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Starting a new job during a global pandemic: Ed McDonald reflects on his first six months at Sequana.

10 Nov 21 · People

I started working at Sequana as an Analyst in June 2021 after being referred to the position by my mentor Bill Robinson, Australasia Digital Water Manager at Arup.

It was Sequana’s specialisation in the water sector that really captured my interest, as well as its commitment to providing exceptional project management services to the water industry.

Ed-McDonald-Sequana-RSI was truly sold on the role in my interview, where I was lucky enough to meet Managing Partner, Frank Fisseler and Project Engineer Hannah Walmsley for the first time, who demonstrated the extraordinary workplace culture. I will always remember their interest in my small business selling ceramic pieces, which immediately highlighted Sequana’s culture, which is unbelievably supportive and encouraging of its people’s endeavours both in and outside the workplace.

The role has already exceeded my expectations. I’ve been trusted with responsibility that I couldn’t imagine for my first graduate experience and have been given the resources to actively shape, inform and govern my own experience and development at Sequana.

Starting with a business with team members spread across the country (not to mention during COVID-19 and various lockdowns), I found the remote onboarding incredibly smooth as I had studied and worked from home previously. I was granted the insight and tools to navigate my way through the day and provided context for engineering consulting in the Australian water industry from the very beginning. This induction process successfully prepared me for my journey with Sequana, as the team ensured I had the right support and resources to integrate within the team every single day.

It’s been fantastic to be so connected to team members across the East Coast of Australia and being exposed to different projects and challenges across New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria has meant learning from a range of perspectives as well as the intricacies of each state process.

The level of integration within the team and the operating systems has been great. The company operates like a collective and employs the individual’s expertise and abilities for robust delivery of work. It’s fascinating to see people with different skillsets work collaboratively to achieve shared outcomes.
At the heart of Sequana is fun, innovation and diligence and the comradeship within the team at Sequana is incredible. The team has a great way of working together to get the job done conscientiously and efficiently while utilising each team members individual expertise to deliver complex assignments.

Sequana is by far one of the most supportive and fun workplaces I’ve worked at, and the people have been incredibly professional and encouraging. We have fortnightly all-team meetings to share what everyone has been working on which is always extremely informative and on the alternating Friday’s we do ‘Fun Photo Friday’ as a way to stay connected with all members of the team where we play a guessing game to match pictures with the person (eg favourite food, first pet) which has been a great game to compete in and learn more about one another!

The team has welcomed and supported me on my journey with the provision of on-the-job mentoring opportunities to achieve tangible results. Being able to approach the Managing Partners, Frank Fisseler and Mike Walsh, with ideas for the company’s growth and have them considered and followed through to completion has been an amazing experience. It has inspired a sense of agency to the work I am undertaking and accountability over outcomes and has built my confidence as an individual and as of a valued member of the team.

I have been lucky enough to work closely with Project Engineer Hannah Walmsley who has presented her incredible journey in the industry that I aspire toward. I have also been able to collaborate with Sequana Leadership Development Associate Cameron Geddes throughout my time at Sequana to design my own mentoring support journey and professional development path. Having the opportunity to work with supportive and inspiring people in the industry, such as Mike Walsh and Frank Fisseler has informed my goals and the path to achieve them.

The level of communication between the executive branch and someone like me, starting out in their first job as a graduate, has been second to none. Having a sounding board of highly experienced individuals has meant that I’ve been immediately exposed to a great depth of knowledge. Sequana is truly one-of-a-kind in its integration of team members from all levels of experience.

I have also been given opportunities to lead initiatives within the team such as the Melbourne University Civil & Structural Society’s industry webinar series. Having the responsibility of leadership over assignments so early in my journey and with such a great team has been an incredible learning experience.
My time at Sequana has been everything I could’ve wanted from a first-time industry role and experience. Sequana has provided the infrastructure to support my learning and development as a graduate. As my first practical experience working in the industry, my primary objective has been to learn as much as I possibly can from the range of resources and people Sequana has to offer.

Sequana is really unique in its ability to represent both client and consultant voices in a project. The team at Sequana has a demonstrated understanding of how complex the Australian water industry can be and supporting the client through to project completion.

Sequana’s company mission is to deliver first-class project management to the Australian water industry. Successfully delivering significant projects has been a great display of its commitment to Australia’s future.

Sequana has a demonstrated investment to deliver major projects to benefit water and the environment in Australia and growing up with water restrictions in Melbourne during the millennium drought, I have learnt a great appreciation for the value of water that Sequana has mirrored in its work.

My current goal is to gain greater experience in client-facing roles, build my experience in project work, and continue to learn and grow as part of the Sequana team!