“If you want to be in Architecture, you’ll need to be in it for the ‘passion’. “
I’ve always remembered this solemn advice given by my very first Architectural boss, of which still resonates with me till today. Architecture to me is a passion. It is a mindful process of integrating the creative thinking and advanced technology, using innovative approaches, to facilitate and construct buildings or any other structures. This process is in the present, with no judgement or discrimination on gender and the end products, on purpose, can improve and will transform our lives in terms of how we interact with each other and respond to the environment.
I am very grateful to say that my journey in Architecture and certainly in the Digital space has been a testimony of the statement above. In my 17 years of career, my roles and experiences have continued to evolve and only gets better like an old aged wine.
When starting out Architecture in the study year, we were told by the studio masters that having the creative intelligence and a flair in design were the most important things to learn. Be philosophical on the design of functions and forms in buildings and be considerate of the surrounding environment that will have influence and impact on people’s lives. For that Architecture is a mindful process and there should not be discriminations in the planning for all spaces to be accessible with equal opportunities. Little did I know that becoming a female Architect also needs to be a mindful process and requires interventions to be implemented in the workforce.
It will be an understatement to state that the construction industry is highly gender imbalanced. When one looks back at her working history in Architectural practices, you would want to have the confidence to say that I was employed for my professional expertise and abilities to accomplish goals rather than just a status quo. Gaining the trust and credibility in project teams does not have to be a 3 months relationship building exercise. There will certainly be unconscious bias when working on site and you would hope to have the full organizational support and awareness to help define one’s position and introduce her as the Project Architect rather being seen just as a PA taking minutes.
At Willow, I have felt that full support and emotional awareness being given. The design and construction industry is at the pivotal point of transitioning from its traditional form to embrace the technologies and transforming into the new digital form. And I feel very fortunate to be part of the generation that is experiencing this disruption. In Willow, I have been given some great opportunities to work on amazing projects, and to be part of this this transformation. Being given the full support in representing the business in Transport for NSW as one of the Digital Engineering Specialists and leading discussions with global and industry leaders have given me a new path and perspective to my career development in the Digital space. I, as a woman have also become more empowered and felt transformed throughout this experience.
The culture of the Willow is very much driven by passion, for Architecture and on Smart Digital transformations. Furthermore, it is very mindful on the process to align with my and employee’s emotion as well as with great directorial support advocating for gender equality within the team to lead and delivery projects. Because knowledge and technologies have no bias, passion and inspiration have no gender difference. Women can be as disruptive and also lead the transformation in the industry. All it takes is to have the authentic leadership within each of us, being mindful and self-aware in supporting the same values and ethics.
Jenny Tseng is a Digital Project Manager at Willow and Digital Engineering Panel Specialist at TfNSW