Engineers Australia

Leadership for Geotechnical Engineers & Geologists – how a foundation in geotechnical engineering can explode into a world of possibilities

Annette Woods

In these times of constant change, disruption and complexity, we need to focus on providing our teams and our stakeholders with clarity and empowerment. Regardless of your field of technical expertise or your position title, your working life will call on you to be a leader, to be an advocate for inclusion, to keep people safe, and to update and grow your capabilities and the capabilities of those around you.

This presentation and discussion will explore four key aspects of leadership and career progression: safety, staff development, communication, and self-development; interspersed with geotechnical and digital technology anecdotes from across the projects and investigations that Annette has led. Learn techniques and tools to support your own leadership journey and to build high performing teams.

About the speaker

Photo of Annette Woods

Annette WoodsBusiness Transformation Strategist | Inclusion Advocate | Geotechnical Engineer at heart

Over thirty years, Annette Woods has had a global career in ports, mining, technology, and project management. In the first fifteen years, she practiced geotechnical engineering and those geotechnical roots prepared her for a divergent career and leadership journey.

After graduating from the University of Adelaide in 1988, Annette worked as a geotechnical engineer in Adelaide and Alice Springs, before moving to New South Wales, where she managed offices and testing laboratories in Newcastle and Dubbo. Her expertise covered residential and industrial subdivisions, mine subsidence, landfill design, contaminated site remediation and pavements. She led a number of Pacific Highway upgrade investigations including the Bulahdelah Bypass.

Annette left geotechnical engineering to become an Executive General Manager first at Newcastle then Sydney Ports Corporations, where she was the NSW government Project Director for the 30ha Port Botany reclamation project and the Port of Newcastle dredging project. In these roles, she also was accountable for asset management, commercial property and land use planning. Then over a 9 year stint at global resource company BHP, she held a number of global executive roles including Head of Major Project Governance and Vice President Technology Strategy, Portfolio and Performance. She was at BHP at the time of the Samarco tailings dam failure in Brazil and the introduction of autonomous trucks and drills.

Annette has overseen business transformation projects to deliver increased productivity, reduce operating costs and lift capability, most recently in digital technologies. She does this with a passion for authenticity and respect and care for her people and stakeholders. This passion comes through in her entertaining and engaging leadership presentations, sharing personal anecdotes and war stories in the interest of helping others achieve their potential.

Engineers Australia members participating in AGS technical sessions can record attendance on their personal CPD logs. Members should refer to Engineers Australia CPD policy for details on CPD types, requirements and auditing guidelines.