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International Women’s Day at BDP 2023


To celebrate International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, BDP is publishing a series of internal blog posts celebrating the career stories of some of the women in our practice. In these blogs, we asked each woman a simple question: “what is one piece of advice for your younger self?”

The responses are a culmination of each of these women’s different lived experiences across different sectors and professions in the built environment. We invite you to read them below, and perhaps even be inspired by some of the answers!


Firstly, often finding myself as the only female in the room, my advice would be to believe in yourself, your talent and the different perspective you can bring to the table. Secondly, it’s inevitable you’ll sometimes struggle and that’s okay; acknowledgment and self-reflection of challenging events is what has developed me the most in my career.

Sue Emms Architect Principal

Ask questions. I’d say there’s no such thing as a stupid question, but I’ve definitely asked some stupid questions along the way! Ask them anyway, it’s the best way to learn, probably saves half the time and lets you get to know the people you work with, at least it gives you things to laugh about in the future.

Liv Clermont Co-op Student

Find a learning opportunity in everything that comes across you in life.

Swati Singh Architect Director

Most importantly, I would advise my younger self to get rid of unnecessary fear, as it can manifest in various ways. I would encourage myself to confidently express my career aspirations to progress and articulate the support I need from relevant parties to achieve them. I also emphasise the importance of being proactive and finding alternative approaches or perspectives to achieve personal and team goals.

May Ling Smith Senior Architect

Don’t fear the unknown, the most exciting and rewarding journeys are the most challenging ones.

Harley Wade Senior Project Technology Manager

Life is very short, don’t waste time hesitating.

Lindsay Johnston Architect Director

Trust your instincts. Believe you can achieve whatever you want.

Martina Leon Architect

Never think you are going to get to a point where you know everything! I was always eager to get to the next stage of my career as I thought I would suddenly know 100% how to do everything and lose the ‘imposter syndrome’. The reality is that you never do (well I haven’t yet!) and in Sustainability especially, there is always something new and you are always learning. But that is what makes it such an interesting career. I obviously need to be able to do my job well, but it is also about how you react to the unknown and upskill yourself and the team around you.

Lucy Townsend Sustainability Director

Enjoy making mistakes and the learning that follows.

Tan Chiganze Architectural Assistant

Don't underestimate your capabilities. Others will regard you the same way you regard yourself. If you don't value yourself, others will undervalue you as well. Value yourself highly, and others will follow.

Patricia Atkins HR Manager

Learn how to do presentations, be confident in your voice and keep smashing society’s expectations of you!

Rachael Gilbert Junior Building Services Engineer

Never stay in a job that makes you unhappy, be confident in your ability and your worth, and find a good mentor.

Sharon Steward Group Marketing Director

Dream big, trust in yourself, and allow life to surprise you.

Ximena Bisbal Architect

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