While not grappling with numbers in Tideway's Treasury team, Svetlana Purisova tackles opponents on the Judo mat – but still finds time to pursue her new passion, a career in engineering.
Treasury Manager Svetlana is no stranger to breaking through barriers, having arrived in London straight from university in Latvia more than a decade ago.
Svetlana had just £200 in her pocket and was unsure of what the future held but, naturally optimistic and instinctive in disposition, she looked forward to finding out.
As it turned out, it would prove to be the first step towards a successful career in the finance sector in London and a journey that would ultimately land her at Tideway.
“I remember being very excited to join the construction sector," Svetlana says “and the fact that it was a project I was already somewhat familiar with – given my passion for engineering – I was definitely looking forward to being able to work with engineers.”
Not overthinking things has always been Svetlana’s mantra. Having been raised in a country known for openly uplifting and celebrating women, she never felt societal pressure to conform.
It was specifically through the sport of Judo that Svetlana was taught that while she might sometimes be the only girl participating, that certainly didn’t mean she didn’t belong.
“I started doing Judo when I was a teenager back in Latvia, and I started later than most. I was the only girl in my group, and I had no choice but to compete against the boys and I loved it,” she remembers.
“When I arrived in England I was worried I would have to start my belts again,” Svetlana adds, “but thankfully I didn’t – and I was able to compete over here and even ended up being ranked 11th nationally.”
As well as tackling on the mat outside the curriculum, Svetlana was particularly adept at tackling mathematics within it. She graduated in Business Management, before beginning a career as an accountant in the UK – however, all the while, her real passion remained engineering.
From her first day with Tideway, Svetlana was struck by how unique the working culture was and that she felt backed to succeed from the beginning.
“I remember immediately,” she says, “that it was very different from other companies I had worked for – very relaxed and friendly and the treasury team is an all-female team.”
“My boss Ines Faden is a role model who achieved her a lot in her career and I have learnt a lot from her drive. I feel very supported as she took me from accounting to treasury despite the limited experience I had.”
Svetlana’s move to Tideway has proven to be a catalyst for a complete career change. Having arrived as a financial analyst, it appears she’ll be leaving as a qualified engineer.
With leadership continually encouraging Svetlana’s progression and under the influence of the engineers that inspired her regularly in the job, Svetlana decided to embark upon a new chapter of her career.
“I’m now 18 months away from finishing my Bachelor’s degree in engineering, and I’m so lucky to be able to get the practical experience with the Tideway engineers.”
Having achieved so much in such a short space of time, and on the verge of doing the job she always dreamed of, Svetlana now wants to pass on a message to any young women thinking about a career in the construction industry.
“Don’t overthink it, it’s the greatest decision I ever made. Just go for it.”
Discover more about Tideway's celebration of Women in Engineering day here: