Being mindful of potential

At Northrop, our ethos is about helping to realise potential. Often, that’s focused on the projects we work on, but it applies equally to our people too – both inside and outside of engineering.

Mechanical Engineer Roberta Brosco has been in the industry for almost a decade and has been a key part of Northrop for the past five years.

Based in our Canberra office, Roberta has extensive design and management experience on a wide range of building services projects including universities, art galleries and health care facilities.

In 2018, Roberta volunteered her time working on a construction project in Peru, helping to build and repair homes, add classrooms to a school and make structural improvements to an orphanage.

Over the past decade, Roberta has also been a keen practitioner of mindfulness, which is, for the uninitiated, a form of meditation that ‘focuses on being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment.’

A career in mindfulness

It was after the birth of her child in 2019, that Roberta discovered a desire to do more than practise mindfulness herself.

“I went through a profound shift in life purpose and identity, which resulted in a desire to make a difference and help people develop skills that will bring tremendous benefits in their lives,” she says.

“I decided to get my certification and share this transformational practice in the corporate world, to enhance the leadership skills of professionals, giving tools to manage stress, increase empathy and emotional intelligence.”

Northrop was able to support Roberta’s ambition by agreeing to flexible working, which now sees her wearing her engineering hat Monday-Wednesday while working as a mindfulness coach in her own business on Thursday, after hours, and over the weekend.

Two worlds collide

Northrop has benefited directly from Roberta’s mindfulness training.

“I led a very successful meditation session during our company conference in 2017, where more than 100 people attended,” she says. “This was followed by a mindfulness introductory program in 2018, available to all Northrop people. I also supported our Melbourne office running mindfulness sessions during lockdown last year.”

While from the outside, these two careers – a Mechanical Engineer and Mindfulness Coach – may seem to have little in common, Roberta says that implementing the mindfulness tools she’s refined over the years has been helpful in her engineering work to:

  • Increase awareness of herself and the people around her, of our emotional, mental and physical state
  • Be fully present during conversations with clients to truly understand their needs and their vision for the project
  • To decrease stress levels, finding a place of calm, creativity and purpose working in a fast-paced construction industry
  • To be the best version of herself, inspiring others to live a more mindful life

“Being a mindful leader is a way of being, no matter which industry you work in,” she says. “You never switch it off.”

For Northrop, supporting our people in their lives is as important as supporting them in their profession – and if we can help them realise their potential outside of their engineering work, it’s to the ultimate benefit of our people, our business and our clients.

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