Until 10 years ago, Beverley Martin was a full-time mother - now she's managing a £3m airport project
How did you get into project management?
When I was younger, all I wanted was to get married and have children. But as my kids reached their teens I took on a job at BAA as a personal assistant to the operations development director. At that time I still needed to balance my work and home life and the PA role enabled me to do this. As my children got older, I moved into a role in customer services at BAA. I dealt with daily operational issues within Heathrow's Terminal 3 and the role involved me working alongside a construction team, delivering projects in the terminal. I also delivered a number of small projects myself to improve terminal operations. I thought, hang on, I'd like to do this. Some people said, "Oh no, you've got to be technical", but a lot of people make things sound more difficult than they actually are. If I can bring up two children successfully, what bigger project is there?
What project are you working on at the moment?
I'm helping to manage a £3m project to introduce new kiosks in a busy area of Terminal 3. There are 13 groups working on the project, including cost integrators and architects.
Do you think you would have been able to do this job with young children?
If I need to work late now, it's not a problem. But, before, I wouldn't have been able to give the commitment needed to achieve what I have over the past few years. However, we've got a director here who has children under the age of 10. So it is possible.
What is it like to work in a male-dominated industry?
I feel that I've had to work harder in order to prove myself because I'm female. One-to-one interaction with team members is fine, but it can be harder work if I'm dealing with a predominantly male team in a group situation. If one mistake is made then they will all draw attention to it. Delivering strong results has helped me gain respect and so results delivery is a key driver for me - I've become very results-focused. What's also important is that I haven't changed my personality to fit into this role.
What advice would you give to women thinking of a career in this sector?
If you have the support and are given the opportunity, the world is your oyster. This may sound clichéd but I really believe it. Everything I have achieved is through my own merit. However, I could never have achieved what I have without the support of my husband who on numerous occasions would prepare dinner when I had to work late and who would provide therapy sessions free of charge!
Employment history A full-time mother until 1995, then took a PA role at BAA. In 2000, moved to a customer services role. Is now a project manager at Heathrow Terminal 3.
Qualifications Left school at 16 with six CSEs. Is currently qualifying to become a member of the Association of Project Managers
Family Husband Andrew, 26-year-old stepdaughter Victoria, 22-year-old son James and 19-year-old daughter Lucy
Lives Ruislip, west London