How a Biologist Has Been Able To Break The Stereotype In The Environmental Profession image
S1 E13 · Beyond The Green Line
How a Biologist Has Been Able To Break The Stereotype In The Environmental Profession
15 Plays
1 year ago

We’ve all heard of the glass ceiling: the idea that there are barriers to women achieving executive and leadership roles in male-dominated industries.

But in addition to that, the sector of environmental science poses greater ratio imbalances than average. So today it’s our pleasure to chat with Kristi McLachlan, Iinfrastructure Director at Hatch Australasia.

Kristi grew up loving biology from a young age, and graduated with a Master's Degrees in Biology. She started her career in research and development, focusing on the use of bacteria to break down soil contaminants. 

Kristi then moved in to contaminated land consulting in Australia, where she was promoted to handle operations management, and eventually oversaw various construction projects for over a decade.

Then landing at Sydney Airport (brought there by Chris Evans from John Holland who she would consider a sponsor in the story of her career), Kristi became the only female she knew to hold the title of General Manager on a construction project.

She discovered the importance of the advice she passes to us today: find your people. It will take good friends, mentors, and sponsors to achieve your goals as a female in the environmental space, so don't be afraid to ask someone to mentor or sponsor you.

Kristi then joined Hatch, where she now helps the company maintain its high reputation of forward-thinking and ceiling-breaking.

Throughout her ongoing leadership roles at Hatch, Kristi has studied Neuro Leadership and obtained quality leadership coaching, which she credits for her ever-increasing ability to communicate with her teams. She shares how we can strengthen our science-based thinking by cultivating a curious mind: committing to learn more data before making our conclusions.  

Ever-motivated, Kristi practices Jiu Jitsu along with her two children. She reveals that this discipline has taught her when to sit back and observe, as opposed to always being on the attack, and how to learn where the other person is coming from. This too has enhanced her leadership approach over the years.

Combining her training in science-based thinking from her studies at Uni with the delicate balance of non-violence and healthy self-defense in the Jiu Jitsu model, Kristi emphasizes understanding what others around us need and value.

When gender stereotypes pop up at work, she’s committed to pointing out moments that others may not see, but always in a spirit of growing together. Kristi encourages women in male-dominated spaces to remember that many men on their team may be very open to conversations about changing the system together.

Her solution-oriented approach is honest and inspiring.

Even though she has moved away from a career in environmental sciences, sustainability is still very close to Kristi’s heart. This can be seen in her intentional personal life, where she doesn’t own a dryer, keeps supply chain standards when purchasing furniture or clothes, and doesn’t drive whenever there is access to public transportation.

We know you’ll be inspired by Shonelle’s enlightening talk with Kristi McLachlan