An equal world is an enabled world: Jessica and Vi

12 Mar 2020

Celebrating women’s achievement across our business for International Women’s Day (8 March) we are catching up with some of our inspirational women to hear what gender equality means to them. All this week we will be sharing our interviews with them asking them about their career journey, what this year’s theme ‘an equal world is an enabled world’ means to them, and what advice they would give to their 12-year old selves.

Today, meet Jessica Richardson, Business Analyst from our Houston – Dairy Ashford office in the US, and Vi Storey, Operations Project Manager, who is based in Chepstow, UK.

What was your career path? How did you get to where you are today?
I began working as a consultant for RPS straight out of grad school in 2012 with the Protected Species Observer (PSO) team in our Houston’s Energy Operations division. In 2014, I accepted a project management role as a full employee. I was responsible for managing client and regulator interactions, and overseeing a subset of our ongoing PSO projects offshore. On top of that, I managed internal side projects – mostly focused on technological developments to optimise our team’s work.

Over time, I was involved in the design and development of [our software tools for protected species observation mapping, training and operations]: PSOMAP, PSOeTraining, and eventually OPS Pro — all fully designed and developed in-house. OPS Pro was by far the largest undertaking, and led to recognition by our CEO of Global Energy, identifying its international expansion as a key organic growth initiative in 2018. This level of focus and recognition led to the Global Technology Team (GTT) initiating discussions with me regarding my skillsets being well aligned with a position in their team. I joined our GTT last summer as part of a team tasked with establishing a Global Technology project management office to help optimise our technology projects globally.

The theme for International Women’s Day this year is ‘an equal world is an enabled world’ – what does that mean to you?
A fully enabled world is only possible once we move past preconceived notions and bias based on who a person is genetically and make decisions based on who they are as a professional and what they are capable of. The only way we will ever realise our true level of capability is to be blind to demographics—specifically gender, age, and race—and instead focus solely on skills and how to apply them most effectively to solve the problems that matter.

What advice would you give your 12-year old self?
Keep pushing buttons, even if it’s just to find out what that button does. Never stop trying to figure out new, better, and more effective ways to accomplish tasks with technology—it will serve you well.

What was your career path? How did you get to where you are today?
I joined the British Army when I was 16 years old to start a career in administration and logistics which had been my dream since a young girl. After six years I continued my path in a similar role and joined RPS Explosive Engineering Services as an Operational Coordinator who specialises in Unexploded Ordnance consultancy services. To strive within the company and give greater personal working knowledge I was given various opportunities such as managing challenging and complex projects, logistically and operationally and being involved in management systems.
I have also had the opportunity to enhance my own skills from learning about explosives, to learning a language and studying a Diploma. After 14 years with RPS Explosives Engineering Services as their Operational Project Manager, I took an internal move in August 2019 as Executive Assistant to the Energy Europe Africa and Middle East (EAME) Managing Director supporting him and the Energy business. This has given me not only a new opportunity, but a new challenge.

The theme for International Women’s Day this year is ‘an equal world is an enabled world’ – what does that mean to you?
An equal world is a stronger and more open world of possibilities.

What advice would you give your 12-year old self?
Not to define myself based on my young life of what seemed like no possibilities. A master of my own destiny.

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