Born in Perth, a city on the west coast of Australia, Shadi Kazeme was always fascinated by science, medicine, and engineering growing up. Upon graduating from high school, she ambitiously pursued a STEM-based post-secondary education, earning separate degrees in both biomedical science and pharmacological studies. After that, Shadi Kazeme experienced a change of heart regarding the direction of her career and enrolled in a program of construction and building management, earning her diploma soon thereafter. She then took a job as a contracts administrator at a top firm. These days, Shadi Kazeme works in Melbourne, Australia as a project manager in commercial construction and demolition, drawing on more than 8 years of experience in that field.

What do you love most about the industry you are in?

The thing I love most about the construction industry is that it’s forever changing. It evolves and changes constantly, which keeps my job exciting. As someone once said: variety is the spice of life!

What does a typical day consist of for you?

A typical morning starts with me having a 6 am swim at St. Kilda Sea Baths and a dip in the Port Phillip Bay. From there, I grab my morning coffee and read the paper, head back home for a shower, and get myself ready for work. I’m usually in the office by 8 am. After that, it totally depends on what particular project I’m working on. The tasks for any given work day vary wildly for me. I might be negotiating with contractors and subcontractors, I might be overseeing the construction of a hospital, I might be building a daycare facility—so, after my usual morning routine, there’s often nothing I can point to as typical.

What keeps you motivated?

My family keeps me motivated. My parents taught me to work hard and dream big. Whenever I feel a little uninspired or down in the doldrums, I just think back to that.

How do you maintain a solid work life balance?

To ensure I that I have a good work/life balance, I switch my mind off with a book or some meditation about an hour before I eat dinner. I usually take my evening meal at 7 pm, meaning on a normal evening I’ll switch off at 6 pm. Then I tend to listen to music or watch a film with my partner. These activities are not major, but they help to ensure that I take a break from thinking about work.

What traits do you possess that make a successful leader?

To begin with, I’m a good communicator. That’s a key trait in the construction industry, where a single miscommunication can translate into setbacks that take hours or even days from which to recover. Also, I’m really determined and driven—I would even go so far as to describe myself as tenacious. I stay very organized, and I’m good at delegating tasks to my team according to their strong points. These are all traits that should be present in a successful leader.

What suggestions do you have for someone starting in your industry?

Learn as much as you can every day. That being said, the construction industry isn’t like high school, university, or college—it’s extremely hand-on. As such, it’s counterproductive to hang back on a job site taking detailed notes. No, it’s definitely best to make sure to place yourself in the middle of the action because that’s where you’ll learn the most the quickest.

What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?

To slow down and let life do its thing. Everything takes time. You can’t have everything yesterday.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to others?

Time heals everything. If you are not happy where you are today, keep chipping away and things will change over a long enough timeframe.

What is the biggest life lesson you have learned?

The biggest life lesson I’ve learned is to simply be present; to slow down and enjoy the moment. You will never have this moment back again.

Outside of work, what defines you as a person?

I’m a very family-oriented person. I love seeing the people I love smiling and happy. I don’t let any one particular thing define me, but many aspects of my life and personality make me who I am.

Where do you see you and your company in 5 years?

In five years, I hope to be in a much more senior role in the company, something more in line with a directorship role. My plan is to stay on, further establish myself through proper conduct and good results, and continue to deal with multi-million dollar projects to enhance my skillset.