Winnie Robertson is a Member of Engineers Australia and Committee Member of the Engineers Australia Northern Division. She is a Project Engineer for Laing O’Rourke and is currently the Managing Contractor Representative for their works at RAAF Base Edinburgh.
Winnie is very passionate about young people having a positive experience as they decide to join the engineering profession and changing people’s perceptions of the everyday engineer.
How long have you been volunteering with Engineers Australia?
In total I have volunteered with Engineers Australia for about 4 years. Most of that time was during my university years, when I was heavily involved with Young Engineers Australia Northern Division (YEAND).
Then my work took me interstate and overseas and when I returned to Darwin I was keen to get involved again. I wanted to be a part of the discussions about Engineers Australia’s strategic direction, so I nominated for a position on the 2018-2019 Northern Division’s Committee.
Why did you become a volunteer?
There were a great group of young, professional people I’d met briefly who invited me to one of the monthly YEAND committee meetings to see what it was about, and the rest is history. I started in the position of Secretary and each year with YEA nominated for a different role (Treasurer, Vice President and National Representative) on the YEAND Committee to try something different.
In that time, I quickly found a passion for events and discovering ways to bring engineers together, socially or technically, to help build up our local network and encourage more people to join.
What do you enjoy most about being a volunteer?
When I was part of YEAND I really enjoyed spending time with enthusiastic, like-minded engineers who were passionate about doing something bold and different.
Now, as a Committee Member, I enjoy being even more closely connected with our vibrant Northern Division and discussing the critical matters affecting Engineers Australia and our wider industry.
What has been your greatest achievement in your time volunteering with Engineers Australia?
Some of the achievements I am most proud of are from my time with YEA where we hosted some spectacular sell-out events. Everyone on the committee rose to the challenge of making each event bigger and better than the last. Seeing the successful outcome of so many engineers enjoying themselves was confirmation that our hard work had paid off.
How has your career informed your work as a volunteer?
My volunteering with Engineers Australia informs my career as much as my career informs my volunteer work. Being closely involved with EA means I’m hearing from all types of engineers what the issues are.
A lot of the technical presentations I have attended have changed the way I think about specialised areas of work we do. Equally, the skills and perspectives we can bring from the companies we work at also keep Engineers Australia current and informed.
How do you balance work and volunteering?
Having set dates for Committee Meetings for the year ahead really helps planning to allocate time to attend them in advance of work commitments.
Setting manageable tasks associated with the volunteer role also makes it feel like you’re able to contribute to your division and that the balance of working and volunteering is achievable.
What would you tell other members who are considering becoming a volunteer?
If you’ve got an idea to share, something to say or an issue to raise then the best way to achieve an outcome around that is to join in and get involved.
Image: courtesy of Winnie Robertson