Stephanie Bolt - Adelaide Airport
I entered into the transport and logistics industry through having worked in the Mining Industry. The environmental aspect of Mining was always something that interested me growing up, through my education and early work career. I got the opportunity to work with Zinifex north of Adelaide in Port Pirie and to be honest I thought that was to be my career path. I hadn't thought of aviation until I got a phone call saying the position of Environmental Manager at Adelaide Airport had become vacant, only then through a little research did I realise there is a lot more to the industry, a lot more challenges and significant environmental regulations to be met than I really expected coming from a mining background. Now being in this position for the last 9 years I couldn't imagine leaving the industry, I am completely hooked.
There are many particular things that I really enjoy working in aviation. The industry is certainly dynamic. Working in airports and aviation it is constantly evolving, I like that. It is also complex. There are many government and private organisations that have to cooperate and coordinate to make aviation as efficient as possible and that requires a lot of relationship building and working through a lot of complex issues. It certainly is a challenge I cherish. Within the scope of aviation, you have to focus on local, national and international issues. You have to keep your eye on all and I like the breadth of being able to participate in the local, national and global from dealing with residential associations to international regulations.
Women in senior management are still a minority throughout the Transport and Logistics industry. Realistically, there probably are imperatives but if you are suitably qualified, prepared and driven when that opportunity comes along you can get anywhere. But it is also about those opportunities and being prepared that can sometimes be difficult for women particularly if they are required to be a carer at home too. Once you get to the executive level it is not a 9 to 5 job. It can be difficult to juggle your home life with the time constraints around study, professional development and commitment to external working groups or committees, the things that get you noticed. But industry knows this and is being more proactive in bringing women to the front of the forum and providing opportunities for the best employees regardless of gender to rise to the top.
I am very proud of many achievements throughout my career. Very early in my career when I was working in Singapore I did a significant amount of staff engagement and training that assisted the Singapore Airlines Engineering Company get certified to ISO 14001 (Environmental Management). More recently Adelaide Airport became the first airport in Australia to be awarded Airport Carbon Accreditation certification from the Airports Council International (ACI). We currently are at Level 1. Reaching Level 2 I hope will be my next career highlight. (Edit: Adelaide Airport have since achieved Level 2 accreditation). There are certain skills that I developed throughout my career that helped me get to where I am today and gave me the ability to achieve these highlights. Learning how to read and interpret complex legislation is a vital skill, but even developing my people management skills has been very rewarding. Engaging people is an important skill. I am not the person doing the physical things for the environment but it is my job to bring these people, whether airlines or contractors, to the table to get these things done and good, efficient people management is certainly required to do so.
If I was to offer people advise looking to follow in my footsteps I would say don't be afraid to take risks. If you particularly want to work in a certain industry, don't be afraid to work in other industries if it gives you the opportunity to learn new skills and prove yourself. You can always jump back into the industry later on. Don't be afraid to leave your comfort zone, you can for example go overseas, where there may be skill shortages. Try and take on these roles that no other people want because they are a little tougher. You will certainly learn something and this will help you leapfrog to the next stage of your career.