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Insights Breaking barriers: Manisha's 22-year journey to leading a 700+ strong engineering team

Meet Manisha – a civil engineer with 22 years’ experience - what began as a dream, she achieved and is now leading the Civil Engineering discipline at the AtkinsRéalis Global Technology Center in Bengaluru, India. Her team comprises 700+ water & transportation professionals. Read on as she nonchalantly describes her journey so far…

Photo of Manisha smiling towards the camera

What ignited your passion for engineering?

My first encounter with engineering was when I saw my brother (a mechanical engineer) repair his bike at home. That interested me and ignited a passion for seeing my designs come to life for the betterment of society. So, my hunger to do something in Civil Engineering and break the status quo dates back to 1993 - that’s when I decided to pursue my dream career.

Were there any common misperceptions around this?

Most certainly! I fought so many notions - ‘Why engineering?’, ‘Girls don’t do civil engineering’, and so much more. This profession was unheard of for women back then. So, I am sure, not just me but a lot of women in my position faced this in our initial days. A career in civil engineering can be very demanding, both physically and mentally. But pursuing one’s ambition is all about maintaining the highest standards of work ethics and believing in one’s capabilities.

And what powered you to persevere?

Perseverance knows no gender. You want it, you get it. It was my one of my early experiences in another company that taught me to push harder. Back then, I was expecting my first child and I was taken off a site visit without my knowledge. The go-getter in me couldn’t sit back and that’s when I decided that I had to back myself up and work towards my goals. So, I worked my way around, ensured my safety during times of pregnancy were taken care of and I did go for the visit! Nothing could stop me. I carry these learnings with a sense of pride because these very experiences have got me here…

How has your journey with AtkinsRéalis gone?

I joined here in 2007 with two children and a household to manage. But nothing of that came in the way of performance or in terms of the opportunities I was given. I have worked on various mid and mega-projects for the Middle East, US, Canada, UK, and Hong Kong, and now, I am leading the Civil Engineering discipline in India. The pride that I get from collaborating with some of the biggest technical experts in the industry, involved in decision-making processes and leading a team, has been unmatched.

Why choose AtkinsRéalis for women?

Like perseverance, opportunities also know no bounds at AtkinsRéalis! Women are just as much or infact encouraged more to bring our true selves to the company and we have the right support to help us excel. One such thin is the Women’s Business Network (WBN). The forum aims to connect, inspire and speak with other women within AtkinsRéalis. I am a mentor to women colleagues as part of this initiative and I am proud to say that we have seen so many women flourish and achieve great heights. We have won multiple awards for our ED&I initiatives from ET HR Capital & Avatar. We’ve also been recognized as a Great Place to Work in India, four times in a row!

What’s your advice to young aspiring women?

I encourage you to embrace your identity as a woman first. This is what makes us unique and adds value of diverse opinions and innovative ideas to any organization. When you enter a meeting room, speak up as a leader, cultivate mental resilience and self-belief as they come handy while thriving in the face of challenges. Most importantly, foster a culture of support among women in your network as together we learn to empower, uplift and engineer a better and more equitable future for all.

Your journey to excellence can also begin at AtkinsRéalis and if you’d like to join our dynamic leaders, where you can thrive, apply with us today at AtkinsRéalis India.