Guest Blog by Nurdiah K

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.

Connect with Nurdiah Via Linkedin


If you would love to start your mentoring journey with Bek just contact her on the form below:

Empowering guest Blogger Mentoring

Strength to Strength

Jodie Lane – Author

The best part about having two female protagonists is I get to write two strong, but very different, women. I can explore what it means to be a strong woman in different settings, without stereotyping what it means to be strong.

Case in point: my main character, Gwyn, is nineteen when we first meet her—bit of a dreamer, has a romantic streak. Yet when she is placed under extremely difficult circumstances—namely, is flung back in time to a violent siege—she not only survives; she escapes, forges friendships and ultimately saves some of the people she cares about. Yet she hasn’t lost her romantic side—she is confronted by uncomfortable realities and emotions, doesn’t always behave in a way she might be proud of, is frustrated and often frightened, yet still struggles on in an effort to do what is right.

Michelle on the other hand, fulfils the trope of bad-ass action hero; kicking butts and taking names. Adaptable, ruthless and determined, she perseveres through intense physical discomfort in order to do her duty. She is extremely capable and confident, so she fears little, knowing she will be able to fight her way out of trouble.

These two characters clash. It’s easy to call Michelle the strong one, but when you consider how Gwyn not only survives, but succeeds, without any of the physical and psychological training Michelle has, you realise how, despite her flaws, Gwyn has a strength of character that continues to grow despite the hardships thrown at it. Michelle’s personality risks hardening to breaking point, however, once her support systems are taken away, and it’s only through some painful self-reflection that she admits that Gwyn’s coping mechanisms are simply different, not weaker.

Right now I am part way through the last book in this five book time-travel series. I’ve had the opportunity to showcase each of my protagonists’ strengths and weaknesses—alone and together—and while they have formed a working partnership, their respect for each other doesn’t mean they are now best friends. Strong women don’t have to be the same. They don’t have to even be friends and have the same interests.

I am surrounded by strong women in my life, some of them very different. Capable, resourceful, powerful women—they achieve in many different areas of life. They are all managers to one degree or another: whether in actual job name, project managing multi-million dollar projects, or organising finances, renovations, teaching a classroom full of excitable and challenging students. Many of them are mothers—they have the strength to get up for the sixth time that night to a crying baby, corral toddlers out the door with lunches, nappies, spare clothes, water bottles. The strength of mind to deal with a relentless, unpredictable landscape. Many of them are creatives or academics, with the self-discipline to see through a multi-year project, persevering in the face of thankless tasks, with only themselves to hate or blame when the self-doubt overwhelms them in the seemingly endless days.

But they carry on. They survive, they improve, they thrive—particularly in the company of other strong women. And it is that theme I have sought to draw out in my books, that alone, a strong woman is strong, but together—with others—she is incredible.

Jodie Lane is the author of Turning Points – a time-travel adventure series that takes readers from the ancient world to an interstellar future. Based in Brisbane, Australia, Jodie is an enthusiastic historian, combining her love of travel with fascinating stories from the past. Find her books at www.jodielane.com or stay up to date with her events and news on www.facebook.com/authorjodielane

Jodie provided this blog on request because Bek loves how she makes the point that strong women don’t have to like  each but they do need to respect the others skills/beliefs.  It is a core part of my belief system.  I am half way through reading Jodie’s first book and am trying to free up a weekend to binge read the rest.  Purchase your copies of Jodie’s books and anthology contribution here .

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How Do You See Yourself?

A GUEST BLOG BY: Maree Ashford of Chrome n Silver Photography

Still hating yourself in those photos?  Are you the nominated “photographer” so that you can avoid having your image recorded for a lifetime?  Do you still judge your image harshly because you aren’t happy with it yet? 

I am here today to tell everyone an important truth in regards to your self-image, self-esteem and confidence. Please DON’T listen to your inner voice telling you to wait until … you look less tired, WAIT until you have lost weight, PAUSE until you grow your hair out, STOP until you find the perfect clothing.

This applies to your personal and professional life. I hear it all the time as a photographer, “I’d LOVE to have some portraits done of myself or of my family & I, BUT I just need to WAIT UNTIL I love myself more”

They are always waiting for the right time or the perfect moment, a moment that may never come or will always be one day, someday, anyday, but not today. The time to start your path to where you want to be is NOW!  Stop putting off enjoying life because of what is not and start celebrating what is.

As a female and an artist I understand the mental anguish that comes with a lack of self-confidence, an absence of self-esteem, a low dose of empowerment which everyone else seems to have or fake perfectly.

I suffer from these things as well, as I can imagine everyone who isn’t a megalomaniac would also do so, even just occasionally.    After all we are only human. It is human to doubt.  It is when we aren’t enjoying our lives as a result, that it helps to change your outlook – or have someone else show you the worthiness you have.

I am asking you to, instead of seeing the “wait for”, seek out the things that make you worthy of reaching out for your goals.  Do it now, because there will never be the perfect time but right now if you really want to live your best life.

One of the reasons I love what I do so much – I love the response to the images of my clients once I show them how I see them, how the camera sees them.  You, the final product. It might be corny, but it truly is the essence of a good portrait to capture the authentic version of the person trusting you with their vulnerable self.  I don’t know your insecurities by heart, what I see is a strong, beautiful soul who needs to let themselves shine and tell a story of who they are, how they are feeling, their individuality.

I simply LOVE doing what I do.

The most common response to the finial result of a portrait session is the client saying “I never knew I could look like that” There is no magic involved there is just you and your inner confidence, even if you don’t feel like you have any, it shines through into who you are and what others see in you. Please don’t wait, instead surround yourself with those who see the inner confidence, those who empower who you, and those that give good welcomed advice to raise you up, and help you fulfill your dreams and boost your self confidence.

Strong Women raise Strong Women

Good women empower other women. No tall poppy syndrome here.


Maree Ashford is a photographer in Brisbane. QLD Australia. If you would love to see more of her work or contact her please click on through to www.chromensilverphotography.com.au or follow her at www.facebook.com/chromensilverphotography/

She also donates her time to various animal rescue groups to promote the lives and stories of all animals in need across the country and is a strong advocate for animal rights.


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