My first challenge
When I was younger, I was told to find a stereotypical ‘female-job’; a receptionist, a hairdresser, or a housewife. People around me measured my ability on my gender alone and chose a path for me based on it. Breaking the mould began by sitting in the mud in my pink dresses, this quickly turned into more when someone saw a spark in me that I couldn’t see myself.
The turning point
I wasn’t particularly passionate about school and the opportunities available to me were few and far between compared to my male counterparts; I joined cooking classes while they took economics.
“You’re never going to amount to anything”
were the words I heard from countless peers and career advisers; little did I know, they would also be the words that would spur me on over the next 25 years.
At 16 I accepted a trainee electronics technician role over a hairdresser role, much to my families dismay. I was adamant that typical female spaces weren’t where I belonged. The technician role wasn’t right for me, but the time and place was to pursue my interest in engineering. My boss believed in me and my abilities to become an engineer and gave me the power to begin believing in myself. It was a pivotal moment that led to successful work experience, placements, studying and training, to embark on my journey to become an engineer.
As the only girl on my university course, being a female in a male dominated space was a common trend from early on, and the challenges facing me as I sought after my dream career only heightened.
In 2006, I decided to choose my own path, taking the leap to leave my home in Scotland to start my life over as an ICSS/Instruments Engineer in Norway. In the face of overdue promotions, glass ceilings and underminements from colleagues, I thrived, building up a repertoire of achievements and experience that saw me lead projects in Paris, The Netherlands, China and more.
Sadly, my achievements weren’t always celebrated by those close to me, leading me to choose between my career and my marriage, which had turned mentally and physically abusive as a result of my success. It took me years to not only overcome this trauma, but to realise that you should never let anyone dull your spark.
It was these hardships that made me the person I am today; a hard-working, strong-minded and courageous female engineer currently working in one of the top male-lead engineering companies in Qatar. But getting there wasn’t plain sailing, which is why I’m passionate about telling my story and helping others on their journey to success.
“You will naturally get with the things that rejected you when you stop using that rejection to reject yourself."
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”
"The path to success is to take massive, determined action."