Ventia employee Meredith Albot with a blurred background

A desire to "build big things I could see" led Mobilisation Manager Meredith Talbot into civil engineering at university, as one of only five women graduating from a class of 60. 

Being one of only a few women in the room also became the norm for Meredith throughout her career, as she transitioned from engineering roles to project management, then procurement.  

"I worked for John Holland on the Western Freeway construction in Melbourne and was one of two women on site," she says. "The other woman worked in admin." 

I was strongly encouraged not to go onto site alone as a young female. Let's just say the workforce wasn't terribly inclusive for women.

A role at City of Melbourne as a drainage engineer followed, and then a move into risk assessment of road plant at CSR. After a couple of project management roles, Meredith found herself working for Shell in procurement for their retail network. Once again, she found herself the only female in a team when she spent several weeks in India as part of an IT outsourcing project.  

"I left Shell as I was relatively newly married and was spending a third of the year travelling," she explains. "It wasn't conducive to a successful marriage."  

Learning experiences

Her role at Carlton and United Breweries was another learning experience. She gained additional skills in the marketing space when she was seconded to the team to support a review in their media buying processes and contracts, and then working on business process engineering for the team.  

When she was made redundant whilst on parental leave for her second child, it reinforced some of the learnings she had on unconscious bias and support for diversity.  

"There were quite a lot of roles made redundant at the time, all of them part time roles and naturally, that meant mostly women," Meredith says.  

Meredith Talbot standing in front of a Ventia fire truck

Meredith says she was pleased to accept the role as Mobilisation Manager at Ventia. Here she is in front of a Ventia fire truck at the International Air Show at Avalon.


Her last role before joining Ventia in mid-2022 was with BP, and it was here that she finally worked in a more gender-balanced team and in a more flexible environment.  

"I started off doing around two days a week and worked up to a nine-day fortnight," she says. "And I was one of four female engineers in a team of seven, so that was a big turnaround from the early days of my career."  

Four weeks after a coffee catch-up with Group Executive D&SI Derek Osborn, Meredith had a job offer from Ventia and she says she's pleased she accepted the role.  

Supportive of each other's success

"What I really like about Ventia so far is that people are supportive of other people's success," she says. "You'd be surprised how uncommon that is."  

"I believe that we all rise together, it's important for us to lift each other up. Pay a compliment. Say thank you."  

Meredith and her husband have worked in similar fields and organisations throughout their careers. The biggest difference, she says, is that her husband doesn't ask the same questions about work as she does.  

Am I overdressed for this meeting? Am I underdressed? Am I talking too much? Am I not saying enough?

"These are all questions I, and other women, ask ourselves."  

Diversity and equity

"When you're the only woman in the room you stand out for being different. But you don't always want to be different."  

As we acknowledge another International Women's Day, with this year's UN Women theme of #crackthecode, Meredith says what she appreciates about it is the opportunity to talk about diversity and equity.  

"It makes us stop and question the status quo," she says. "I think we are having the right conversations, so we just need to ensure those conversations translate into action."