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A flexible career path is key to success
25 Jun 2019

Following her inclusion in the Women's Engineering Society's Top 50 Women in Engineering, Project Engineer Ellie Zemani gives her thoughts on why both people and businesses should be open to being more flexible.

Ellie Zemani Spirit Energy

It is a great honour for me to be named as one of the 50 top Women in Engineering by the Women’s Engineering Society, particularly as this year’s theme is returners and transferrers as I think a change in career direction is something people and organisations should be more open to.

During my time with Spirit Energy I’ve been lucky to have great managers, mentors and peers, plus an environment where choice and change are possible and encouraged, and I am hugely grateful for that.

I joined the company seven years ago, initially in the supply chain, followed by Asset Economist and Asset Business Lead roles. As I learned more about the sector and operations, I knew I wanted to be more hands on and more involved in the front line of what we do in this industry. I was seeing the work we were setting up from a commercial and business perspective, but wanted to be involved in doing that work myself.

Diversity of experience

It meant going back to school for a little bit, and in pursuing my Masters in petroleum engineering I’ve had to brush up on my maths, physics and chemistry, but why sit still?

I have always wanted to be flexible and do different things – there are no rules which say you have to follow the same career for 20 years. And it has absolutely been worth it – now as a Project Engineer, I can bridge the gap between the commercial and the technical side and speak both languages.

For businesses, the impact of having people across teams with a broader experience can only be good - diversity of experiences and perspectives mean you have a range of ideas as a result. It has been shown time and again that teams and organisations with greater diversity - be that in ideas, in gender or in cultural differences - perform better in terms of quality of service and productivity.

From a personal point of view, there’s no question it has helped me progress in the direction I want to take my career – I do want to have a leadership position in the energy industry, and I feel that with the experience on both the commercial and engineering side it will set me up for that in future.