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By January 9, 2023No Comments

Cathy Sanders is a passionate advocate for career pathways with over fifteen years of experience in training and education. Recognised as a Fellow by the Australian Institute of Training and Development for her contribution and knowledge of the industry, Cathy currently works in an HR role in the construction industry.

A member of the Queensland Education and Mentoring Committee with the National Association of Women and Construction, and a member of the board for the Griffith University Post Graduate Students Association, where she is also currently pursuing a double Master in HR, IR and International Business.

2:00 Lauren is keen to learn how Cathy ended up in the construction industry coming from an education background.  

  • As Cathy recounts her journey, she emphasises that her career was built out of relentlessly pursuing her interests and being unafraid to change direction and start over while constantly negotiating with her parents’ expectations.
  • Cathy highlights the value of hard work, persistence, and patience to build a career and the importance of strategically planning a list of things you need to do to get to where you want to be. 
  • Discovering and enjoying that process for herself led her into the registered training organisation sector and eventually owning an RTO herself. A subsequent opportunity to provide her service to a civil construction project introducing her to the construction industry.         

7:08 Lauren asks Cathy to elaborate and share her thoughts on the process of designing a career pathway.

  • In an instant gratification world, Cathy feels that people are generally impatient and that they tend to limit themselves when it comes to planning their future. She goes on to explain that high school students and people in their 20’s are too young and far too inexperienced to figure out what they should do for the next 50 years of their lives, expressing the importance of being highly adaptable.  
  • Cathy firmly believes that it is possible to enjoy what we do for a living. To love your work, she believes it is crucial that you enjoy the pathway to your desired career, and if you don’t, she recommends moving on and assures that you can always find ways to apply the skills you have acquired in that process .
  • For Cathy, having a mindset to continuously learn and grow is the best way to be prepared when opportunity strikes and therefore always welcomes a new learning experience.

15:30 Lauren and Cathy discuss gender representation in the construction industry.

  • Cathy states the most enjoyable aspect of her current role is working with different types of personalities that come together to execute a project. Reflecting on her own experience, she admits the construction industry might not be an obvious consideration to build a career as a woman, however, she sees this as an opportunity to improve gender representation and bring diverse backgrounds into the construction sector.  

19:30 Cathy believes flexible working arrangements benefit men and women.

  • Raising kids is a shared responsibility and flexible working arrangements allow dads to be there for their children. Cathy says the emerging recruitment trend shows men now seek flexible working arrangements to enable them to fulfil their responsibility as a parent.   
  • This would also encourage more women to join the industry.
  • Resisting shifts in working culture leads to loss of industry talent and discourages new talents to join the industry.

21:15 Cathy explores ways for people working jobs with odd hours to manage their parental responsibilities and keep their job that they love.

  • She highlights the mismatch between the opening hours of childcare services and industries with odd hours. She believes better coordination between industries that depend on each other, or exploring technology that could make work and working hours more accessible would encourage people to keep their jobs and the industry to retain their talents and attract more people.   

24:31 Lauren asks Cathy what advice she would give to people considering changing industries.

  • Cathy recommends engaging with people currently in that role and industry to learn more and test your assumptions. She believes considering the pros and the cons as well as the effort it would take to get there, would help the person make the right decision.
  • Cathy emphasises that there is usually more than one pathway to getting there. She illustrates this by using her classmates as an example. There are a group of young students who’ve discovered what they want to pursue early in life, others with industry experience looking to advance their knowledge and qualifications, and yet another group who have come from a different background pursuing their interest and looking to make a switch. She reinforces her idea that there is no right approach.

30:00 Cathy shares values she would like to instil in her children.

  • She wants her children to enjoy what they do and encourages them to always look for ways to make an experience enjoyable. She also strives to find out what makes her children happy and appreciative.  

33:05 Lauren recognises the importance of having mentors and asks Cathy about her mentors in life.

  • Early in her career, working in an admin role, her service manager recognised her ability to draw a crowd and offered her to become a trainer. Cathy shares that having someone who could see what she was capable of before she even knew it made a big difference in her life. That opportunity showed her what she was capable of and what she enjoyed doing, inspiring her to build a career out of it.  

  35:00 Cathy reinforces the importance of doing what you love.

  • Cathy acknowledges the responsibility to making a living, but she believes money alone should not determine what you do. She says it is equally important to ensure that you enjoy what you do in order for it to be sustainable. 

35:39 Cathy explains the legacy she would like to leave in the world.

  • Cathy hopes to leave people around her energised and hopeful. She recognises the importance of taking care of your team or people around you so that everyone can do well in life. 

You can connect with Cathy on LinkedIn.  

About your host: 

Lauren Karan, Director and Founder of Karan & Co

With over a decade of experience as a recruiter and development coach, Lauren Karan found that her priorities rapidly changed after the birth of her two children. In 2022 she founded Karan & Co flipping the out-dated recruitment model with a focus on retention through career coaching and development. 

Lauren believes that If opportunity doesn’t knock, you have to build a door – and it’s this same philosophy that inspired her to create the Building Doors podcast.  

The Building Doors podcast is for anyone undergoing a transformation in their life. Regardless of whether you feel stuck in your current role, need some inspiration on what steps to take next, want to learn how to level up as a business owner or simply want to listen to the experiences of successful entrepreneurs and industry professionals, the Building Doors podcast is all about unlocking your potential.

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In case you missed it:

You can listen to our previous episode here


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Lauren Karan

Lauren Karan

Lauren has over 12 years’ experience as a Technical and Engineering specialist recruiting in the building and civil construction markets. She holds a degree in psychology, accreditation in behavioural interviewing and psychometric testing and is also a certified organisational coach. Lauren is the Director, Recruitment Specialist, Certified Organisational Coach of Karan & Co.