Senior Project Manager
Since joining Mace in 2021, Shradha Mishra has quickly become an integral member of the Leeds team delivering a ground-breaking contract with the Sheffield Hallam University, Hallam Alliance. As a Senior Project Manager within that team, Shradha has a single-minded focus on continuous improvement and professional growth - and on developing best-in-class facilities in the world of higher education.
- How did you get into what you do?
- I joined the University of Lincoln Estates Department in 2014 as a Communications Officer. This was my first foray into the world of construction and my main role was to share the great work being carried out by the estates team on both capital development and maintenance across the estate. As I developed within this role, it was clear that the next opportunity was to move into project management. My line manager at the time always said to me, and this is something that has stuck with me ever since, that the key to being a successful project manager is the ability to communicate with a wider range of audiences. I was given the opportunity to interview for an Assistant Project Manager position within the department and progressed into a full Project Manager role within 18 months. I’m fascinated by the world of construction and am keen help break the bias around young women in management roles within the industry.
- What do you enjoy most about your current role at Mace?
Since joining Mace, I’ve had the great opportunity to be involved with the Sheffield Hallam University Hallam Alliance. The first of its kind in higher education, working on a ground-breaking contract with industry leaders is a fantastic experience and I feel privileged to be part of the team. I find the wide range of expertise within Mace particularly exciting too - working with designers, construction professionals and a multi-disciplinary consult team has helped me to develop my own knowledge really quickly.
I’ve also found that Mace provides a great sense of team and place. Though many colleagues are spread across the country and working remotely, you’re always made to feel part of a close-knit team and supported along the way by a wider network. Since joining the Leeds team, I’ve also seen great support for graduates and apprentices to develop their careers.
- How do you redefine the boundaries of ambition?
The Alliance model is a ground-breaking approach to contracting and Sheffield Hallam University is the first in the higher education to adopt the new model. I’m proud to be working on this project, redefining how higher education projects are delivered and I’m keen to share best practice in the sector.
The Alliance model brings together partners working towards a shared goal with a “pain and gain” mechanism. Working alongside Sheffield Hallam University and partners at BAM Construction, BDP/ Arup and CBRE, the model is already starting to pay dividends for the University with greater supply chain input from a very early stage and improved standardisation of design through retained knowledge from scheme to scheme.
- What has been your proudest achievement at Mace so far?
- Since joining Mace, my biggest achievement has been working to review the Hallam Alliance schemes. The schemes were going through a particularly challenging time with changes in personnel and significant cost pressures. Coming from a client background, I’ve been able to use my past experience of how universities operate to influence the change process within the Alliance’s ways of working. It’s extremely useful to be able to use my past experience in a positive way to influence change, improve processes and build real relationships with a key client for Mace.
- Why Mace?
- When I was looking for my next role, I was keen to move to an organisation that would support me in becoming a more well-rounded project manager. Having been a client PM for several years, the natural progression was towards a more consultancy-based business and Mace stood out to me due to the breadth of services offered, the offer having its own construction engine and working on ground-breaking projects with great clients.
- What motivates you every day?
- A big motivator for me is continuous improvement. For me, being a project manager is all about being open to change, new ways of working, learning from the experts around you and being able to adapt to different situations on a daily basis. Working at Mace gives me the opportunity to interact with such a wide range of colleagues, clients, and industries – and never fails to keep me on my toes! I’m extremely ambitious and always looking to that next challenge.
- What skills do you need to be good at your job?
The key to being an effective project manager is the ability to communicate. My degree and experience in public relations and people management have been integral to my ability to successfully manage large-scale construction projects from a client’s perspective, and now moving into a more independent project management and advisory role. The essence of project management is to manage expectations with a wide range of people and key to this is knowing how to adapt your management style to suit the recipient. I’ve had the opportunity to work with clients, design consultants and main contractors, as well as the sub-contractors with boots on the ground, all of whom require nuances in approach and communication.
Another key skill is the ability to accept and deal with change. Though each construction project may follow the same processes, each one will have their own distinct challenges which require the project manager to be able to shift focus, upskill themselves where required and positively react to change.
- What advice would you give to someone looking to get into what you do?
Go for it! The biggest regret you can have is to not try. The construction industry ranges far and wide and there is an opportunity here for anyone with an interest in the built environment. Project management is a diverse field, and you have the ability to develop your own style of managing projects. The good thing is, there’s no right or wrong answer, just your conviction in carrying out your duties.
The industry is constantly growing, and we need individuals open to new ways of working, being able to influence real change and those who are conscious about our impact on the planet.
It’s so important to be a people person in this role; learning how to interact with CEOs and directors, all the way to operatives on the ground and the end users of the spaces you’re creating.
- What are you passionate about outside of work?
- A big passion of mine is actually architectural photography – a perfect hobby for someone who works in construction! Being able to photograph some of the sites I work on also helps me save those memories, of all the great projects and teams I’ve been able to be involved with. I sit here now in my office looking at photos of my three favourite projects and fondly remember the experiences each gave me!
“Working at Mace gives me the opportunity to interact with such a wide range of colleagues, clients, and industries – and never fails to keep me on my toes!”