Jessica Tabinor women in engineering
DIVERSITY | 3 MIN READ
We speak to Sorrel Gilbert, trustee of the Association of Project Management in the role of Diversity Champion to find out more about her flourishing career.
Sorrel talks about some of the challenges working in a male-dominated environment can have and how she overcomes them.
As part of our diversity in engineering series, Morson spoke to Sorrel Gilbert, trustee of the Association of Project Management in the role of Diversity Champion to find out more about her flourishing career.
After leaving school at 18 to become an events assistant with the Girl Guides, Sorrel embarked on a Maths degree at the Open University and was juggling work and education simultaneously.
“After a few years, and various event assistant roles I came across BAE Systems’ Project Management Apprenticeship, applied and got in!”
“Once I finished my apprenticeship, I looked around and realised that I really liked the flexibility of contracting and the idea of being able to move projects and companies regularly.”
Sorrel has now worked for some big names such as Thales UK, Mercury Systems as well as some smaller contracts for a classic car company, and teaching project management apprentices.
Now she is a trustee of the Association of Project Management, acting in the role of diversity champion. She also runs a successful YouTube Channel called “The Gilbert Principle” giving careers advice. (LINK)
Sorrel talked about some of the challenges working in a male-dominated environment can have and how she overcomes them…
“It’s the simple things that affect you - in one role I was put on an island of desks with most of the other women in the room. The idea behind this was kind: putting friends together. But this meant that the male members of the team had easier access to our manager as they sat next to him.”
“I’ve found as a woman that identifying these situations and working out how to calmly deal with them is vital: I needed to make sure I was getting time with my boss and kept myself his mind by sending regular emails outlining my achievements. Never be scared to show people your achievements!”
“It’s also about understanding yourself; your own biases and privileges. Through that, you can start to see how other people see the world differently.”
Looking forward to the future, Sorrel talks about her aspirations for her career…
“I’ve not really got a specific plan. I like to see what projects become available - the very nature of project management means that things are always changing.”
“I’m currently a trustee of the Association of Project Management, and as part of that, I’m their diversity champion. I’m planning to use the skills I’ve been gaining from that, and from my project management roles to find more roles where I can make a difference one project at a time.”
A big discussion topic in the recruitment and staffing industry at the moment is ensuring you maintain a healthy work/life balance. Sorrel chats about how she ensures she switches off and differentiates between being at work and when it’s time to relax.
“I maintain a healthy work/life balance by being able to block off parts of my life. When I’m on I’m on, and when I’m off I’m off. I also employ a virtual assistant who completes most of the business administration that goes with being a contractor. This gives me time and energy to be better at work and be more present at home.”