I am a creative, but not in that typical sense. I love the process of creating something new where there was once nothing. I am more intrigued with how something goes together, which is how I discovered the Masters in Construction. Immediately I found a world that intrigued me, challenged me and pushed me to grow.
I am an ambitious and driven construction leader. I have been in the construction industry for 7 years. Time flies when you are having fun! I did architecture as an undergraduate, but I found it wasn’t aligned with my personality. I am very logical and structured, I love process and definitely love money.
Within the first year I got a job with a small builder and the rest is history. I worked my way up the career ladder, I found what worked for me and what doesn’t. I have always been on front end delivery; I love to get shit done, really quickly! While there is the whole range of wins and challenges in life on site, I love the dynamic nature of the industry.
In my first role, I learnt a lot and learnt quickly. I knew nothing about everything. My site manager used to jokingly call me a bollard as I would stand so still on site, in my brand new fluoro vest. The confidence of pace, construction terminology and banter with trades takes time and good people around you. I was nothing like I am now.
The Construction Coach was founded out of a drive to help the next generation who are like I was and where I was. Naïve, unprepared, ill-equipped with no knowledge of possible career paths. When I was at University, the job everyone wanted was ‘Project Manager’, which in reality may be the goal, the stepping stone or the nightmare for those of us in the industry.
The Construction Coach all began with an idea one Easter break. I wasn’t sleeping, I stayed up all night learning how to build a website, a blog, registering an ABN, frantically writing down ideas and figuring out what I wanted it to be. The blog has evolved and branched out to a private mentoring service, group workshops, events and now a podcast. I see it as a response to industry shortfall.
I’m launching a podcast called Constructing You, which shares the stories of the people behind the projects. It’s about who they are, what they have done and who they have become to achieve what they have. It’s here to show people what is possible out of their career.
I choose carefully. Whether it’s clients or people in my inner circle, I vet. It isn’t first come, first serve and I don’t consider gender a qualifying metric. Currently my ratios are 60:40. It is more about people’s drive and what they want to achieve. Laziness is not attractive. I find 90% of my clients are international students because they want it more. They have given up so much to be here, many don’t want to go back and they will do anything to get there.
My favourite part is the feedback loop you get when there is a breakthrough -a mentee gets a job, or they are feeling more confident. It is so thrilling. My motivators are helping others and seeing others win. I am also highly competitive. There is more than enough success to go around and just because I have a slice of pie, doesn’t mean you can’t have one too. We live in a world of abundance, make the most of it.
Work-life balance doesn’t exist; it is a social construct in response to an industrial revolution. If you believe in work-life balance, you should be working more. I believe in flow, I have seasons to hustle and seasons where I need to recharge and connect. I am responsive to what I need in the moment; if I need to yoga, to not see people or to stay up all night, I’ll do all those things. I know my priorities, what gets my time, and what I am available for.
It’s a lot of work. It’s full time with The Construction Coach and with everything else I do. I also get asked how do I do it all. Not everyone understands it. Instead of asking how do I do it, ask, how can I be doing more? I’ve always sacrificed short-term gain for long-term vision. It comes easy for me.
People are often promoted into management roles from technical skills, without any real emotional intelligence. They are responsible for the drive and motivations of people yet can be very bad at doing so. You can’t teach it and without the emotional intelligence of managers, people leave. Career success lies in more than the technical.
The process of self-discovery is really important; people want to help others but they can’t give from an empty glass. I spent a lot of time thinking, reading and doing research. Thinking is my favourite thing in the world to do.
Journaling is an amazing outlet. You are the most open and honest when you write it all down. That’s when you realise who you are and what you are capable of. If I didn’t spend the time on myself, I wouldn’t be where I am today, it is the most important work you can do. You are the best project you will ever work on. I know my patterns, what works and what doesn’t, it comes from paying attention.
I am really proud of young Elinor for everything she sacrificed, hustled for and worked for. I get to enjoy that today. People don’t love to work hard, and they don’t have long term vision. I like to plan; I like to visualise. I have an amazing 10 year plan, you will just have to wait and see. I am in love with my purpose, my passion, my drive and I can’t wait to see it all pan out. There is both strain and friction in realising the things you didn’t know you wanted or what you had in you. Planning isn’t a chore for me, it is a pleasure, breaking down from the macro to the micro; it’s like a construction programme.
My dad has always said ‘go and tell no one’. That has always been impressionable on who I am. I am very secretive; people don’t know my move until I make it. I don’t promote my plans, I don’t seek consensus, I don’t seek permission, I just go and I don’t tell anyone. I keep a tight inner circle of support and accountability, they are imperative and very important people to me.
We love writing these little endings to our interviews. Not because you need our opinion, but because it gives us a chance to reinforce the impressions people make on us. So, what can we say about Elinor? Firstly, it took a while for all our schedules to combine (construction schedules are fickle!), but luckily for us we were able to meet at amazing haunt Romeo Lane, before the crisis hit. Four women, working for four builders, all trying to change the world….what a marvelous table! Secondly, Elinor has a talent for portraying confidence, which comes across as honest, frank and warm. She absolutely exudes confidence to be frank (and we love it) and makes you feel more confident just being near her. Her directness is a result of a clear understanding of her own person – her desires, goals and ambitions like shining lanterns guiding her path at every move. She has a knack for cutting through any BS and knows how to drive a conversation. You can check out her podcast on Apple Podcast (link above) and view more about The Construction Coach on her website. We wish Elinor the best of luck in all her endeavors and feel honoured as always, to support amazing women supporting women (say that 10 times fast!) Stay safe out there tribe! R, J and D x