Amanda didn’t have a clear goal for her life after high school. She had thoughts of being a chef but ultimately decided that wasn’t for her. At one point she thought about being a home economics teacher but when she mentioned it to a teacher and she found that she would need to take science, something she had no interest in doing, that idea was quickly removed.
Seeming like the natural progression she enrolled in university, the first female in her extended family to do so. She remembers her dad telling her grandfather that she was going to uni and her grandfather’s response was “why did you let her do that?” Her dad, without missing a beat, said that you educate the wife, you educate the family.
Amanda currently owns her own consulting business, Amanda Bulow Consulting, where she focuses on procurement and estimating. She works with businesses of all sizes in all areas across Australia. With a laptop and internet, she can work anywhere!
She left the security of full-time employment at the end of 2019 to spend more time on her “side hustle” Awesome Women in Construction (AWIC). It had started to grow organically, and she had to make a choice to either follow her corporate career or see what she could do with AWIC. It wasn’t always easy, but it has been rewarding and looking back she says that she wishes she would have done it sooner.
As founder and CEO of AWIC, Amanda works to help women build their confidence and through AWIC she offers a platform to showcase these women and their organizations. A not-for-profit association, AWIC connects members with a like-minded community of women, and members benefit from a wide range of educational and support resources, regular networking events, access to exclusive content and the opportunity to grow and promote their careers or business.
In July 2022, AWIC launched their first app, Be Ready, developed in partnership with Queensland University of Technology. The app helps women, young people and school leavers to find their path in the construction industry. Users can complete a quick career quiz and be matched with potential career pathways. With Stage 2 of the app in development, Be Ready will soon provide an A to Z of careers in construction, with position descriptions, salary expectations and tertiary education or trade course pathways for users. Amanda says that it is her goal to have it on every high school student’s phone in Australia and New Zealand.
When asked if she’s ever felt out of place in the workplace because she is a woman, she says that when she first started a position as an estimator, lunchtime was something that the “boys” always did together, leaving her feeling excluded. One day she decided to invite herself and after that, it was all ok. She does admit that being accepted as “part of the team” wasn’t always easy and although nothing was ever said to her face, she could hear the conversations around her.
Amanda says that if she could go back and have a chat with her 18-year-old self, she would tell her that it is going to take her some time to find her “tribe” but once she does it will be AWESOME! She would also tell her that she will have to work hard, sometimes harder than everyone else in the room to prove that she belongs but that is what is going to set her up to achieve great things. Although not everyone will like you, what you believe in or what you stand for, you will survive. As for those people who will try to derail your dreams, be sure to kick them off at the next station!
Along her way Amanda says she has had several people who have encouraged her, lifted her up when things got hard and believed in her when she had a hard time believing in herself. A boss in her early career who gave her a chance as an estimator, something she knew very little about, is someone she credits with setting her on the path to where she is today. Her fellow colleagues who taught her what she knows today and took 5 minutes out of their day to show her how to do something or how to do it better, answer her “silly questions” (sometimes more than once) and if she didn’t understand something took her aside to explain it a little better, are people that she says she wants to encourage the next generation to seek out as they start their career path. Most importantly, she says that she is thankful for the support and encouragement of her family who may not have always understood why but were always there for her.
Amanda also wants to give a shout out to her nieces, who she loves spending time with and who not only keep her grounded but remind her of what’s important and why she does what she does!