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International Women’s Day

For International Women’s Day (IWD) 2023, we're profiling a Fyfe staff member who embodies this year’s IWD theme, Cracking the Code: Innovation for a gender equal future.

With 15 offices across the country, Fyfe prides itself on being a workplace that encourages diversity and how it strengthens our business.

Based on the priority theme for the United Nations 67th Commission on the Status of Women – Cracking the Code highlights the role that bold, transformative ideas, inclusive technologies, and accessible education can play in combatting discrimination and the marginalisation of women globally.

Amy Morssinkhof

Senior Environmental Engineer | Brisbane

What resonates the most with you about this year’s IWD theme, #crackingthecode?

I was fortunate to receive a scholarship as part of a government initiative to encourage women in STEM, which helped cover the costs of my bachelor's degree. There were just five women in my year level across all engineering disciplines.

Representation has increased a fair amount since then, thanks to programs such as these.

Why did you decide on this career path?

I always had a strong interest in the environment growing up, and was active in my local land care group. This introduced me to the impact on the environment (and the economy) that erosion could create.

I also enjoyed maths and design in school, so the two combined led me into environmental engineering.

What did you study?

A bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering, followed by a postgraduate degree in Environmental Management.

What do you love about your job?

That I can work across a variety of fields. For example, in construction, I might look at erosion and sediment control. For council works, I might look at improving stormwater infrastructure.

I’ve also worked on design, inspection and improvement as well as policy development.

What’s your greatest professional achievement?

Achieving Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control (CPESC) accreditation after gaining experience designing rehabilitation controls on high-risk projects and supervising construction in the field.

It’s a far cry from my first week as an engineer when I was told that the only thing worse than an engineer is a female engineer.

A typical day for you looks like…

I might review and help with infrastructure design and develop management plans. These plans range from construction environmental management plans (CEMPs) to aspect-focused plans including noise, biodiversity, soil and water, cultural heritage, and regulatory compliance.

I might also manage legislative requirements and assess risk and provide appropriate mitigation actions.

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Megan Hay

Finance Manager | Adelaide

What resonates the most with you about this year’s IWD theme, #crackingthecode?

I'm quite passionate about innovation in my role, so I think it's an exciting theme to choose. Because education really underpins a lot of what leads to inequity (particularly on a global level) you can see why the UN chose this theme.

Thinking about AI’s emergence and what impact it will have on women, who tend to be in lower-paid fields, there’s a double-edged sword. We have innovation and advancement on one hand, and the potential for it to disrupt many fields and the women working in them on the other.

Why did you decide on this career path?

I did well at school and initially didn't really know what I wanted to do. But I had an idea that I wanted to do something in business. My Dad said, ‘oh, why don't you go and do commerce’. I started out not really knowing what commerce was. But after a bit of real life work experience during uni, I realised that I liked accounting and working with numbers.

What did you study?

Commerce with a major in accounting, and later I went on to become a chartered accountant.

You’re a Fyfe shareholder, what message do you have for young women in STEM careers?

Women can be shareholders. Put your hand up and ask! I think one of the problems is that women don't ask for promotions or pay rises or to become shareholders. And it’s often just assumed that we're not interested.

What’s a highlight of your professional career?

In 2020, I implemented a new financial system company-wide. It was a challenge to roll this out during the pandemic, but worth the effort.

It led to a lot of positive outcomes across the finance area, purchasing in particular. Automation of some processes has also meant better accuracy and efficiency for my team.

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Sasha Guidolin

Graduate Mechanical Engineer | Adelaide

What resonates the most with you about this year’s IWD theme, #crackingthecode?

I'm an engineer, so I've been working with technology for years, both in my degree and in this job. Pretty much everything that I do wouldn't be possible without all the modelling software and various analysis tools that we use.

Having access to that kind of technology has helped me a lot, even going back to my high-school days, I’ve always had access to technology at my fingertips.

Why did you decide on this career path?

Growing up, I was always interested in building things and finding out how things worked. And that led to STEM subjects like physics and maths at school.

That curiosity and interest in understanding how things work lend themselves naturally to engineering.

You’re currently in a short-term fly-in and fly-out secondment, what do you love about your job?

This on-site role has been a great opportunity for me to see the work first-hand on the ground, I value the balance of going and working really hard for two weeks and feeling super productive while I'm there, and then getting to come back and having two weeks to kind of look after myself.

The on-site days are long, but it does feel like you're getting a lot of work done. It’s exciting, it’s opened my eyes to what those lines on paper or on a computer really mean.

What’s your greatest professional achievement?

I was the lead mechanical engineer on a big field development project in the South-Central region. It was about 15 wells and a series of gathering lines. It was out of my comfort zone and gave me great exposure to reviewing designs with stakeholders and the safety management process.

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Eliza Persson

Civil Engineer | Melbourne

What resonates the most with you about this year’s IWD theme, #crackingthecode?

For me, it’s about getting young women and girls into engineering, which isn't the most well-trodden path for women. I think the only reason I got into engineering was because a teacher suggested it. I didn't even consider it as something that I would or could do!

We need to create really clear pathways to improve our diversity and the number of women in this industry, which is just far too low.

There needs to be a culture shift where we welcome and support women in this industry. I believe that changing hiring practices and improving retention strategies are equally important.

What’s the hardest culture challenge you’ve faced working in engineering?

The industry is very male-centric, so it would be good to sometimes shift the focus. Perhaps it’s a matter of pushing the pendulum quite far the other way in order to recenter.

As an example, these kinds of IWD conversations are not always the norm in this industry, so it’s refreshing to be at Fyfe with an inclusive culture and lots of female representation across many disciplines.

What did you study?

I studied civil and structural engineering, and business management. I quite liked maths, problem solving, and being challenged. So, I aligned my studies with my strengths and likes.

What do you love about your job?

Probably being able to flick between tasks and projects, and having that mix of big-scale jobs, small scale jobs, exposure to different clients and types of projects.

Just the diversity of it all, really. We get to undertake stormwater drainage design for large subdivisions one week and turn our hands to complex inner-city brownfield sites the following week. And I get to work with an efficient and lovely team.

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