How did you get to where you are now? Did you always know what you wanted to do?
I came via a fairly conventional route. I did Business Studies, French and Maths A level and then went onto study Construction Management at the University of West of England. I was always interested in sciences / more technical subjects and when I was researching for university, this subject really appealed to me.
After university, I worked for several years as a site manager, progressing to project manager, contracts manager, account director and then onto head of operations role. This was across several different organisations and sectors including hotels, airports, supermarket. I have settled into commercial office fit outs and have spent the majority of my career working in this market. In my late 20s I did an MBA in Construction and Real Estate distant learning via Reading University.
What does your Senior Role actually involve?
Well – slightly different things in different businesses. Currently I am right hand man to the managing director and am responsible for all of the company’s construction activities including health and safety, site management resources, performance of our sites – in all respects – financial and quality. I have an overview role of all areas of the business – day to day, this means lots of phone calls, meetings, site visits and emails!
What is it like being a woman in a Senior position and how does it feel? Especially as overall, the Construction Industry is still male dominated in senior/boardroom positions…
Honestly after this amount of time, I don’t even notice being the only woman in most scenarios. When I started out in the 90s, women were even more few and far between than they are now and I went for many, many years without even speaking to another female in the workplace as there weren’t any on site, maybe the odd visiting architect! The workplace is much more diverse now which is good to see. I think I would find working in an all-female environment much more daunting these days!
Focus on mastering your current role and being the best, look at what additional tasks you can take on that may be typically assigned to a more senior position.”
My name is Tanya Godwin, I am 47 years old and have worked for Morgan Lovell as operations director for 3 years.
Overall, I've been working in the industry for 27 years now. I have never actively targeted being promoted to this position. It just kind of happened over time.
Challenges are inevitable. As someone in your role, how do you deal with challenges (personal and work role related)?
Calmly and with a sense of perspective. There is little in life that is worth worrying about or losing sleep over. Most issues boil down to time or money, so if you think of it like this and keep a clear conscience at the same time by doing what is morally right, most challenges come and go quickly. I would say on a personal level juggling 3 children as a single parent has presented other difficulties. I have felt guilty as a mother in the past. Now I say don’t make unnecessary rules for yourself. If you don’t have time to stick someone in the bath or the dinner looks a bit ropey or unhealthy, don’t waste time thinking about it. The kids don’t care and I’m glad that my girls are pretty self-sufficient and resilient as a result of my working patterns. I do still feel guilty though, but I think that is generally a mother’s curse!
How do you stay motivated to keep going everyday and push past the challenges of your role?
My lists! I have a book for personal and a book for work. I write everything down and work through it. It doesn’t matter how challenging the problem is, it can be broken down into manageable components that will get you to the end point. You need to have a vision of what that end point looks like though. I would also say, talk through problems with the relevant people, it will give you a new perspective on the issue – don’t take one person’s statement as gospel – there is always another angle / side to the story.
Despite any challenges you may face, what’s the best thing you like about your role?
I love helping people to develop in their role and helping them to get where they want to be.
What advice would you give a young woman aspiring to progress to senior level in the industry?
Focus on mastering your current role and being the best, look at what additional tasks you can take on that may be typically assigned to a more senior position. Don’t wait to be asked or formally promoted, just be proactive. If you have a supportive manager, they won’t mind and should be grateful for the help.