Today is International Women in Engineering Day and this year’s theme is 'Inventors and Innovators', celebrating the amazing work that women engineers around the world are doing to support lives and livelihoods every day.
To celebrate International Women in Engineering Day, we spoke to Paulina Dombriz, Deputy Delivery Manager at Tideway, to learn about her journey as an engineer and the challenges that she faced. Paulina supports the Delivery Manager and has overall responsibility for delivery of the West area but with a special focus on the management of the delivery of the MEICA and Worksite testing works.
What made you want to become an engineer?
Probably not a single reason, I wanted to see things built and contribute to a better environment. I was a very good student, I enjoyed maths and Physics, amongst the different Engineering degrees, Civil engineering was the one I was finding more exciting. My second option was Mining engineering. Something that played in my favour was that I had two Civil Engineer uncles with very successful careers, so I imagine that unconsciously they were my referents. Once I made my decision to become an engineer I did not listen to the naysayers, the ones that were just questioning if as a woman I should not make a different degree and go to Business, Pharmacy or Biology.
What challenges do/did you face as an engineer?
An engineer's job is to solve problems, and as soon as you've resolved it, a new one comes up. The challenge comes when you have to find the right technical solution that fits with a limited budget, time, available resources and client expectations. Looking back in my career, my biggest challenge was when I rapidly moved from a technical role to a management role. One day I was a Highways engineer with very little management responsibilities and the day after I was the Head of Linear Infrastructures Department. No transition, no previous experience, no training. That move to a Management and Leadership role was hard but rewarding at the same time, I learned a lot.
What advice would you give to women who are thinking about becoming engineers?
It does not matter what gender you are, when you choose what you want to become. Do not listen to the naysayers, usually they do not know what they are talking about. There is not guarantee that you’ll be right in your decisions, but this is the same for any decision you make in your life. Work hard, keep learning, be humble, do not put any barriers to yourself and follow your dream.