Mace People

Sandra Davies

Associate Director, Pharma & Life Sciences

Consult, UK

With over 18 years in the industry, chartered chemical engineer, Sandra Davies, brings with her a passion for the sector that dates all the way back to childhood. With experience across a number of highly regulated sectors - from nuclear to water and chemicals - Sandra now leads projects and multi-disciplinary teams on behalf of Mace Consult’s Pharma clients, while at the same time, supporting colleagues on their own career journeys toward chartership.

How did you get into what you do?

At school I had a passion for maths, chemistry and physics and so pursuing a career in chemical engineering seemed like a natural progression for me. Even at the age of 18, I was asked quite often, ‘Why do you want to do that? It doesn’t seem like a career for a girl to get into’. But I think there are a lot of misconceptions about engineering. In reality, it’s interesting, ever-changing and can open the door to a wide scope of industries and roles. My perseverance in pursuing this career has paid off and when I think about the journey I’ve made from my first day as the only female engineer in an office to now, I’m so happy to see that the door is now wide open to young woman today, who want to pursue a similar path.

What do you enjoy most about your current role at Mace?

One of the reasons I joined Mace is because it was very clear to me that they recognise the value of diversity and experience from other industries. I lead the IChemE accredited company training scheme, supporting our people achieve chartership with the Institution of Chemical Engineers and head up capability across our Consult Pharma business, as well as starting up a Subject Matter Expert network across Mace to provide colleagues with quick access to specialist expertise. I’m also setting up a community of practices across technical disciplines to create a structure that allows project managers to promote best practice, share training and build common capability, all of which supports our clients to meet their ambitions for their projects and programmes.

What changes have you seen in the industry over your career?
When I first started my career, there were too few female role models at all levels, from junior engineer, to middle and senior management. But companies like Mace have been working hard to change this. Promoting ways to ensure a more diverse and inclusive workforce, pave the way for the future and not let unconscious bias inform in recruitment or promotions.
What's your proudest achievement at Mace so far?

My proudest achievement since joining Mace is getting the IChemE company training scheme reaccredited, which is an important part of our plans at Mace to attract and retain the best people in the industry.

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

Strong analytical and logical thinkers, as well as being organised, visionary, creative and persistent to get the job done!

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

My top tips are:

  1. Stay true to yourself: learn from others but don't change yourself. Get to know yourself and what you’re best at. Don’t change to fit into the norm – be you!
  2. Don't pigeonhole yourself: as an engineer you have many transferable skills across industries – e.g., highly regulated nuclear to pharma – so say yes to different opportunities!
What do you see as the benefits of diverse teams?
I’m so pleased to see Mace embrace diversity of experience and expertise across projects. Diverse groups of people of different ages, backgrounds, skills, knowledge and thoughts can bring new and innovative perspectives to the table. We shouldn’t be constrained by the assumed limitations and norms of our own professional world. A multiplicity of perspectives can spark creativity  and help organisations spot and seize new opportunities.

“My proudest achievement since joining the business is getting the IChemE Company Training Scheme reaccredited, which is an important part of our plans at Mace to attract and retain the best people in the industry.”