This Wednesday, we interviewed Leanna, construction senior site manager BSc (hons) MSc MCIOB
Hi Leanna, thanks for contributing your voice to this project! Can you tell me a little about what you do?
I originally wanted to be an architect, and started my BSc degree at the University of Westminster however I shortly realised it wasn’t for me. After discussions with the Built Environment department, I was inspired to change to the Construction Management undergraduate course and haven’t looked back!
Once I started my CM degree, I felt I need to get my boots on and get out on site. I found a summer work placement with HBG (now BAM), and learnt so much that summer that I was keen to keep in contact.
I was able to stay working with HBG whilst I completed my studies and it was incredibly beneficial to be able to have real life experience so early on; with a great support network around me. I am therefore strongly supported of those who choose to study and work at the same time, eg apprenticeships or part time studying, as I think there is nothing quite like being on site.
One of the key skills working in construction is having the ability to communicate to a wide variety of people, in a number of different ways; face-to-face, through models/drawings, email, phone, and now via virtual calls – we are all learning all the time, and every day is different.
I have always been interested in buildings and management; I used to sketch out layouts of schools, hospitals and the like in my notebooks growing up.
What keeps you motivated on more difficult days?
I have always been a list maker – so crossing things off my list helps my motivation, even if it’s the simplest of task (or I’ve just completed it!).
My colleagues help motivate me too, there is always someone you can go to who will help give you a boost if needed or help with a tricky task.
Do you have an ideal project that you’d like to work on?
I would love to be involved in an entertainment type project, one that I can visit for pleasure; such as theme park, stadium or zoo. I have been involved in quite a range of projects already; mixed development, commercial, retail, residential, a live railway station, schools and a university – and wouldn’t mind adding another string to my bow!
What important skills do you think you’ve learned whilst working this job?
The list of skills is extensive – but the key ones are team working, communication, planning/organisational skills and technical knowledge.
With digital construction, I am particularly interested in how technologies can help aid the process, by making projects leaner and more efficient, reducing hazards and improving quality.
Is there anything you would like to say to other women who are just entering the industry?
Not just for women, but for all, I would say be open to learning every day and gaining knowledge from a range of sources, people and projects.
Have you got any inspirational women you would like to give a shout out to?
Roma Agrawal has been a motivational structural engineer who worked on the Shard, as well as a speaker, presenter and author; so she deserves a shout out.
Where do you see your career going?
I would be open to working more with preconstruction/tendering. I have interests in change management, lean construction and quality control; new or innovative ways of working or methods; as well as being involved in steering/working groups within the construction industry.
I would like to work towards my Fellowship of the CIOB, as I have been a Chartered Construction Manager since 2011, so this is a natural step.
We like to end with a desert island round! Three tracks, a book and a luxury: what would you take to a desert island?
Fast Car by Tracy Chapman
Don’t stop me now by Queen
Happy by Pharrell Williams
I would like a book that could help me publish my own book, with plenty of spare blank pages at the back; that sure would give me an achievement, other than the achievement of surviving…hopefully a pen is attached to the book…
My kayak with accessories! I play canoe polo, and although I wouldn’t be able to play on my own, once I was bored of my own company, it would be my means of escape!
This was Leanna, who can be found on Twitter at hileaf.
This interview was for our #WiCW series – a compilation of articles from inspirational women in the Construction and Trades industries.