International Womens Day 2020


MARCH 2020

While the female ratio is currently at 8.49%, we are lucky to have our team consist of 27% females. Find out more about the women leading the way in Mitchell McDermott.

Lisa Cleary, Project Manager

Lisa Cleary is a Project Manager and joined Mitchell McDermott in December 2019. She comes from a Civil Engineering background and has extensive experience working in Australia.

I’m from Tipperary originally and studied Civil Engineering at NUIG. I graduated in the middle of the recession, in 2011, so I moved to Australia where I lived in Perth for 1 year and then in Sydney for a further 7 years. I came back to Ireland in 2018.

I am a Project Manager at Mitchell McDermott. My job day to day involves a lot of organizing, keeping projects keep on track, meeting with clients and finding out their goals, developing a Programme of Works and maintaining it, and meeting with design teams. Project Managers ensure there is a good flow communication within all the teams. Seeing that all the team is collaborating well is rewarding.

My path to be a Project Manager started in Australia. In Sydney I got a job with a geo-tech company who did civil works such as pavement investigations, topographical surveys, and utility investigations, which I loved. As the company grew, I took on more of a Project Manager role, so I began coordinating designs and talking to clients.

When I returned to Ireland I wanted to try something a bit different. I went travelling for 8 months and thought hard about what direction I wanted to take in my career. I got a job as a Project Manager at Dublin Airport, and I loved it. I started a part time diploma in Project Management at Trinity. Then I started here in Mitchell McDermott, and I’m really liking here, it’s a good place to work. The variety of projects here in MMCD is great, as we are involved in every industry. Right now, I am working on 2 hotel projects and a restaurant. The most rewarding part of my job is the diversity of it all. Every day, week and project is different. You’re never bored!

More women and young girls could be encouraged to consider the working in the construction industry by seeing there are different aspects to the industry, that it’s not all about being outdoors – there are so many different jobs which are quite technical, but you’re not necessarily out in your work boots every day.

I’m definitely seeing an upturn of women working in the construction industry. I’m not the only woman a lot of the time. There were about 110 people on my course, with only 9 girls. Most of them have continued working in Engineering, or the construction industry in general, which is positive. My postgrad class is slightly more balanced which is also encouraging. It’s important for young people to look at all of the various opportunities that a degree in science or engineering can offer and not stereotype themselves, have the confidence to pursue your interests.

When I was doing my Leaving Certificate I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I loved math, physics, and problem solving. I was recommended engineering or a computer programming by a career counsellor. Computer programming didn’t appeal to me, so I did engineering. The first year or two of college is tough, learning and doing things you’ve probably never done before.

I think it’s important for young women to be aware that degrees in engineering and science can open doors to other jobs and industries, employers look very favorably on STEM graduates. And just because you are studying a degree in engineering, it doesn’t mean you will still be an engineer when you are 50!

Ciara Mulholland, Senior Project Manager

Ciara is a Senior Project Manager at Mitchell McDermott joining the team in 2019. Ciara attended Queen’s University Belfast graduating with BEng (Hons) in Civil Engineering in 2009. She then went on to further study a MSc in Construction and Project Management which she completed in 2010. Ciara is currently Vice Chair of the Engineers Ireland Project Management Society.

As a child I would often disappear off into my own world for hours building with Meccano or Lego or investigating how things worked and was caught on more than one occasion with tools in my hand taking apart the VHS recorder (showing my age). I also enjoyed maths and physics based subjects in school and I suppose a combination of both is what lead me down the engineering pathway.

As I graduated during the recession a lot of the construction industry job opportunities in Ireland were on a project to project basis. An advantage of this to me was that I got to work on various types of projects and in a number of different roles during the early stages of my career. I started out working in site engineering roles which enabled me to gain a strong background of construction technical knowledge and understanding. After a few years of site engineering I then moved into Project Management which I really enjoy. Every day there is a new challenge which keeps things interesting, and communication, time management and prioritising are key (I love the lists). Being involved in projects from concept through to handover and then seeing the finished product and a happy client is always rewarding.

In relation to promoting the construction industry to girls I believe this should start from a young age. It is essential to have both women and men represented at every level of the industry so that children do not think of the roles of engineers or construction workers as defined by gender. It is also important for individuals working within the industry to get involved in initiatives such as the STEPS Programme run by Engineers Ireland attending schools to promote interest and awareness in engineering as a future career to students. Not least of all, in my own efforts (and satisfying the child within me) I participate in many ‘master-building’ sessions of Lego and 3D jigsaw construction with my goddaughter and budding Project Manager Annabel and her siblings.

Bronagh Duggan, Senior Quantity Surveyor

Bronagh is a Senior Quantity Surveyor, and has been with Mitchell McDermott since 2018. Bronagh graduated in 2011 from the University of Ulster, Jordanstown. She became Chartered with the RICS in 2016 and now lectures part time at the University of Ulster.

I graduated from the University of Ulster in 2011, during the recession. When I graduated a lot of companies weren’t hiring so I went travelling to Australia and worked for a Developer in Melbourne. I came home to Northern Ireland in 2013 and started working in Belfast for a PQS firm. I got my Chartership there in 2016. I looked at opportunities in Dublin and met Paul Mitchell, MMCD really impressed me. I feel I have learnt so much here. For me, wanting to develop my career, I have the opportunity with MMCD to work on so many different projects within the residential and commercial sector.

Mentorship and training staff is something I really enjoy. I have helped colleagues working towards obtaining their chartered status via RICS/ SCSI assessment of professional competence. I’ve also recently got into lecturing at the University of Ulster. I currently mentor a young female graduate within MMCD, it is extremely rewarding to see her gain confidence and develop her experience.

Now I’m back at the University of Ulster lecturing on a part time basis, I see very few women in the class. Encouraging girls into the construction industry at that stage is too late. Secondary school, when they are making future study decisions is when girls need to see and hear from women in the industry. There is such a variety of jobs which young females may not be aware of, there is a mix of site based or office careers to suit. We need to get more into grassroots to encourage young girls. I’ve become an RICS Ambassador, as an Ambassador you also visit schools and do workshops with younger children.

A change that I would love to see is more women in leadership in the industry. I think it is an important aspect of the industry that needs developing, so that young women and girls can see women in leadership roles, and change the perception that it is a male dominated industry.

Amandy Jap, Graduate Cost Consultant

Amandy Jap is a Graduate Cost Consultant, she first worked in Mitchell McDermott (MMCD) as an intern in 2016, and then during her placement year in 2017/18. After completing her studies at Letterkenny IT (LYIT), Amandy joined full time in June 2019. She has the distinction of being MMCD’s first female to join the company.

How I joined MMCD

I am from Malaysia and came to Ireland in September 2015 to study Quantity Surveying at Letterkenny IT (LYIT). In my first year, LYIT organized a Construction Industry day, which is a networking event for employers and students.  Undoubtedly, that is where I met Paul Mitchell.  He is my current director in MMCD, who gave me the internship opportunity in 2016.  I enjoyed my internship with MMCD, therefore, I returned in third year for my placement year in 2017/ 2018 and again upon graduating in 2019.

How did I get interested in Quantity Surveying?

My aunt, who is an accountant in a Construction Company introduced me the concept of ‘Quantity Surveyor (QS)’ after I graduated from secondary school.  QS and Construction Technology was not something I familiar with, however, I decided to give it a go.  For different reasons, I ended up studying in Ireland.  Learning about Construction Technology and the responsibility of a QS is an interesting experience.  In fact, the summer internship in 2016 helped me to understand more about the role of QS.  I would encourage young girls and women to consider a career in construction, e.g. quantity surveyors as there are employment opportunities now.

Women in MMCD

On my first day at work in 2016, my manager at the time introduced me to everyone. There were 10 other colleagues in total.  One funny thing was that it was not until the last person I realized there were no other women – and I didn’t expect or think about that at all until then! In 2017, the number of women in MMCD started to grow.  In comparison, there are now 14 women working at MMCD which is great.

Current Role

My current role is a Graduate Cost Consultant, working with Bronagh, a Senior Quantity Surveyor (QS) on different projects.  For example, the main project I am working on is a new nursing home that is currently on site.   I am visiting sites, contributing in meetings and working as part of the wider project team.  What I enjoyed the most in my role is that my responsibilities grow over time.  As a result, I gained valuable experience and skillsets along the way which I find rewarding.  What I found challenging would be learning something new and doing it for the first time, which takes time. I believe having an open mind and be willing to learn is an important quality for succeeding.

Want to build better?

Mitchell Mcdermott