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Prisciliana Medeiros-Nobre was doing an environmental management course in Brazil, when she discovered her university’s civil construction research centre and they were preparing a project to reuse incinerated material to manufacture bricks.

“I was thinking about doing a Bachelor’s degree, why not Civil Engineer? That involves the environmental things that I was interested in with all the development Brazil was needing at that time. I love what I’ve been doing.”

Seizing opportunities

After graduating, Prisciliana worked as a concrete plant manager, in airport infrastructure, and then in highway construction. After moving to Australia and meeting her husband, the couple settled in Tasmania and she completed a Project Management and Leadership degree.

Then the pandemic hit, and Prisciliana was robbed of the ability to knock on doors and network. “I think applied for 100 jobs, and I got just one interview by phone.”

One opportunity was all it took – Prisciliana was immediately hired by Ian Harrington Group. Within six months she was promoted to Asphalt Plant Manager.

People management

While change management is one of the biggest challenges in Prisciliana’s role, she says managing people is also one of her greatest strengths.

“When we need to make some improvements, my main concern is to try to involve everyone to understand what’s going on, and why we need to improve.

“Some people accept change, and some people are more resistant. I think I understand people’s minds, and how each has their own way to see things. I try to understand everyone here.”

Prisciliana says she’d love to see more women on the company’s worksites. “We treat everyone equally. We have some women as well in the asphalt crew. If we need to do some heavy jobs, we do them as well so we’re doing the training and doing the work. We do the same things as the guys.”

Sharing cultures

Prisciliana relishes socialising and sharing her culture with her colleagues. “When we have some meetings, after I bring some Brazilian food, we share the food and stay talking a lot.

“I bring a lot of things for the guys here on the plant, coffee and sweets from Brazil. I’d like to travel more and see more of Australia.”

She’s proud of her achievements in the few short years that she’s been working in Tasmania, and is planning to shift into a more specialised role.

When I came to Australia, I couldn’t even speak English and now I'm dealing with a lot of people through taking care of the asphalt plant. I'm proud of myself.
Keystone Tasmania
Keystone Tasmania is the peak organisation facilitating building and construction industry workforce development in Tasmania.
We acknowledge the palawa people as the traditional custodians of the land on which we learn and work. We honour their enduring culture and knowledges as vital to the self-determination, wellbeing and resilience of their communities.

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