Q&A with Danielle Weddell – Being a Female Leader in a male dominated world

We’ve chosen to feature Danielle Weddell as an inspirational woman for a number of reasons. Firstly, due to her taking on a leadership role and working over many years to be in the position she’s in now. Another great reason we’re delighted to feature Danielle is due to her experiences of working as a woman in the male-dominated working environment of construction.


In our Q&A with her, she told us about what issues she’s faced and how she got to where she is today.

What was your first job?

My first job was working on the reception of a busy civil engineering company in Edinburgh. A role which paved the way for my career in the building industry.


What barriers have you faced in your career?

Sometimes, even now, ageism can be an issue. Being young can lead someone to assume you don’t know what you’re doing or what you’re saying. Luckily, so far in my career, I have proved them wrong.


What motivated you to keep going?

The interest I have in my work and belief in who I work for. This gives me the determination and confidence to ask questions and participate in the growing success of our company.


Tell us a bit about your current role.

Currently, I am the branch manager working with a team of 10, including warehouse, sales and drivers. Branch manager role includes responsibilities of health & safety, personnel, transport, sales, customers, suppliers and meeting our budgets for sales and operating profits.


How do you ensure that you are an inspiring leader?

By sharing all my knowledge with my team and always asking their opinion. I feel this helps us all connect and remain a tight strong unit.


What do you think we need to do to break down barriers in the workplace?

Sharing information, having everyone in the team involved in all aspects of the business. No job should be beneath anyone regardless of position as we all should have one aim together.


What qualifications helped you get to where you are?

I left school at 16 with 6 general standard grades, none of which really apply to my job at the moment. Once employed with PDM I was put forward for the Management Development Course and achieved a pass with distinction. The course taught me a variety of key skills which I use on a daily basis in my career.


Does diversity really help organisations?

Absolutely it does. Everyone has different work and life experiences and collectively this gives organisations the edge over others by being open to anything or anyone.


What are your proudest achievements?

Receiving a distinction pass for the Management Programme I completed and becoming branch manager of the team I had worked with since I was 18.


What do you say to your male colleagues about equality?

I would challenge anyone to prove to me why a male or a female could do a job better than the other purely due to their gender, this could end up in a lengthy debate but probably would be a mumble of words and conversation over!


Why is “yes she can” important to you?

To prove to everyone, not just females but males too, we all should receive equal amounts of respect through the job we do and how well we do it, not just because we’re female or male.


What would you say to your 16-year-old self now?

Be confident and work hard, there is no silly question when learning.


What three tips would you give to young females starting their careers?

  • Be confident.

  • Question everything until its clear in your own head.

  • Action what you say rather than just saying it.


If you could change one thing about the working world what would it be?

To stop so much talking with so little action!


What did you think of Danielle’s story? Did it leave you wanting more? On #YesSheCan we have featured loads of blogs about women working in construction. One great one is about Katy Kelleher, the woman who operates the tallest crane in the UK.

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