Kate Lissaman Career Profile picture

Role: Assistant Project Manager

Career Area: Project and Commercial Management

Location: York

My role at SYSTRA

I am an Assistant Project Manager in the Consultancy Project Management Office (PMO), and I contribute to the work of the PMO by identifying and developing baseline delivery budgets, project progress reviews, and data updates.

I am involved with invoicing, commercial compliance and liaising with Project Managers across the project portfolio to support delivery activities and project administration.

On a day-to-day basis I assist Project Managers in their project monitoring and reporting, allowing them to focus more on their technical roles and client discussions, in support of effective business operations.

My career journey

I actually had the privilege of attending a Q&A session with the board of Directors – the Digital Roadshow 2021. During the session, our HR Director shared some valuable insights on career development and job opportunities within the company. She emphasised the importance of internal recruitment and encouraged us to initiate discussions surrounding any interests we may have for different areas of the business. Taking her advice, I reached out to our Consultancy Operations Director to discuss my career development goals.

With the guidance I received, I explored the world of Project Management and the vision for the PMO. The exploration instilled confidence in me and highlighted the surplus of opportunities for career advancement within SYSTRA. I also gained insight on other areas I could become more involved with.

We asked Kate…
When did you realise this was the career path for you?

My first conversation with Nicola Cholmondeley (Consultancy Operations Director) was very inspiring. As a female leader in a male-dominated industry, her perspective on what can be achieved in the world of Project Management was truly eye-opening. Nicola conveyed that there are endless opportunities for growth and development in this field and I felt a newfound sense of excitement and motivation about my own potential career path. Her insights and encouragement have left a lasting impression on me, and I am very grateful for the valuable advice and guidance she has provided. It is empowering to see strong female leaders like Nicola who are paving the way for the next generation of project professionals.

Have you got any words of wisdom for someone starting out in a similar role?

As a project professional, it’s important to constantly seek out new opportunities for growth and development. One way to achieve this is by putting yourself out there, engaging in discussion with colleagues and peers, and becoming an active member of a professional organisation. In doing so you will gain access to a wealth of resources and opportunities to support your continued professional development. Don’t be afraid to ask question and approach new challenges with a curious and inquisitive mindset. Embrace the opportunity to learn and grow and you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve.

How does SYSTRA stand out from the rest as a Great Place to Work?

I have been pleasantly surprised by the unwavering support that SYSTRA has shown me in terms of my professional development. Over the past two years, I have been fortunate enough to have numerous opportunities for growth and advancement and for that I am incredibly grateful. This level of support has not only helped me to achieve my goals but has also left me feeling highly motivated, valued, and proud to be a part of the SYSTRA team. The company’s commitment to investing in its employees is truly inspiring and I am honoured to be a part of such a forward-thinking and supportive organisation.

With such power in diversity, what unique perspective do you bring to the table?

The saying, “In a world where you can be anything, be kind” rings true now more than ever. We never truly know what someone else is going through, or the challenges they may be facing. As someone who works in Project Management, I know first-hand how trying it can be. Yet, it’s not always the problem itself that determines our success, but rather our response to it. The key to success in Project Management lies in our ability to listen to others, treat people with respect and communicate effectively. By prioritising kindness and empathy, we can build stronger relationships and work more collaboratively towards our goals. In doing so, we not only create a more positive working environment, but we also set ourselves up for greater success in the long run.

Where is the place that has inspired you the most?

I recently travelled to Canada, visiting friends who have moved to Toronto and Montreal. They both work for SYSTRA Canada, and I was lucky enough to receive a guided tour of their offices and learn about some of the project work they’re involved in. I was thrilled to hear about a companywide initiative that will soon offer employees the opportunity to work in other SYSTRA offices, gaining valuable technical expertise and knowledge in the process. As someone who is always eager to learn and grow, this in an opportunity that I would be keen to explore. The chance to work alongside other talented professionals in different parts of the world is a very exciting prospect!

What does true sustainability really mean to you?

Sustainability is not just a buzzword – it is a way of life that encompasses the preservation of our planet, society, and economy. It involves practices that allow us to meet our present needs without compromising the ability of generations to meet their own. Sustainability requires a delicate balance between environmental, social, and economic aspects to ensure the long-term wellbeing of our planet and its inhabitants. By embracing sustainability, we can create a brighter future for ourselves and generations to come.

What would a green future look like?

A successfully green future is one that relies on renewable energy sources as its primary energy source, energy-efficient buildings, sustainable agriculture practices and equitable access to clean air and water. It is a future where people live in harmony with nature, and the natural world is respected and protected for future generations – a healthy life for all, where the environment and society thrive together in perfect balance.

How do you look after your wellbeing outside of work?

Living in York provides me with the opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty of the Yorkshire Dales and Howardian Hills right on my doorstep. There’s nothing like the peace and quiet of the countryside to recharge and rejuvenate my mind and body. However, my greatest source of happiness comes from spending time with the people I love most – my family and friends. Whether it’s visiting them in various parts of the country, or simply enjoying their company at home, they are the centre of my world. As a true believer in the importance of work-life balance, I make sure to prioritise these relationships and experiences above all else. It’s these moments of connection and joy that have a positive impact on the soul.

If you could spend your lunchbreak with someone you really admire, who would you choose?

George Michael – a true gem of a human being, whose untimely passing was a great loss to the world. It was only after his passing that we learned of his incredible generosity and kindness, which he had kept hidden from the public eye. In a world where every good deed is often shared on social media for the sake of recognition, it is truly admirable that he gave so selflessly without seeking any form of public validation or praise. His legacy is a testament to the power of kindness and compassion, and a reminder that the most meaningful acts of generosity are often the ones that go unseen.

If you had to pick, which mode of transport would you use for the rest of your life?

Trains are a mode of transportation that I absolutely love. There is something really enjoyable about traversing the country by rail, and I can only imagine the sheer luxury and romance of travelling on the famed Orient Express! Whilst I may need to start saving my pennies and join the four-year waiting list, it would be a dream come true to experience such an iconic journey. The beauty of our countryside is truly brought to life when travelling on some of the cross-country lines. Not only do trains alleviate the congestion on our roads, but they also provide a delightful way to explore the world around us. Whilst delays and cancellations can be frustrating, when everything is running smoothly there’s nothing quite like the joy of a carefree train journey.

> View all