Experienced People

Barbara Welch

Director of Western Europe & Global Clients

Consultancy, UK and Europe

At university Barbara was sponsored by the RAF and the Royal Academy of Engineering and, through a leadership award at the academy, experienced some interesting projects around the world. After graduating, Barbara joined Mace and nearly two decades later has an amazing career that enables her to use her experience right across western Europe for our global clients.

How did your past career lead you to Mace?

The STEM subjects I studied through school matched nicely with an engineering degree and after a lot of research, and careers advisors telling me, “construction isn’t for women” (red rag to a bull!), I chose to study civil engineering.

Although I had secured a place in the RAF, I applied for three jobs. I was offered them all but my mind was already made up: during the interview process, I met one of the founding directors of Mace and I knew that this was a company I wanted to be a part of. Nearly two decades later, I've had an amazing career and the reasons I joined Mace still hold true today.

Why construction?
I chose to study civil engineering because it aligned with some of my academic strengths and because of my fascination about the world around me. Every minute of every day, people come into contact with the amazing work an engineer does. From turning on the tap in the morning, to commuting to work and spending time at home, engineering is all around us and makes a huge difference to everyone’s lives. That's why I chose construction.
What do you enjoy most about your current role at Mace?
My role draws on my strengths and experiences from working across a variety of sectors, service offers and geographies. I'm able to use these skills to support talented teams in providing excellent service to our clients. I really enjoy helping talented people to thrive, work hard together and achieve their own goals and aspirations. We come to work as individuals; but together we are a lot more than the sum of our parts. It's great to be part of a high performing team.
What have been your proudest achievement at Mace?
I really enjoyed my time on The Venetian in Macau as it harnessed all the skills I had developed across project and programme management, and construction of a mega project. It was also my first overseas project. Having lived as an expat as a child, I really enjoyed moving overseas again and embracing the challenge.
What skills do you need to be good at your job?
Energy, enthusiasm and a passion for doing things right. I used my strong, broad foundation of UK experience to build a wealth of international experience which is invaluable when working with global clients.
What advice would you give to someone looking to get into what you do?

I would say, “believe in yourself and you will fly as high as your dreams can take you”. From a more fundamental perspective, it depends on your age and where you are at in your career. STEM subjects are a huge help, particularly for a technical career, so for someone who is still at school, I would recommend taking science, technology, engineering and maths related subjects.

After that, go with your strengths and balance those with your values and aspirations. For me, travel and working in different countries was hugely important and has played a key part of my career, but that doesn’t work for everyone. Choose the path that works best for you, find a mentor, take lots of advice and don’t be scared to do what you want as opposed to what someone else wants - only you know what's best for you. Embrace every opportunity and don’t sit in your comfort zone.

What might someone be surprised to know about you?
I can solve a Rubik’s cube. How quick? Ask me.
Barbara Welch, Director - Western Europe & Global Clients, Consultancy

“We come to work as individuals; but together we are a lot more than the sum of our parts. It's great to be part of a high performing team.”