The opportunity to focus on the leadership skills necessary to successfully advance to a broader management position is what attracted Ventia's Sustainability Manager, Transport Alex Monson to apply for the 2021 Roads Australia Fellowship Program. 

The Roads Australia (RA) Fellowship Program is a unique mentoring initiative that matches industry 'up and comers' with some of the most experienced, senior leaders in the Australian infrastructure sector. The program provides opportunities and encouragement for the next generation to develop leadership skills, build strong networks and stay engaged in our industry.

As a manager of a discipline, rather than a contract or large team, I found it challenging to see how I could advance my career beyond local environmental management," Alex says.

"More recently, through working on some significant bids and providing sustainability strategy to the Ventia roads business, I have realised my knowledge and experience gained as a member of management teams on different contracts provides real value. I can see a path to more senior management positions.'

A focus on sustainability

Alex's contributions to Broadspectrum (now Ventia) over the past 13 years have been significant and include helping EastLink achieve a 5-Star sustainability rating for five consecutive years in the GRESB Infrastructure Assessment. She also helped EastLink reduce electricity usage in the tunnel by 70% through the Ventilation on Demand project in 2018.

Alex is an Infrastructure Sustainability Accredited Professional (ISAP) and has been championing this across the organisation, with key stakeholders recognising the benefits of leveraging her skills, knowledge and accreditation. The Western Roads Upgrade in Victoria, with Alex as the assessor, has achieved Ventia's first Infrastructure Sustainability Operations IS rating in 2020.

Group Executive SHEQ Christian Frost says that Ventia believes taking a sustainable approach is not only the right thing to do, but what our clients, communities, investors and employees expect from us.

Alex's leadership and achievements in sustainability are impressive,"  Christian says. "Being recognised by industry associations as an emerging leader and having this opportunity to grow and further develop is great.

Mentoring to support leadership development

Through the fellowship program, Alex has been partnered with mentor Benita Husband, Chief Executive Officer at engineering and environmental consultancy pitt&sherry.

Alex and Benita will meet frequently over the course of the year, with Benita providing one-on-one career counselling and leadership development.

Alex is no stranger to the mentoring process. She is a strong advocate for advancing women in technical roles, and has sponsored a number of Monash University interns, mentoring their development in practical sustainability and environmental management.

"Aside from the formal elements of the program, I am looking forward to learning from the experience of a diverse group of fellows," Alex says.

I also really appreciate the focus RA has on diversity, and it's pleasing to see a 50/50 split in participants by gender, which in this industry can be tough to achieve.

Danny O'Driscoll, Alex's manager and General Manager SHEQ and Operational Excellence for Transport says that programs like this offered by RA are a great way to develop talent in an industry.

'Any opportunity to develop new skills, or build on current ones, is beneficial to our emerging leaders,' Danny says. 'It's particularly pleasing to see the focus on gender diversity given our industry needs to improve in that space."

'Alex is the kind of up and coming leader who will take this and run with it, and I am looking forward to seeing what she achieves over the next 12 months.'

The Roads Australia Fellowship Program

Over the last few years, Ventia has been proud to have several of our leaders accepted into the Roads Australia Fellowship Program.

Contract Manager for our four tunnel contracts in Sydney, Anthony Curry, participated in the 2020 cohort. Road Asset Management Contract Manager Andrew Spence completed the program in 2019. And Nadir Hashmi, Operations and Maintenance Manager for our M5 East contract participated in 2018.