Three Women, Three Careers, Three Questions: Rachel Harding

Introducing Rachel Harding… 

Rachel is a Technical Director at AECOM. She is a Fellow Chartered Practicing Engineer for leadership and management, who has led and managed major projects, environmental impact assessments, environmental management and approvals, and risk assessments over the past 20 years across a diverse range of sectors including rail, mining, oil and gas, and industrial facilities.

Question 1: What would you say has been your greatest professional achievement?  

A few years ago I took on the role of Project Manager for the design team on Rail Infrastructure Alliance (a $1-2B construction job), which forms part of the Metro Tunnel Project. 

My biggest achievement was turning around the design program from 45 packages behind schedule to 6 packages ahead.  This was through a focus on design team culture, intentional listening and a ‘no surprises’ approach to design package delivery. 

Question 2: What would be your best piece of advice for a female considering joining the transport industry?  

It’s okay to fail! 

This is my advice to anyone, but it is more relevant to women as I think we worry more about the ‘what ifs’ in life (i.e. What if I make a mistake? What if I’m not ‘good’ enough? What if I’m not selected? What do others think about me?). 

So don’t be afraid to jump in, try new things, listen and learn, back yourself, and pick yourself up off the ground when you make mistakes and learn from them.  Repeat.   

It’s the best way to learn and grow and take joy in what you do.   

Question 3: Is there anything you would change about the transport industry, and why have you decided to stick around?  

I am new to the transport sector, and was attracted by the transformational, city-shaping projects on the go!  It is an exciting time to be involved.  

If I could change anything it would be the diversity of the workforce.  This is still a work in progress! 
As we move towards more diverse teams (gender, qualifications, background, experiences), we will see more supportive and high-performing teams delivering creative, outcome-focused solutions to transport.