​Broadspectrum’s leaders: Paula Wilson

This is an occasional series about Broadspectrum’s leaders. By sharing their stories, it’s an opportunity to celebrate our people, their successes and their diversity. In the words of inaugural interviewee, Karen O’Driscoll, “Our leaders have real lives too, and have had learned through challenges, successes and mistakes that they can share with a wider audience.”

“Canada.” This is Paula Wilson’s answer when asked where she was before joining Broadspectrum. “The answer confuses and amuses people. But it’s the answer to that question, and it informs the decisions I’ve made since returning to Australia.”

Paula is the Community Liaison Manager for the Automatic Train Protection (ATP) contract, joining Broadspectrum in February. It’s a part-time role, which for Paula was part of the attraction.

“My husband and I lived in Vancouver for four years, moving for his career and the skiing. I didn’t work in Canada, for a few reasons, so the concept of returning to a full-time role back in Australia was not overly that very attractive,” she said.

Another attraction was Paula worked for Transfield Services 12 years ago, and remains friends with her previous co-workers Leasa Beasley and Melanie Riding.

“Leasa forwarded me the role knowing my geography. I interviewed with the contract manager, Richard Meacock, and here I am,” she said.

Returning to a previous employer was something Paula thought about, but Broadspectrum is a different organisation to Transfield Services. “While some things and people are familiar, the company is no longer ASX-listed which played a big part of my previous role in the corporate communications team. And being embedded in a project has a different feel too.”

Her previous role was communications support for the resources group and the Transfield Services Infrastructure Fund. “The fund was separately listed on the ASX, and it owned and operated a number of assets, including four wind farms.

Balancing part-time work has been relatively straight-forward. “We don’t have kids,” Paula offers as explanation.

There is the occasional work on Paula’s days off. “I’ve said to the ATP team many a time, ‘I’m paid to answer the phone every day’, particularly when the team works on weekends.”

Broadspectrum is installing ATP across much of the Sydney Trains and NSW TrainLink electrified network on behalf of Transport for NSW. The technology will provide real-time information about speed limits and signal locations to train drivers and network operations teams, and will provide additional safety benefits and more reliable services by ensuring trains operate within the permitted speed limit.

“The project itself was compelling, and another part of the attraction, and it’s provided some interesting work.

“This is my second community relations role, with the balance of my career spent in generalist corporate communications roles in a range of industries. I’ve worked mainly in heavy industry – mining, oil and gas, maritime, and manufacturing – so rail and transport was not scary.

“I can talk engineer. Or at least I think I can,” she said.