Portrait of Anita Foley
Experienced People

Anita Foley

Operations Director

Consultancy, MENA

Anita has been with Mace for over 17 years since joining the graduate programme in 1999. Starting as an assistant cost manager in London she now manages some of our biggest projects in the Middle East from design through to completion.

How did you get into what you do?

I completed degrees in quantity surveying and construction management at Nottingham Trent University and during that time I worked for 18 months on the Sydney Olympics.

After returning from Australia my lecturer introduced me to Mace, which he described as a company that thought outside the box and only employed the best. It was also a burgeoning international company at the time which meant there were opportunities to work abroad again. I was intrigued, so I applied for the graduate programme and have been with Mace ever since.

What do you enjoy most about working at Mace?

It has to be the people. I get to support excellent teams and get to know the skills, personalities and interests of them. I like to get to know people and understand what makes them tick - what makes them get up in the morning. I try to appeal to their personalities and align development objectives and aspirations. Most of all I love what I learn from my colleagues and the projects we work on. In construction no day is ever the same and we are always learning.

What are you proud of at Mace?

The instances where I've really enhanced a client’s perception of Mace. I've worked with some very demanding clients over the years and it's always rewarding when the hardest taskmasters give you the biggest praise.

What skills do you need to be good at your job?

Apart from the obvious technical knowledge there is a need for soft skills in the construction industry. Emotional intelligence, empathy, humility and being a good listener are all strong traits when working with people. The relationships we form are the backbone of our business; from billion dollar corporations to small operation contractors to passionate local communities, they're all equally important but require very different consideration.

What advice would you give to someone looking to get into what you do?

Getting as much experience as possible is key. Get involved with as many different projects, geographies and opportunities as possible and always be receptive to learn from the good and the bad - as they say: "sometimes you win, sometimes you learn".

What do you see as the big trend for project management in the next five years?

In the MENA region we go through some pretty rapid cyclical movement. However, the desire to develop and build is always there. Clients are seeking better value for money so we need to stay ahead of our competitors and demonstrate how we can deliver that value. Clients want a quick return on investment and we need to help them achieve that.

What are you passionate about outside of work?

I’m a mother to two young boys. They are my passion and my priority is to help them grow and develop into worldly wise men. They have a fantastic life here in Dubai and I hope I’m a good role model for them as a working mum.

Portrait of Anita Foley

“The relationships we form are the backbone of our business; from billion dollar corporations to small operation contractors to passionate local communities, they're all equally important but require very different consideration.”