The Lendlease project director reveals her favourite project, the trait that gets under her skin and a love for cake

Why did you choose construction as a career?

Anna 001 (1)

Anna Evans is a Lendlease project director

Because Bobby Robson didn’t pick me for the England football team!

What are you most proud to have worked on?

Joseph Rowntree School in York. This was one of the first two pilots for Building Schools for the Future. We spent 18 months working directly with the students and staff at the school to develop our final design – after all, they would be the ones working and learning in the space.

It was a really rewarding way to approach a development that allowed us get under the skin of the problems that they were facing and come up with workable solutions. I still meet former students now who remember being part of that experience and how positive it was – and several now work in the industry as a result.

The values I learnt from this continue to inspire me today. I always look to search out those opportunities to maximise the social value benefits we can create to the communities we work within.

What has been your biggest career challenge to date?

After 30 years in the civil service as a public servant, the move to the contractor side was a big change for me. It has been a real eye opener and I have realised I can continue to make a positive social impact from this side of things – where I gain the most job satisfaction.

If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?

I would love to see a more diverse workforce. It is the only way to generate the widest range of thinking, which is so crucial in the built environment.

Listening and learning from colleagues who come with a wealth of experience and from different backgrounds is the way we can achieve optimum solutions, the highest levels of innovation and the best quality standards.

Most helpful advice you were given?

Never be afraid to ask the obvious. If you are thinking it, then you can bet half the room is thinking it too. There is no such thing as a “dumb question”. Get it out there and start the conversation.

York Minstre


Favourite building: the breath-taking York Minster

What is your favourite building in the world?

York Minster. York is my home and the minster stands proud in the centre of the city. It never fails to take my breath away when I turn a corner and am met with its striking silhouette.

The Rose window is beautiful. It took 250 years to build and I am over-awed by the dedication it must have taken to complete.

What single piece of advice would you give to someone just starting out in your profession?

Never forget that this industry is all about people: the people we work with; the people that we have a positive social impact on during our projects; the people who enjoy the products of our labour and the future generations to come for whom we have duty to protect their planet.

Who do you most admire in the construction industry?

My team. Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life forever.

What famous building do you wish you had worked on?

The Empire State Building. It was designed and built in 20 months. What a ground-breaking project to have been a part of – and so ahead of its time in terms of integration and efficiency. I have a copy of the bill of quantities. There are so many standardised components. We talk about modern methods of construction today but, for me, it started back in 1929.

Which famous building do you most dislike?

I don’t vehemently dislike any building. Some are utilitarian, some ornate, some unique but every building has a purpose.

Empire State Building


Ahead of its time: the Empire State Building

What’s it like being you?

Brilliant. Busy… and bonkers (at times)!

What do you think your best quality is?


What trait do you most dislike in yourself? And in other people?

Me? Procrastination. In other people? Self-centred people who don’t know how to be a team player.

Do you have a life philosophy?

In the words of Dr Seuss: Be who you are and say what you think. Because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.

Name three things that you like

Music, sport, long walks with my dog… in fact that sums up my perfect weekend

What’s a secret skill we don’t know you have?

I can do a great impression of Fergal Sharkey. My Perfect Cousin by the Undertones is my go-to karaoke.



Who doesn’t like cake?

What’s your most prized possession?

My late dad’s artwork.

Early bird or night owl?

Early bird. I love to get out early as the site comes alive and spend time talking to the workforce to make sure they are set up for a safe working day.

What’s your favourite food?

Cake. Of course!

What would your superpower be?

Global peacemaker

Anna Evans is Lendlease’s project director for the Perry Barr residential scheme, Birmingham council’s largest residential project