Tahlia Caviezel


ANZ Supply Planner,

Watch Tahlia’s video

What is your advice to girls and women about working in non-traditional roles/ industries?

Get comfortable with vulnerability and seek out mentors!

Staying vulnerable helps us consistently recognise our value as a unique and independent person/professional – which allows us to present ourselves in a way that will strengthen connections. You will undoubtedly navigate a lot of complex scenarios, and this vulnerability, courage and understanding of yourself will help guide you through these. Staying vulnerable also allows us to be comfortable with challenging scenarios, and therefore gives us the opportunity to learn to reflect on them and learn all we can from them. I can attribute a lot of my success to being comfortable with ‘failures’, and ultimately understanding the learnings from these failures can contribute to our greatest successes.

And finally, staying vulnerable allows us to obtain the greatest benefit possible from a mentor; allowing us to ask the tough questions – or share complex scenarios/experiences that without vulnerability, we may not be able to seek advice on.

What are the coolest things about working in your industry?

Making a product that benefits society out of raw materials. Seeing a product be transformed from raw material to end product (i.e sand & limestone to a glass bottle) and successfully identifying and trialing how it could be made differently, more efficiently and more sustainably. Seeing advances in process control & automation in practice. There is also something very cool about seeing a product you’ve made in the real world, as well as having your friends and family pick your brain about how it is made.

Did you know about the industry you now work in before you started?

Yes, my father and Grandfather have worked in Manufacturing. My Mother and Grandma too worked in the same factory at one stage during my childhood, within the historically more traditional woman roles of Nurse, and Sewing. As a young girl, I was always taught girls can do anything, so it never occurred to me that there were not an equal number of males to women within the core manufacturing areas my dad and Grandfather worked until I took a tour of the factory, and could not spot a woman on the Manufacturing floor. A lot has changed since then, and now as an industry we are living and breathing the benefits of diverse perspectives.

What do you love most about your role?

Continuous Improvement. I love that each day I have the opportunity and capability to look at something and go “we could be doing this better”, as well as the support of those I work with to be onboard with the changes necessary to do so.

Were there hobbies or interests that influenced your career?

When I was little I was always very fascinated with how things work and why they work that way which I think led to the natural development of “could it work better?” as I grew up.

What are some things that helped in your career?

I was fortunate enough to be selected in Grade 10 to attend the University of Adelaide’s Women in Engineering Expo (now, Women in STEM Expo) where we rotated through the different Engineering streams available, undertaking activities and hearing from industry professionals within each profession. This is where I was introduced to Chemical Engineering – a foundation in Problem Solving which provided a pathway to such diverse careers, and that first little spark ignited inside me career-wise.

From then, I did my Year 12 Research Project on Chemical Engineering, interviewing professionals across various industries to help confirm my passion for Engineering, and begin to consider what Industry I may wish to start in upon the completion of my degree. Little did I know, through doing this I had set myself up with future contacts for Work Experience, an Industry-based Honors Project, and most importantly – my first Mentor.

Throughout the duration of my studies, I did 2.5 years of work experience to complement my studies, jump into Project Management and develop the soft skills I needed to work with operational staff to deliver outcomes as a female within a heavily male-dominated industry.
Since Graduating, one of the things which have helped the most is undoubtedly having solid mentors, within and outside of the workplace. I have been fortunate enough to find Mentors who care enough about me, to be honest, rather than telling me what I want to hear; as well as point out when I am out of my integrity or when I have made a mistake, and will ultimately, allow me to learn from any challenging scenarios as well as reflect and grow.

The other key contributor to my career (to which I attribute a large amount of my development, and ultimately career growth) is being open and eager to take on the opportunity presented by stretch roles. Having a solid mentor in place whilst diving into these stretch roles was critical for me; to support my reflection, growth, and navigation of challenging circumstances.

What or who has influenced your career journey?

Being exposed to passionate and inspiring people within the fields of Engineering, Manufacturing and Leadership who love what they do, and love inspiring others to join them and learn from their experiences.
This is in large part why I take every opportunity to participate in anything which encourages women to aspire to join roles that are historically male- dominated.

Additionally, and of great significance: Mentors – I can categorically say without mentors, there were challenging scenarios and experiences across my career which may have resulted in me leaving my industry without the support of those mentors to navigate them. Non-traditional industries have taken fantastic steps forward to cultivate a better environment for females, however, in some instances it can still be challenging as a woman entering a non-traditional industry; and having support to navigate this is so important.

What subjects did you love or were you good at in school?

To be candid, I was one of those kids that were good at most subjects in school whether it was drama, PE, Math or Science. However, the subjects I loved the most were the ones where the Teacher or special guests were inspiring and you could tell THEY loved what they were doing, and genuinely believed others could do it too.

What did you want to be or do when you left school?

I wanted with every fibre of my being to be a Chemical Engineer, with one of the main reasons being the diverse opportunities available for Chemical Engineers – as I could get bored easily and couldn’t see myself doing the same thing forever. As I navigated through my Tertiary Studies it became abundantly clear the opportunities for Chemical Engineers were much faster than I could imagine, as many companies hire Engineers for their strength in problem-solving which can be advantageous within really – any role & therefore often encourage them to move into other fields such as Finance, Business and Leadership.

Since then I have definitely been exposed to diverse opportunities – being involved in Project Management, Leadership & People Development, New Product Development, Localisation of Manufactured Imports, EHS Initiatives, Customer Relations and now Supply Chain.

What type of qualifications did you study?

Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical) (Hons)

What are the types of roles you’ve had?

• ANZ Supply Planner
• Manufacturing Engineer
• Graduate Process Control & Automation Engineer

Lastly, how are you making your own mark?

On my first day as a qualified Engineer – the first woman Engineer to join the team, my now Husband gifted me a necklace with shattered glass in it which came with the quote “Glass Ceiling: an unofficially acknowledged barrier to advancement in a profession especially affecting women and members of minorities” – with the shattered glass representing breaking of the glass ceiling.
Ever since that day, I have been making my mark by breaking that ceiling, making it less hard for the next woman after me to break; and encouraging others to do the same.

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