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Following passions pays off

Hannah Liddell.
Hannah Liddell.

Having a growth mindset and dedication to following her passions has helped Old Girl Hannah Liddell become the woman she is today.

Hannah attended QMC from 2006 to 2011, covering Years 8 to 13. She chose to come to QMC due to the “family spirit” of the school. Her mother, Jackie Liddell, aunt Anna Callendar and great-aunt Judy Murray attended, as have her younger sister and cousins.

The Lochleven supporter was IB Dux in her final year and says she enjoyed all of her classes at school.

“I think I owe that to the teachers and their contagious passion for their subjects,” Hannah says.

While at school, Hannah bounced between several different career ideas before landing on engineering. “The important thing to bear in mind is that these days most skills are transferable and you can zigzag across several different career paths during your life. Find what you are passionate about. If you don’t know yet, just keep trying new things until
you get there.”

Hannah went to Canterbury University where she achieved a first-class honours degree in civil engineering.

Since then, she has worked at Beca and has been involved in designing airports, managing construction projects and writing programme business cases.

“I am also heavily involved in our company’s sustainability improvements and am working to better embed environmental considerations into our engineering design process,” Hannah says.

In September, Hannah is heading to the UK to study an MBA at the University of Cambridge under a full scholarship. “I’m hoping to complement my engineering and sustainability
background with a good grounding in business and strategy,” Hannah explains.

Although Hannah is now confident in her passions, her career path has not always been smooth sailing. “During my first year of work, I hit a really low point; I didn’t really enjoy what I was doing, but I didn’t know what I would enjoy more,” she says.

“After a few months of feeling sorry for myself, I realised that I was never going to find what I wanted to do if I didn’t keep trying new things. I arranged with my manager to work with several different teams, and I took a few people out for coffee to pick their brains. A mentor of mine helped me realise that my passion for the environment could be key to finding my career ‘sweet spot’,.

“Ultimately I think my decision to change my mindset and take action rather than waiting around for things to happen for me was the most important step.”

Her advice to current students is to be engaged.

“Your life is not waiting around the corner, or after the next exam, or in the next holiday period. It’s now. If you’re working towards something that you really believe in, you will have the energy you need to be exceptional.”