WSP Opus' Women in Leadership Network

In 2014, a women in leadership group was established to facilitate engagement, networking, mentoring and information sharing.  The group, WSP Opus’ Women in Leadership ‘Practice Interest Network’, is now established as a vehicle to focus on constant improvement and is a representative voice for the company in matters of gender diversity.

The Practice Interest Network encompasses an online discussion forum, information sharing and local networking events – all with the objective of advancing the career development and progression of women within the company. A diverse and broad group of people in the organisation are members of the Women in Leadership Professional Interest Network – men and women at all levels of the organisation from senior managers through to graduates.  

The Women in Leadership scheme has already influenced the way WSP Opus works, including: enhancing HR policies; developing training programmes; increasing support for part-time workers, and improving return-to-work conditions after parental leave.  It has also built initiatives for education schemes that target schools to encourage more women to enter the engineering profession. 

Celebrating WSP Opus’ Women

8th March marks International Women's Day.

On this day, WSP Opus celebrates the successes and achievements of our female colleagues as well as profiling the work of past and present women who have made significant contributions to society.

Across the globe, we will hold events and our offices will make a pledge to further bridge the gap in gender diversity.  

Staff Profiles 

Our gender diversity programme seeks to ensure a greater proportion of females in all categories, but with particular focus on leadership roles. This benefits not only women throughout the company, but all employees. We have a diverse depth and breadth of women in roles throughout the company, at all levels of the business, some of whom are profiled below:

  • Amy Newman

    1. What is your role at Opus?
    I am a Senior Environmental Scientist working with the contaminated land team for the Midlands office in the United Kingdom. My day-to-day role includes undertaking contaminated land Investigations, desk based studies, supervising soil, gas and groundwater investigations, monitoring remediation works, preparing factual and interpretative reports, liaison with key stakeholders like clients, landowners and regulators, and day to day project management.

    I am one of a few employees trained and experienced in conducting detailed human health risk assessments and I have recently been appointed as the secretary for the in-house contaminated land interest network - a committee dedicated to promoting and safeguarding our discipline.

    2. What do you enjoy the most in your current role?
    Every site is different, including its location, historical context, proposals for development and degree of contamination. This makes my role interesting, varied and sometimes very challenging. As a result, I am always broadening my knowledge and learning new skills to successfully fulfill my role and to meet our clients’ requirements and expectations. I am also lucky enough to be involved with contamination projects on an international scale and, after six months of secondment to the Christchurch office in New Zealand, I still find myself getting involved with New Zealand projects whilst back in the UK.

    3. What has been your biggest career achievement?
    Completing my master’s degree in 2013 enabled me to take a big step in my career progression. Not only did I get the opportunity to work in New Zealand for 6 months, I also achieved a senior position within the company. Whilst in New Zealand, I worked on contamination projects related to the earthquake re-build which I found to be very rewarding and I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of learning new legislation and guidance and putting this into practice. Over the past couple of years I have also taken on more responsibilities as a result of my progression, including project management and mentoring and training of graduate and junior engineers. I am also currently working towards chartered status within the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM).

    4. Outside of Opus, what do you like to do in your spare time?
    In my spare time I enjoy walks in the countryside with my Husband and my very bouncy dog Pip, and horse riding at my local trekking centre, as it’s a great way to let off some steam. I also enjoy holidays, eating out and regular family gatherings.

    5. What advice would you give to people beginning their career?
    It was daunting entering a large consulting engineering business fresh from University but if you are willing to take on the challenges that you are presented with, you will find that the hard work you put in at the start of your career will help you achieve your professional goals much easier. Stick with it through the tough times, because the hard work usually pays off. Seek out the opportunities for training and development inside and outside the company. I have regularly attended lunchtime and evening seminars to keep up with my continued professional development as well as taking the opportunity to complete my master’s degree on a part time basis whilst still gaining experience and mentoring from my workplace.

  • Angie Berger

    1. What is your role at Opus?
    I am an Executive Assistant and the Front Office Supervisor for Opus DaytonKnight in Canada. I am responsible for the daily operations of the front office, typing, editing and filing for the engineers, and I supervise two employees.

    2. What do you enjoy the most in your current role?
    Mostly, the people that I work with and for. The part of my job I probably enjoy the most is reading and editing proposals and reports before they leave. The challenge of getting a proposal out the door on time is always a treat.

    3. What has been your biggest career achievement?
    I was originally hired as a word processor and within the first two years I had taken over the role of Supervising Secretary; and then Executive Assistant to management. I have been with the company for 25 years and I am always up for a new challenge in my career.

    4. Outside of Opus, what do you like to do in your spare time?
    I would say that I am a foodie, I love to cook and bake. Many of the staff here in the North Vancouver office are my taste testers. I have been told my pound cake is legendary - although I can’t take credit for the recipe. My husband and I love to cruise and travel and well as riding our Harleys. I also have 3 fur babies (cats).

    5. What advice would you give to people beginning their career?
    Love what you do, put your heart into it and you will succeed. I can honestly say that after 25 years I still enjoy coming to work every day and doing what I do.

  • Carol Campbell

    1. What is your role at Opus?
    I am the Branch Manager of the Opus DaytonKnight Whitehorse Office in Yukon, Canada. I am also a senior Project Manager.

    2. What do you enjoy the most in your current role?
    Working with teams on a challenging projects.

    3. What has been your biggest career achievement?
    Establishing the Whitehorse office and making it a success.

    4. Outside of Opus, what do you like to do in your spare time?
    Pretty mundane stuff – cooking, reading, walking, seeing movies….

    5. What advice would you give to people beginning their career?
    Be enthusiastic but patient, be persistent, go with the curves that life throws at you – you never know where they will take you!

  • Emily Stevens

    1. What is your role at Opus?
    I am a Geotechnical Engineer based in the Queenstown office in New Zealand. My main area of work is in slip and rockfall remediation on the Central Otago State Highway Network, which is around 540km of highway in a mountainous environment. My work often involves abseil inspections. I am also the Chair of the Geotechnical Professional Interest Network, which is a companywide network of over 100 employees and involves overseeing the technical health of the Geotechnical Discipline at Opus.

    2. What do you enjoy the most in your current role?
    I enjoy working with clients onsite, in a team environment, and successfully mitigating geotechnical hazards to make the road a little bit safer for the public – even though the public may not always realise the work that goes into keeping infrastructure operational. I have also really enjoyed the leadership and strategy development required as part of my role as Geotechnical Chair and hope to further develop my skills in this area.

    3. What has been your biggest career achievement?
    Winning the Association of Consulting Engineers NZ Future Leader Award in 2014 was a huge honour and is a tremendous opportunity involving sponsored travel to the International Federation of Consulting Engineers conference in Dubai in September 2015.

    4.Outside of Opus, what do you like to do in your spare time?
    I like to be busy and occupied. My husband owns a café including a small gift shop and I manage the retail for the shop. I also have to do something creative in my life, from art to interior design to sewing to music, so I always have a project on the go. My husband and I have just bought a house that needs a complete renovation so I am currently dreaming about bathrooms.

    5. What advice would you give to people beginning their career?
    Keep going through the tough times and don’t give up, there will be many rewards in this career. Do what you have to do as well as you possibly can, then take feedback and learn as much as you can from more experienced engineers and contractors. For women starting out – I have never found it to be a problem being a female in this industry. As long as you know your stuff (or admit when you don’t), are honest and fair people will listen to you, and I think that applies to males and females. Keep your sense of humour and smile.

  • Susan Chamberlain

    1. What is your role at Opus?
    I currently have a split role. I am the Service Excellence Leader for Queensland and also the Transportation Team Leader in Brisbane. As a Service Excellence Leader I am focusing on improving project management this year. This means bedding down our Project Management Accreditation Framework and providing training and support to all our project managers to help them better manage their projects. In addition to this we are introducing the responsibilities of the Project Director and increasing awareness of Safety in Design through training and auditing. As the Transportation Team Leader I am very much in business development mode - much of my time is spent writing bids and building relationships with potential clients. In addition to my formal roles I am also a Global Asset Management team resource and have been working on projects with our Opus colleagues in Malaysia.

    2. What do you enjoy the most in your current role?
    I enjoy the wide variety my role offers and the flexibility to pursue opportunities as they arise. I have been lucky to do some travelling in the last few years and love the interactions with different offices.

    3. What has been your biggest career achievement?
    Transitioning from a client background to join Opus eight years ago was fairly significant. Even projects that have not gone quite so well offer the greatest feelings of achievement – though this only comes in hindsight.

    4. Outside of Opus, what do you like to do in your spare time?
    I have two teenage sons so most of any spare time is spent with them. I do like to travel when I can but on the whole at the moment I just aspire to having spare time.

    5. What advice would you give to people beginning their career?
    To pursue what you want to. Don’t let perceived barriers get in your way. Respect is earned through listening to others, pulling your weight, and putting aside any differences. Ultimately the most satisfaction comes from achieving something by just getting on and doing it without leaning on assumed ‘rights’ whether they be gender, race, age or physical ability.