Words by Bek – I met Nurdiah in the same week she started work in the industry as she describes below. I saw an amazing young woman who was keen (and pretty clueless about what was ahead of her!). She had some amazing raw materials and plenty of potential, and so we have worked together to craft a beautiful and powerful women. I asked her to share her insights on what mentoring has done for her and she has created this beautiful story that makes me feel incredibly privileged to work with her and watch her development. It gives me a great deal of pleasure – in this month of April’s awe-inspiring women – to introduce to you to someone who is already, and will be, creating amazing things for her future!
Journeying with a Mentor
Journeying with a Mentor
Just shy of three years ago, I began my journey. I had no understanding of what I was about to get myself into. All I knew is that I wanted a change in my ‘job’ and that it was about time I stopped procrastinating stepped onto the path to pursue the career I dreamt, spoke and was fearful of for so long – Project Management. I was longing for a challenge and didn’t want to regret being in the same situation a year from now. Same thing, different day. I didn’t want that.
But, how do start? I had so much ‘catching up’ to do and to think that someone my age (28 at that time) would have started around 8 years ago, I felt I was already at a disadvantage – not to mention I was a female walking into a male dominated industry – Construction!
My introduction to the industry was like no other. It was September and I was given an incredible opportunity for a (then) small company who hired me as a Project Administrator/Trainee Project Manager. It was agreed that with time, exposure and training that the ‘Trainee’ on my role title would be removed. How long was this going to take? When would they know that I was ready? That I was no longer a ‘Trainee’. I guess it was the same as asking ‘How long is a piece of string?’. A few things I knew is that I wanted to be a Nationally Certified Project Manager within 5 years, have a good chunk of completed projects under my belt and most importantly, the salary to match! I was a single mother at the time and being an independent mother was a big deal to me.
During my first week on the job, I saw the General Manager of the Company let go and within months, the only other team member for my region say ‘It’s been great working with you!’ in an email while I was on holidays overseas. He gave me no indication, notice or a ‘heads up’ that I would be returning to work with no one (I repeat) no one in the office. Yet, there were three (I repeat) three unfinished projects. They were all in the delivery phase (check me out using the right terminology… ask me the same thing 3 years ago and God help ya!) I had barely been shown how to read plans let alone understand scope of works and specifications. These words and what they meant were foreign to me. Not to mention, the company I worked for had just been awarded an FSC project due to be kicked off in the upcoming months. What was I to do? Is this normal?
Then, came a Knight in Shining Armour. Well, more like a Superhero. A #GladiatHER In steel cap boots. Wearing Jeans instead of a cape. Wearing a polo shirt. Rocking purple hair. My Superhero’s name is Becky Paroz.
Over the next 2 and half years (and still to this day), Becky mentored, supported, encouraged, challenged, tested, sculpted, and threw me into the deep end. There were a lot of hard conversations (and tears on my end) that only my today self would understand it was part of her unique strategy.
Her unique style of teaching me about the industry had me gobsmacked some days, where I realised later she taught me a very valuable lesson without knowing it. She mentored me in a way that she knew so much about me; my strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes to harness qualities and skills and way of thinking I already possessed to be a Project Manager.
One of the qualities I admire about Becky, is that she taught me all of these things simply for the fact that she wanted a different experience for other women going through the same challenges in the industry. All she wanted in return was to see me believe in myself and use my true potential to influence someone like me one day and make a change in the world a person at a time. When she told me words of encouragement and eulogized me, I believed her – because it showed, and she proved it to me in how much she taught me. That’s inspirational in itself.
I have seen such a change in myself in such a small amount of time due to Becky’s mentoring. It’s not something you can describe on a pamphlet or put a price on. Taking away valuable life lessons that can impact your way of thinking, operating, negotiating, strategizing is something not a lot of people can offer you and really succeed and prove it. I have changed and grown so much in that I have self- confidence, I am able to initiate and get through difficult conversations, I am respected by men and women within my industry, able to think strategically and one of my favourites, pull off a mean poker face.
Becky has taught me that although first impressions can last, it’s what you bring to the table is what will change it. At the end of the day, it was not my hair, my make-up, my outfit nor my gender that was going to matter, it was my skills, knowledge, capabilities and confidence in myself that mattered. Like many superhero stories, this one has a happy ending. Two and a half years later, I achieved exactly those things I aspired to have/be – a Nationally Certified Practicing Project Manager, over $12 million dollars of completed Defence project under my belt AND earning the six-figure salary to match – all because I have the best mentor the industry has to offer, Becky Paroz.
If you would love to start your mentoring journey with Bek just contact her on the form below: