long lasting relationships.