Katie Hulland is a professional project manager for Turner & Townsend with over 14 years’ experience in the transportation sector with organisations such as Heathrow, HS2, Network Rail and Tube Lines. Katie started her career with the Tube Lines station maintenance team and progressed to be an internal business improvement manager for Network Rail, developing and implementing Six Sigma, as well as Lean process improvement projects. Since joining Turner & Townsend Katie has bought together her business improvement and construction management skills to spilt her time between the operational side of the business and client-facing roles.
“…we needed to establish a brand that would connect us to the UK transport sector marketplace as an independent organisation. We previously spent much of our time explaining what WTS actually stood for…”
Proud and future focused
I have worked in the transport sector for over 14 years, starting out with the Tube Lines Station Maintenance team and progressing to an internal business improvement manager for Network Rail, before settling into the consulting environment first with Mace Group and now Turner & Townsend.
I knew the transport industry was for me. It’s a sector that I feel proud to be a part of. It provides a wide variety of interesting roles and projects, and I know whatever I deliver will make a real contribution to the future of the UK. I also love the people. I have enjoyed working with every team I have been a part of. There is a real team spirit across the industry.
Since joining Turner & Townsend nearly five years ago I have brought together my business improvement and construction management skills to split my time between the operational business and client facing roles. I have worked with clients in aviation, rail and real estate – managing stakeholders, developing programmes and mapping processes. More recently I have been lucky enough to join a full time client team in one of Europe’s largest infrastructure programmes.
Becoming President of Women in Transport
I was at a real crossroads in my career, as a senior project manager, I felt I had achieved a lot but I wanted to go further and deliver more.
I loved my job and when I returned from maternity leave, having spent the best part of nine months surrounded predominantly by women who were my peer group and close friends going through exactly the same experience as me, it felt odd to suddenly be dropped back into a fast-paced environment where there were very few women.
My employer was really supportive but with so few women in the industry as a whole, there was little they could do to help me with this challenge. That is where WTS London (formerly Women’s Transportation Seminar, now known as Women in Transport) really helped.
I went to my first meeting with no expectations. What I found was a small but incredibly dynamic team of women working in transport who were passionate to increase the representation of women in their industry.
I was Membership Chair for two years, then Vice-President for four years and I have just had the honour of taking over the Presidency from Camilla Ween. I have made friends for life since I became involved and I love spending time listening to others experiences from across the industry.
It helps me to develop professionally and personally and I would be thrilled if even a handful of individuals can be inspired and build their confidence as much as I have been lucky enough to do through Women in Transport.
Background to Women in Transport
We became the London Chapter (and first European branch) of Women’s Transportation Seminar International (WTSI) in 2005. WTS International has been running in the United States since 1977 and is dedicated to building the future of transport through supporting women across the world and has thousands of members worldwide.
Since I joined WTS London six years ago, and under the leadership of Rachel Skinner and Camilla, the organisation has gone from strength to strength. We have grown to be highly respected in the UK. We are now actively working with Government to increase gender diversity in the transport industry through the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Women in Transport that we helped to set up and for which we are the secretariat.
We will remain closely connected to WTSI and its global connections, but we needed to establish a brand that would connect us to the UK transport sector marketplace as an independent organisation. We previously spent much of our time explaining what WTS actually stood for…
Women in Transport – no explanation needed
Women in Transport needs no explanation – it’s an independent professional network showcasing the diversity of careers in transport, providing access to senior decision makers and supporting the professional development of women working in transport.
Every year we run two major receptions which are attended by a wide range of representatives from transport and wider industries. On 19th September 2017, together with EY, our reception, attended by almost 100 guests, featured a panel of speakers discussing how we can address the challenge of meeting the skills gap for the next generation of major infrastructure projects.
Speakers included Sir Terry Morgan, Chairman of Crossrail, Michele Dix, Managing Director of Crossrail 2 and Karima Khandker, Head of the Employment and Skills Academy at Heathrow. From the lively debate between both panel and audience, it was clear that gender diversity is an essential part of the solution and that we need to encourage many more women to consider transport and engineering as a career.
Wanted: Male allies
Women in Transport recognises this will be best achieved with the support of ‘male allies’ – men who champion women in transport and are committed to taking action to improve gender balance in the industry. We plan to recruit more men as members of Women in Transport and are proud to have recently appointed our first man to the Women in Transport board.
It would be great if Womanthology readers would join Women in Transport and support our mission, not just to support women working in transport but to get men actively involved too. You can sign up to become a member or receive more information at http://www.womenintransport.com/.