Name: Mandy Neale
Position: Senior Contracts Manager
Company: Downer Group
What do you enjoy the most, working in the field of construction and development?
I love how challenging it is. I’m someone who thrives when they’re under pressure, so for that reason, the industry has always kept me intrigued. I really want to help make the industry a better place, it is something that drives me and is why I don’t see myself leaving the industry for a very long time. In particular, I really enjoy the design aspect of my role, and working with the design team through the whole process. It’s always a joy to be able to drive past a project and say, ‘I helped build that!’
Where do you see your life in the next 5 years, what possibilities are ahead of you?
I’m certain that I’ll still be with Downer, working my way through the commercial side of the business. I’ve been there for six months now and they’ve really built me up. I feel very fortunate to have found a role I enjoy and where there’s plenty of room for growth. I’m working with a really amazing team, and I’ve been given an opportunity to be a part of our new commercial hub. My main drive in the next couple of years is to be leading the commercial hub team. I also believe work-life balance is important, so outside of work, I am studying nutrition because I have a passion for helping people through their health and fitness journeys.
If you could write a letter to a 13-year-old ‘you’ what would you say?
I would firmly tell her to stop procrastinating and to do things sooner! I wasted a lot of time second-guessing myself and my ability when I should have just gone out there and got things rolling earlier. I would say to believe in yourself, believe in who you are and believe in what you say you are, and just go for it. If I had gone for a few more opportunities, I probably would’ve been a bit further ahead sooner, but I always thought I wasn’t ready. I’ve always been a fierce supporter of those around me, telling them to go for things they really want and helping give them that push, but I usually wasn’t taking my own advice.
What are the 3 skills you have had to develop to get to where you are presently?
Developing my leadership skills would be the biggest one – both learning how to lead and to delegate to my team. The second is negotiation. I’m the youngest of five kids, and as always happens in big families, I had to fight hard to be heard amongst my older siblings.
So it was quite the learning curve exploring how to approach things more diplomatically, and also learning that it’s ok not to agree on everything.