With over 8 years of service at St Hilliers, @Viona Lim started as an Accountant and progressed to the role of Financial Controller in 2017. She is currently responsible for the overall financial strategy and direction of key business functions at St Hilliers and is a vital member of our team.
Viona took some time to explain her journey in the construction industry and the personal growth that has contributed to the experience and maturity she’s so valued for at St Hilliers.
Read more of her story below.
What year did you start in the Construction Industry?
Since then, what challenges have you encountered?
Firstly, understanding the cycle of the industry – ie it is not linear as it would be in a service industry. Secondly, focus on key areas such as safety and site resource planning that plays a big part on project progress and financials.
Thinking of your personal and personality traits prior to entering this industry, what traits do you now possess? Would you accredit this personal growth to working in a male dominated industry?
I spent most of my 20’s in Construction. Certainly, there has been personal growth that contributes to the experience and maturity.
The experience was daunting at first, however after a period of time, you need to really deal with it at the face value. I am a real believer that the first step to gender equality is to behave and act as if everyone is equal.
Do you believe the construction industry is heading in a positive direction for females? If so, why?
Yes, I think the industry supports it, the key players encourage it and there is inherent “want” that the community sees through it. My take on it is, there needs to be equal opportunity regardless of gender without overcompensating for the sake of headcount.
You’ve worked for St Hilliers for 8 years now, starting in 2013. What would you say the culture is surrounding internal growth encouragement and direction success?
These apply to all levels:
- Clear communication
- Accountability / Sense of ownership
- Working with people who share the same values and outcomes
If you could in still any words of wisdom for the new and upcoming females within our industry, what advice would you give?
Speak up and have the confidence to cease the opportunity when presented to you.
A while back, I attended a seminar which highlighted something that I thought was interesting. The speaker mentioned the difference between a male and a female when presented with an opportunity…
Male: Yes, I can do it! (deal with the detail and consequences later)
Female: Umm… let me think about this. I think….yes?
I cannot verify whether this actually happens, although I suspect it is really down to personality. What is interesting though, is when you have the self-confidence, you will realise that you have always had the capacity and capability.
Cease the opportunity!
What has been the most surprising part of being a woman working in construction?
That you are not the only one. I have attended various NAWIC events and the amount of woman working in construction is just astounding, and in a wide variety of roles – Finance, site based roles, Consultants, etc.
Why did you choose construction? What was your influence?
It was an opportunity for me to learn a new booming industry, I was working for a software development company prior to this.
If you could thank anyone in this industry to date, who would it be and why?
Thank you to all the guys and ladies on site who are working through wind, heat and rain. You’re the heroes of this industry.
What has been your highlight since being with St Hilliers?
There have been many! I will always cherish the outtings and planning sessions we have with different teams. It was such an honour to be asked to take part in St Hilliers’ 30th year anniversary. What a journey and I’m excited for many more decades to come.
Lastly, is there anything that would surprise us about you?
I am into origami and building 3D models in my spare time. So, I guess in a way, I am in the right industry!