International Women’s Day 2019
Our people, their voices.
I’m Caroline Mayes, I’m a Director at Stride Treglown.
What are your passions?I’ve always been somebody that does lots of different things - so variety in life is really important to me. I’m from a musical family so I sing in a choir and there’s always been quite a lot of music in my life. I used to run a brownie pack and there’s now a lot more football in my life than there ever used to be. I’ve got two boys who are always out doing various sports.
Who or what inspires you?This is quite a difficult question for me but I think probably the people around me have always inspired me, so whether it was family when I was younger, my own young family now, or the people that I work with, or the people I was at university with. I think that I do bounce off people quite a lot. I’m fairly competitive but I like to make sure that I’m working in a fairly harmonious team and a harmonious setting and work towards helping that. It doesn’t always happen at home obviously.
How did you get to this point in your life?So I guess I’ve had quite a linear progression I suppose. From school I did A levels and then went to university to do architecture. I chose architecture because it seemed to be a balance of arts and science. When I first did my UCAS form, there were four different courses on it and the careers teacher gave it back to me and said don’t be so ridiculous, they won’t take you seriously, go and decide what you want to do. So I went to university and I was lucky in that the course really suited me. That variety element - bringing lots of different things together has been – was really good and has been really good. I was at Bath which is a thin-sandwich course, so you get some periods out at work. I worked for a one man, sorry, one woman practice in my final year there. Had a year out at a large corporate practice and came to Stride Treglown straight out of my part two. I had a friend working here and I’d heard some good things and I’ve been here ever since really. It has been a big part of my life and I’ve now been here 16 years which is way longer than I ever thought I would be here.
What are your experiences working here?My kids are now nine and twelve - so they’re getting bigger – but, inevitably as the woman, a big part of my life and my work does have to work around them. I would say that I put in my fair share of blood, sweat and tears in this place over the years but what I’ve got back has been respect and the ability to flex things so that I can still do my job around me - which is really important. And now that I’m a director, I feel like I have responsibility to make sure that that happens to everybody else certainly. One day coming in and my colleague sauntered in and he was just like “Oh you seem to be in a bit of a tizz this morning”. I said, “You know, the kids have not had breakfast…I feel like I’ve run a marathon to get here.” And he just looked at me like he had no comprehension of what I’d had to do. So I really remember that day as a sort of a point in time. But generally, kids are older, all a lot calmer in the mornings now. So I walk to work because it’s important that I’m able to control when I arrive and leave. We have a car sharing policy because our parking is limiting, but that doesn’t really work for me because I’m always in and out at odd times of the day.
Talk me through your day?I’m involved in projects but I oversee projects and I run a studio so there’s a lot of talking to people, meeting people, in and out in terms of internal meetings, client meetings, project meetings which might not be local so there’s a fair amount of travelling in what I do now. I work flexible hours so I do two long days a week and two short days a week when I leave at just before 3 o’clock to pick up my youngest from school. I officially don’t work on a Friday, although I quite often do work on a Friday now. It’s not unusual to do a 15 hour day. I don’t like to do them very often but they do happen and when they happen, I have to flexible enough to do that as well.
What are your aspirations?In some ways I’ve done what I wanted to do. You know I got married, I’ve had kids, I’ve reached what some might say the top of the company. I’m at a period of my life probably where I’m actually trying to work out what that looks like again - and I have to say, to maintain some flexible element to my work is a key driver moving forward for me because actually there is so much going on in home life. You know if I had to do 9 to 5.30 every day and there was no flexibility in that then I wouldn’t still be here. So aspirations are probably to travel a bit more, spend as much time as possible with the kids whilst they’re still young enough to want to spend time with me - which now seems not far around the corner. I suppose in terms of work, I aspire to help build the company into somewhere that people want to work. I think that’s really important to me. People are a key motivation personally and it is really important that women around the company feel like they know that there is a path for them here which, some people don’t always think. Any working mother will tell you it’s the being everything to everybody; I’ve got to be 100% Mum at home, 100% director at work. But sometimes that is a strain. Some weeks it works, some weeks it doesn’t.
What's your foundation for support?My husband. I’m only able to be as committed to work because he’s been able to be flexible and I think we do make a good partnership. He does all the cooking at home for example. Everyone always is shocked when I say that but I don’t like cooking, he does. And actually that works well for us. So being in a mutual respecting partnership, whether it’s work or at home, is really important for me and does sort of ground me.
If I had to do 9 to 5.30 every day…I wouldn’t still be here
Senior Associate Technologist
I come from a family of grafters
I'm Seya Tansill, I’m a Senior Associate Technologist working for Stride Treglown.
What are your passions?I love how energy moves. I love how we can harness that, or not, to create comfortable and workable living spaces for people in society.
How did you get to this point in your life?So, I grew up on a building site - I helped build my Mum and Dad’s house. I then trained as a technologist – them telling me that I shouldn’t be an architect. And my career has just taken off from there. I feel that I’m extremely lucky to have been exposed to so much of the industry from very early on; so I understand building and the concept of building much more. I’ve worked like a Trojan. I have probably put in double the amount of hours as everybody else, but that’s because I absolutely love what I do and I love doing it right. So if something’s not done correctly, I will go back and make sure it has been. And through that it’s also training of others as I go along. That’s who I am, that’s how I’ve been brought up. I come from a family of grafters – it’s just how I am. I came in as a junior technician and then diverged into sustainability because I had an interest and background in that. I’m now looking at how to streamline and make efficiencies in our working practices – so that’s looking at manufactured design and how we can basically make the industry better for the future; limit our waste, better health and safety and those sort of key drivers.
Talk me through your day?To talk you through my day, I work within the Senior or Later Living team. A large part of my day is overseeing the team to make sure all the technical delivery is correct. But it’s a growing, emerging sector so I’m looking at how we can grow our client piece and our experience within the team.
What are your aspirations?I want Later Living and elderly housing to be at the heart of every masterplan and every larger site design across the country. I think that without that we’re segregating a huge demographic of our society who have a huge amount of experience and a wealth of knowledge to feed back into our society. Just because they’re retired doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have the right to input and integrate into our society.
What pressures do you face?I have huge time pressures. I’m pulled between site delivery – so that’s people on site with queries – and team pressures – so that’s resourcing the team and making sure everyone’s happy, doing what they want to do and people are progressing in the right direction. I go out and do a lot of B2B work so that is speaking with clients and existing sector clients so we can draw experience and cross-pollinate our delivery offer and create a collaborative working practice.
What's your foundation for support?Both of my parents were architects; they understand the pressures that we’re all under. Actually they never ask me about it, but I know they understand. They live in the countryside so that’s my escape really, out of the city.
I am Aditi Kumar. I am a Building Surveyor at Stride Treglown.
What are your passions/interests?So I have a big passion for the construction industry - that’s obviously why I’m a building surveyor. It took me a bit of time to get round to coming to this decision to become a building surveyor. My passions outside of work are diving, music, dance, culture.
Who or what inspires you?I love working in a team really. I like the energy I get from other people, working together to get a solution. So I guess in any new kind of situation whether it's music or diving or even at work, you always have to communicate and make sure you know that you’re working as a team to come to a feasible and great solution.
How did you get to this point in your life?I wanted to do something in construction. I thought I’d go down the engineering route but when I got closer to uni, I decided architecture was the way to go. So I did uni in Auckland in New Zealand. I did my master's in Architecture but then half way through I decided it wasn’t really something that I wanted to pursue. I wanted to get into something slightly different but I wasn’t sure what that was. So I started a Planning degree, finished that and then I found building surveying really as part of the graduate programme. Then ever since I’ve just absolutely loved it really. I like being on site, I like project management, I like you know just dealing with people so it’s basically where I’ve ended up.
What are your experiences working here?This specific office I think is really good because it’s a very family environment. In here everyone’s always chatting to each other regardless if you work in a project team or not. You always feel really comfortable asking people questions and they’ll give you an answer. It’s great really.
Talk me through your day?I normally have meetings on site, so typically with contractors to make sure they are building to our specification. Normally I’m on site maybe more than half the day, whether it be managing a project or actually doing a building survey. Typically, when I walk into a construction meeting, nine out of ten times, I’m probably the only female in the room. It sometimes is harder to get people to get on board with ideas.
What are your aspirations?I want to be leading a team I guess, helping people work through their graduate experience and get more involved with building surveying as a profession, not really just for women but you know as a general kind of profession. I would like to get into a leadership role really and help people figure out what they wanna do, just like I have.
What pressures do you face?Time - I think that’s a big thing for everyone. There’s not enough time in the day to get everything that you need done really. So that’s a big pressure, in prioritising the workload and making sure you have that balance between work and home life. And making sure you’re actually enjoying both aspects.
What's your foundation for support?There’s my husband, my parents, my brother. They all give me some form of support. My family, well my parents and my brother, they’re all away in New Zealand so every now and then it’s just a quick phone call just to have a chat to see what they’re up to and I think that’s really important.
I like the energy I get from other people, working together to get a solution
Senior Associate Technologist
I compare what I do to Wonder Woman sometimes
Hi I’m Karyn, I’m a Senior Associate Chartered Architectural Technologist for Stride Treglown.
What are your passions?I think generally it’s a passion for doing things well and doing things right. I’ve always been focused on culture and enjoying where I work, so you end up with a good end product but you also enjoy the journey to delivering that end product. And then obviously family are your general motivation behind it.
What inspires you?What inspires me to do what I do is delivering good end products for happy clients at the end of a long period of time - everyone’s grateful for the efforts that you’ve made.
How did you get to this point in your life?Hard work, commitment. I’ve started relatively at the bottom and through hard work and determination I’ve managed to get to a place where now I can enjoy a bit of outside interest aside from my job. So, I’m going to look at investing back in people, investing time in their careers and giving them some support as people have done for me. Putting some commitment back into the company that’s supported me for 20 odd years.
What are your experiences working here?For me, having started doing sort of menial tasks more because of my role than my gender, it comes very naturally to me to offer you a cup of tea, this is a place I feel very comfortable in. It’s like welcoming you to my home. I would make you a cup of tea if you came to my home and I would here too. I don’t think it is gender specific to do that. I think it’s more of our culture in Cardiff that we would welcome you in that way. Supportive is the word I would use to describe Stride Treglown. They’ve been incredibly supportive. I started just typing letters and answering the phone with an architectural degree not really knowing what to do with it. And now I’ve managed to sort of furrow a really strong path towards being in a place where I look back and I’m quite proud of what I’ve achieved. I would say definitely Stride Treglown have been incredibly supportive through that.
Talk me through your day?You come in with a list of ten things that you want to tackle and then at the end of the day you may not have even done one of those things. No two days are the same. You have one phone call in the morning and it can throw out three days’ worth of work. I think you always get there in the end if you’re driven, you can’t lose that focus. I rarely leave on time. I’m always sort of trying to catch up with myself later on in the day but that’s because you have to put that time aside for things that you want to do as well as your day to day job.
What pressures do you face?Getting where I want to be now has taken a long journey but you feel the rewards at the end. I compare what I do to Wonder Woman sometimes. To mothers that are coming out of maternity leave, I say, “Some days you feel like you’re doing everything really well and other days you’re just not doing anything well”. You do feel sometimes that you’re not doing everything well, that you’re just about keeping on top of everything just about. But then other days you feel like a rock star because you have got the kids off to school, you have solved a difficult problem at work and you’ve sorted it and everybody’s happy. And you come back and the kids are happy and you do feel that sense of achievement that you’ve managed to do a good balance of home life and work life. But some days you don’t and I think you just have to settle with it. You can’t be every person to everyone out there, you have to sometimes just make some time for yourself and give yourself a bit of credit. But it’s quite difficult at times.
What's your foundation for support?I hear a lot of men in cars after meetings talking about how supportive their wives are and I have to say that I have that in my husband at home. He works for himself but he is incredibly flexible which allows me to work the hours I do. And it allows me to drop something that he may want to do so that I can go to the London office. Or that I’m going to take a day out and do this thing…is that okay? So without him I don’t think I could have a successful family life and work life.
I’m Lauren Cook and I’m a Town Planner.
What are your passions?From a work perspective, I think my passion really lies in becoming involved in a project, any type of project really, but seeing it through from beginning to end. I like to be involved in the detail and the process, working with a wide range of people including members of the public and through public consultation exercises and getting to that point where you see a finished building or place on site. Outside of work, my primary passions and interests probably revolve around my family and being able to spend as much time as possible with my daughter and my partner; getting outside, getting out in the open space, going for a nice walk in the woods or something like that. It’s just a bit of mindfulness really, to escape work and day to day life.
Who or what inspires you?Because I think you’re kind of inspired almost by different things on a day to day basis, I wouldn’t say there was a particular individual who inspires me. It’s whatever moment you’re in - you can be inspired by the things that influence you within that and if it’s work, it might be a particular colleague who’s really enthusiastic about a project and that helps to bring you on board and increases your enthusiasm. In my personal life it might be something funny that my daughter says and that can be sort of inspirational for you.
How did you get to this point in your life?Here right now in terms of my career, I think that it’s come through a series of different experiences and they have kind of shaped me, as an individual and as a planner, to understand what actually I really want out of my career. I think having started my career at Stride Treglown and moving away for a little while and then coming back, that’s really shown me what’s most important within my career and how I’ve come to be.
What are your experiences working here?I think it’s such a friendly environment where you would never feel judged particularly or worried if you had an issue. It’s very open and you know that any issue be it work related or personal, you know who’s available to speak to - and that doesn’t mean necessarily your line manager but knowing that there’s a whole host of individuals that you could call upon to help you in any way.
Talk me through your day?I spend probably the majority of my time at my desk. I might have a couple of meetings throughout the day. They tend to be quite informal with colleagues because most of my projects are working with architects within the organisation as opposed to external architects. So you might have the case of sitting down with them, talking through a particular issue or kick starting a new project or finalising some detail before a planning application goes in. There’s quite a lot of admin tasks involved day to day and quite a lot of report and email writing.
What are your aspirations?I think I aspire to be more organised. From a work perspective, I just want to continue to grow in my current role. I think that I’ve got a lot to offer our team and it’s something that I just try to embrace daily and just be the best that I can be in what I’m doing.
What pressures do you face?Work-life balance is a continual pressure. And being a Mum and a part-time employee with a desire to work on really interesting projects which command a lot of your time - so having to manage that on your days off is probably the biggest pressure that I face.
What's your foundation for support?Definitely my partner. At the end of the day, he’s the person that listens to what I’ve got to say and tells me to set it aside until the next day. So without him, I don’t think I would be able to function on a day to day basis in the way that I do.
Associate Town Planner
You’re inspired by different things on a day to day basis… it might be something funny my daughter says