Engineers Australia has recently welcomed Catherine Carter to the role of General Manager – Canberra to oversee Engineers Australia's activities across the ACT, from policy and advocacy to STEM initiatives and driving member value.
Catherine brings a range of valuable experience to the role, having commenced her career as an advisor to an NSW Government Minister and then working in various policy, public affairs and communications roles before taking on a leadership role in the property industry. More recently she worked as a consultant to industry and established Salon Canberra, a forum that brings leaders together to discuss ideas.
We sat down with Catherine to learn more about what brought her to Engineers Australia, her short-term and long-term priorities, and what she's been reading!
Why are you working for Engineers Australia?
The opportunity to work with Engineers Australia as the Canberra General Manager is an exciting one. Engineers are problem solvers and creative thinkers who are coming up with solutions to some of the world’s most important and pressing challenges, including ways to create a more sustainable future. I’m working with Engineers Australia to support the profession and to help advance the science and practice of engineering for the benefit of the community.
What do you see as one of the biggest issues facing the engineering profession?
Being future-ready. Engineers in one form or another have been around for millennia, and we see their contribution to society every day across areas including agriculture, construction and mechanics. Engineers now and into the future will need to be equipped to work on new challenges across fields as diverse as bioengineering, climate change, information technology, robotics, urban design and more. We will need to equip engineers of the future with technical and professional skills they need together with the ability to push their critical problem-solving skills into new areas. Being future-ready will also require diverse minds, approaches and experiences, and that means ensuring we attract and retain more women into the profession.
What are you working on now?
As I’ve only been on board with Engineers Australia for a few weeks, right now I’m on a very steep learning curve learning about the organisation and how to best support the members. However, in terms of immediate tasks, I’m working on organising the annual Butters Oration to be held in November, and on the Canberra Division’s advocacy agenda which we’ll be taking to the new government following the ACT Election.
What is the most recent book you read?
Sapiens – A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. I’ve just starting the second in the series, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. I highly recommend putting these on your reading list if you haven’t already!
What inspires you?
For me, inspiration comes from creative ideas and new ways of thinking. One of the things I enjoy most is when people from different backgrounds and experiences come together to talk about ideas, or to collaborate to tackle problems. Moments like this keep me thinking, engaged and energised.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Curious, creative, courageous.
What will be your priorities in the short-term from a strategic point of view?
The Engineers Australia Strategic Plan provides the blueprint through its stated strategic goals. I’ll be working with the Canberra Division President and Committee to progress several key priorities including prosecuting the Division’s advocacy agenda, which covers issues including the registration of engineers. I’ll also be looking at ways to demonstrate member value through regularly engaging with members and building organisational profile at a local level.
…and the focus for the long-term?
Into the long term I’m keen to improve the diversity of the engineering workforce in Canberra and to create and build activities which support STEM. I’ll also be working to ensure that Engineers Australia has a seat at the table with government when policy decisions are being made. Building and maintaining profile and relevance with government, the broader industry and the community will be an ongoing focus.