What is your role at MWHT and what does it involve?
Business Process and Quality Manager – working in both central and advance-plus teams assisting the business to develop the best business processes and maintaining IMS.
Can you describe a typical day?
My typical day is packed with activities to the brim. As a mum, I often have the morning responsibility to get kids ready for school, although 5 am starts to travel to the site aren’t alien to me on the days my husband is off. At work, I meet many different people from site operational staff to the top management of our company, from Construction Delivery to Supportive Functions which makes my role multidimensional. Seeing a construction site’s morning business – the heart of our operations – fills me with a great sense of responsibility for the environment we all live in.
Afternoons are all about the family – after-school activities keep us very busy but meeting together at the dinner table is crucial in our house. I am a foodie person – so fresh home cooking is a must-have! Children often help which brings us together even more.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
Women’s Day in Poland (my origin) is essentially a day for expressing your gratitude for the women in your life with flowers (typically tulips and carnations) and well-wishing. And by ‘the women in your life’ I mean all of them – from close family members to every female at the office, to shopkeepers and retail clerks and is a holiday taken fairly seriously in Poland. Since the early years of my childhood, I remember receiving flowers from my Dad, and little gifts from my school colleagues and male friends – and that’s the spirit of celebrating that my husband teaches our sons. Personally, it is an extra special day, as it’s the birthday of our only daughter Anna.
What women inspire or have inspired you in your life?
One of the women who have inspired me is Janina Ochojska – a Polish astronomer and award-winning social activist who currently serves as a member of the European Parliament. Born in Gdańsk, she contracted polio in early childhood. After receiving lifesaving surgery and medical treatment, she began volunteering for humanitarian organizations offering aid to children in Poland. Janina then founded Polish Humanitarian Action, an international NGO that helps people in crisis situations. Her foundation has provided assistance to nearly 10 million people in 44 countries, building 58 schools and 943 water systems to create better sanitary and living conditions. She is a peerless example of putting people’s lives in front of her own.
How can we work toward embracing equity in our industry?
I always say to my children: “equality doesn’t mean justice”, but while it is a difficult concept to grasp for kids, it is starting to become more visible in the professional world.
With a large percentage of the industry leaders consisting of white males, there is an increased risk of unconscious bias in decision-making, and a tendency for work cultures off and on-site to be based on a majority view and behaviour.
Decision makers must develop a diverse and inclusive strategy – simply put, if someone does not feel like they belong in their workplace, it will be impossible for them to do their best work. The social pain of exclusion can affect anyone, including women, and outweigh, or even supersede, their talent and potential. An equitable workplace, instead, can create a positive and productive environment, enabling employees to perform at their best.
As a sector with a growing skills shortage, construction companies should simply consider ways to encourage more people to pursue a career in the industry.
What action has an ally taken that has made an impact on your development (personally or professionally)?
I consider myself extremely lucky as during my career I came across incredibly supportive male managers. I remember when I came for my first interview – for the Graduate Mechanical Designer role – I already had my heart set on quality and management systems. During this interview I asked if I could speak to the Quality Manager at that time – Peter Spence – to have a chance to put myself forward as a Quality Auditor. I was freshly out of university, and despite the fact I already had two degrees in engineering – I had no genuine experience. I also remember I came for the interview for a completely different role! Peter saw potential, he noticed my passion for quality and hunger for self-development and saw my bold attitude as a positive characteristic in a male-dominated environment.
Personally – I would not be where I am without the support of my husband Karol. He has been very understanding at the time when I had to travel a lot for my work. He was willing to move his shifts and accommodate his work around my busy schedule and look after our family.
International Women’s Day recognises the strength, resilience and accomplishment of women.
This year’s theme is Embracing Equity. Equity goes beyond equal opportunities and recognises that people start from different places, so true inclusion and belonging require equitable action.
We are playing our part in celebrating some of the amazing women in our business, starting 8th March we are running a week-long awareness campaign on social media. Discover what International Women’s Day means to them and the women who have inspired them.
So give equity a huge embrace.
Image source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Fellow RSK Group company Copper Consultancy asked both men and women across male-dominated industries such as infrastructure, energy and construction to tell them what equity meant to them. How does it differ from equality and how are people embracing equity in their roles, scheme, project and business?
Be part of something special; help shape a better world
At MWH Treatment our people are at the heart of everything we do. They are critical to our success now and in the future.
We are a high-performing business, number one in the Design & Build UK Water Industry, and at the forefront of many technological advances within the digital environment, this is all due to the dedication and commitment of our people.