International Women's Day - Sarah Jamieson
Sarah (Sez) Jamieson
Commercial Manager / Master Plumbers, Gasfitters and Drainlayers Board Member
BOP Plumbing & Gas
What do you do in your current role?
Human Resources, Monthly financial accounts, Business Development, Marketing, Governance.
What do you particularly enjoy about it?
I really enjoy getting my head into the numbers. Working our where we are making good money and where we can tighten our belts. I ensure the business development side of things. My OCD likes to have good systems and processes and making sure these are well documented.
How long have you been with your organisation?
Aaron and I started BOP Plumbing & Gas in September 2013, so 10 years this year.
How do you find working in a male dominated industry?
The barriers are definitely slowly coming down. When I first entered the industry it very much felt like an old boys club and they weren’t that interested in a females perspective as it was a trades industry and what would we know. Now I think a lot of the men out there have seen the value a women’s perspective can have on an organisation in varying roles, including women on the tools.
Have you encountered any specific challenges?
I think the biggest challenge has been getting people to understand the value of the team in the office, quite often people think that because they are not the ones out there earning the money” they are not worth as much, however what we have learned is without the office cog working well, the rest of the structure falls apart.
Another challenge was getting the older tradespeople to accept that women were able to be plumbers, gasfitters & drainlayers and that the barriers they thought existed were actually their own barriers not ones that actually existed for women. I used to get comments like, “what happens if you rub past them when you are working in a tight space”, they would be able to lift the same as a male” etc.
In terms of me personally, not really, I am quite a strong person and not afraid to express my opinion. People don’t have to agree with me as that is what makes the world a great place, that people have different perspectives and outlooks.
Please share any standout moments in your life.
I left school at the age of 16 and went flatting and have worked ever since. I started studying accounting, working full time while studying part-time to get my Accounting Degree. The very first essay I had to write was just one massive paragraph which I sent through to my sister to proof, she used track changes and taught me over the course of my degree how to write correctly. Sitting exams (and there were about 16 of them) was really tough as I did not really care at school so did not learn how to study for an exam.
The day I graduated (kind of comes behind our wedding day and the birth of our children now) was one of the best moments in my life. I felt like I had finally achieved something, found something I enjoyed and had finally given my parents a reason to be proud of me.
What does your organisation do for inclusion and diversity?
At BOP Plumbing & Gas we have a wide range of diversity, from Pakeha, Maori, Fijian Indian, Korean and we are about to hire a South African. We also have a good mixture of females and males both in the office and on the tools. We celebrate everyone’s birthdays, and work anniversaries.
What or who inspires you?
Other successful women. I love watching fellow Wahine in Aotearoa succeeding in Business or sport or whatever makes them happy.
What do you wish you had known before you started in your profession?
How hard being a business owner actually is.
What would you tell another woman interested in the plumbing, gasfitting and drainlaying industry?
Go for it. If you love variety and want to be skilled in multiple trades, this is definitely the industry for you.
International Women's Day is about a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that's diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women's equality.
Find out more: www.internationalwomensday.com