Amanda Armstrong pictured sewing

Participating in one of Ventia's Women in Networking events recently in Melbourne was a great way to connect with other professional women from across the business, according to Proposal Coordinator, Amanda Armstrong. 

"It was an opportunity to talk to a number of people from around our business that I wouldn't usually meet," she explains. "I was a bit nervous and not sure what to talk about, but I had some great conversations and really connected with a few of my colleagues."

Amanda works in Ventia's pre-contracts area for our Defence and Social Infrastructure sector and over the last 17 years with the company, she's grown used to working with a geographically dispersed team. This means she hasn't met many of those she works with face to face, and the past year or so has exacerbated that with the reduction in travel. 

"I used to work two days in the office and two from home, but with Melbourne experiencing a number of lockdowns and the encouragement for most office employees to work from home where possible, it's been a while since I've done that regularly," she says.

Opportunities through networking

Amanda says it is sometimes more productive working from home as there are less distractions, but also notes that being in the office is valuable as you are building relationships and learning who knows what and who to go to for help or information.

Those water cooler conversations can be very valuable, she says.

Something else Amanda learned during lockdown was that she's a pretty talented creator. 

"I was looking for a YouTube tutorial on how to make face masks last year when they became mandatory," Amanda says. "I came across a lady who gave lessons on making handbags and wallets and thought I'd give it a go."

"I've since made over 15 bags for family and friends and I'm considering making them to sell." 

Amanda had one of her bags with her at the networking event, and it caught the eye of several of the team who were all incredibly impressed by her skills!

"People were genuinely interested in what I do outside of work, it was a great conversation point," Amanda says. 

At Ventia, we love hearing about our people's interests and hobbies and finding ways to bring our teams together and discuss things other that work. 

Social Inclusion Manager Loes Westerbeek-Veld agrees that the networking event was a good opportunity for people to meet new colleagues and develop networks across sectors and business units. 

"We know that finding new opportunities at work is significantly easier if you network, and that women traditionally don't do it as often as their male colleagues," Loes says.

Working out not only how to network well but then leveraging that network is a skill that we want to help develop in our female workforce in particular.

Amanda says she's looking forward to the next event, especially now she's getting the hang of networking.

"It's always handy to know who to reach out to with questions, and I am always up for a chat with colleagues over a coffee!"

Pictured: Amanda and her son, Thomas

Top image: Amanda at her sewing machine creating a new handbag.