Tara Shirvani

Tara Shirvani | European Bank for Reconstruction & Development (EBRD)

Tara Shirvani currently works as Principal Sector Leader for Sustainable Transport at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in London where she is in charge of greening an annual €2 billion infrastructure investment portfolio, all at the age of 31. Prior to joining EBRD, she was working at the World Bank Group being in charge of large-scale infrastructure projects in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Tara Shirvani started her career working for the United Nations in Tehran followed by several investment banking experiences at Deutsche Bank and Citigroup.

Dr. Shirvani, an Austrian and Iranian national, is an engineer by training and has earned her Ph.D. in Fuel Technologies from Oxford University and her Master’s in Engineering from Cambridge University. Tara Shirvani is regularly featured in the international press such as Forbes Magazine, Foreign Affairs, New York Times, Financial Time, New Statesman, Stanford International Press and Harvard International Review addressing 21st century challenges such as Climate Change, Middle Eastern Energy Politics and the Artificial Intelligence Revolution. She was honored as “Global Shaper” by the World Economic Forum in 2012, in 2016 as Forbes 30 under 30 Awardee, in 2017 as Global Female Rising Talents of the year and recently in 2018 as Future Energy Leader by CERA Energy.


Katherine Tobin

Katherine Tobin | WSP

I was lucky that I stumbled across ‘Engineering’ in a university prospectus when I didn’t know what to do with my love of science and art. Being at an all-girls school, I had to look up the definition for ‘Engineer’ as it wasn’t anywhere on the usual list of potential vocations presented to us.

After I graduated, I joined a fantastic team of structural engineers at WSP. In less than three years I have already been involved in designing some of London’s biggest and most exciting projects, including a 62 storey skyscraper: 22 Bishopsgate. On this incredible (and challenging!) project, I loved being involved in the design of the soaring structural ‘spine’ which keeps the building from falling over, and also mega basement structures which transfer colossal forces into the earth.

As well as skyscrapers, I am proud to have created a vast range of interesting designs- including steel trusses the size of bridges, micro-home modular buildings, a timber office structure straddling a 120 year old brick sewer, a luxury subterranean swimming pool, and a Victorian house extension.

I am passionate about promoting our exciting industry to girls, and about women becoming our future leaders. In my short time at WSP I have dedicated myself to being a positive female role model. I have mentored young engineers and apprentices, given numerous presentations promoting engineering, been filmed by the BBC, interviewed by TimeOut magazine and spoken in many schools- I’m intent on breaking the myth of engineers having grey beards and muddy hard hats!


Najwa Jawahar

Najwa Jawahar | WSP

I graduated from the University of Leeds with a first class MEng (Hons.) in Civil and Structural Engineering in 2011 and joined WSP as a graduate engineer in 2012. Since then I have worked on complex, high profile projects including Merchant Square Development, London Wall Place and Key Bridge House. These challenges have not daunted me, and have only motivated me to develop and learn.

I am a natural leader and an excellent team player, full of passion and charisma with an impressive track record of achievements. This proves my desire to leave my mark on the cities around the world. I believe nothing is impossible. No muddy boots. No cultural or religious barriers. Despite being a woman in the male-dominated field, I initiated a graduate group and extended it to 300+ young engineers and apprentices globally in 2 years. In 2014, she was selected by the Managing Director of the company to be part of the WSP’s Taskforce Team and delivered two business initiatives including the new graduate development framework. In 2017 alone, she not only attained her Chartership status through the Institute of Structural Engineers, but she was also named as the Best Young Woman Engineer, at the European Women in Construction and Engineering Awards for her contribution towards the WSP and the wider industry.


Helen McGloin 1

Helen McGloin | Rolls Royce

I am currently working in Manufacturing Technology within Rolls-Royce, a central function which develops, improves and deploys advanced, cutting edge manufacturing technologies & processes. My two areas of focus are Additive Manufacture and Automation. Within Additive Manufacture I am leading a UK government geared project which is enabling fast design iteration and innovation through the development of Fast Make additive methods of manufacture for large structural next generation aero engine components. In this project I delivered the company’s largest yet component to be manufactured in one piece using additive layer powder bed fusion technology. Within the area of Automation I am working on collaborative robots and systems - understanding how we can safely integrate people and robots into factory environments without the physical need for restricting safety guarding which will enable flexibility in manufacturing processes and production lines.

Engineering isn't an industry that I had imagined I would work in when I was at school as I was never aware of it as a career. As a result it was only at 17 when looking to apply for university that I come across degrees in Engineering. Immediately I could see it was a good fit for me - applying the theory of the subjects I most enjoyed (Maths, Physics and Chemistry) into the real world. I ended up completing a MEng in Mechanical Engineering at Cardiff University where I was able to work on a variety of subjects that took my interest. During my studies I completed a number of industrial placements that lead to me getting accepted on the Rolls-Royce Engineering Leadership graduate scheme.

It was my own lack of awareness in this industry that pushed me being part of the founding group to set up the Gender Diversity Network in Rolls-Royce. In my role on the UK committee I work to improve the gender diversity seen in the talent pipeline by leading the STEM outreach activities that the network carries out. In this voluntary role, I work with the network across the UK developing new activities, setting up events and showing young women the variety of apprentice and graduate careers available to them in STEM. As a result of this work we are seeing more young women apply for work experience in the company and have also followed a number of individuals who have now successfully applied for the early career schemes into Rolls-Royce.


Geetha Srinivasan

Geetha Srinivasan | The Queen's University Belfast

Dr. Geetha Srinivasan CChem CSci, MRSC, FHEA, is a Senior Research Fellow at Queen’s University Ionic Liquid Laboratories, (QUILL) Queen’s University Belfast (QUB). After qualifying her PhD in Applied Electrochemistry from India, she moved to Northern Ireland in 2006 as a post- doctoral research fellow at QUILL, where she has been the chief scientist in industrial projects with Astron Advanced Materials and PETRONAS. She has rich experience in leading projects at the interface of academia and industry and delivering excellence. Her high impact research contributions in tackling environmental challenges using ionic liquids have been well received within scientific community and beyond. Geetha is an award winning scientist and has placed Queen’s University in the top one percent of global universities and Northern Ireland in spotlight by receiving outstanding women in science award from L’Oreal-UNESCO-Royal Society in 2012 for her work on ionic liquids in biomedical applications. She is also the recipient of three Institute of Chemical Engineering - IChemE awards and Nicklin Medal in 2013 as a key researcher in an environmental mitigation project dealing with toxic heavy metal removal from petrochemical streams. This work was carried out in collaboration with PETRONAS, Malaysian government based oil and gas company who have commercialised this technology under the name HycaPure HgTM transforming adsorbent materials from lab scale 30 mg to 60 tonnes real industrial plant and running successfully for the last 6 years. Her research leadership has contributed significantly to the research partnership between QUB and PETRONAS – since 2011 to date generating an income of around £2 million contributing to the university¬. Geetha as a natural research leader have steered research teams at both Queen’s University and PETRONAS towards wider implementation of the commercial product HycaPure HgTM and is playing a significant role in the knowledge transfer process from university to industry for the last 10 years. Being a passionate scientist, alongside her utterly demanding industrial research, Geetha has been developing her independent research on flexible electronic materials for medical device applications. Her recent work on flexible supercapacitors to power-up next generation medical implants has attracted high Altmetric scores with global media and public attention. The journal Energy Technology, after receiving global attention have made this article free for open access for 2018. Geetha is an exemplar of modern scientist who has proven that geographical borders are no hindrance to deliver an excellent global impact in science. Geetha’s professional success is exemplified by being a key inventor in 7 patents (one patented across 23 countries), author in high impact journal articles (both as collaborator and corresponding), and invited to deliver keynote lectures in international conferences. However, she feels personally honoured to be invited to talk to public, media and school children both nationally and internationally as a role model and inspire future scientists. As a young scientist she has been invited to talk to school children in Panama (amidst Nobel Laureate Prof Robert Huber) and young women scientists in South Africa. She a STEM ambassador (SENTINUS and CHEMNet) relentlessly contributing to primary and higher secondary schools’ science projects across Northern Ireland. Geetha believes in gender balance in science and promotes the under-represented women in science by showcasing their research to public through Soapbox Science and holds the pride of bringing this unique science outreach platform to Northern Ireland and conducting two events in 2015 and 2017 successfully. Geetha has been showcased by Royal Society of Chemistry as one of the 175 faces of Chemistry and shortlisted for Asian Women of Achievement Award in 2014 under the profession category to portray her success in crossing geographical and cultural differences and sustain in science. Dr Srinivasan is a mother of two children and a loved individual both professionally and personally.