Leadership Matters, So Does Self-Awareness

Leadership Matters, So Does Self-Awareness

July 06, 2022  | Maggie Walsh, Vice President and Strategic Pursuits Leader for the Transportation Business Group, HDR

Transportation transforms the world! As an established leader in the industry, I find it extraordinarily important to support, nurture, guide and listen to the up-and-coming rising stars who will continue the mission of our industry’s transformation. To navigate what lies ahead, these bright stars may want to give a few areas their keen consideration. 

Get to know you. Having traveled to more than 40 countries and lived in five of them, I have many stories and lessons learned. Probably the most important life lesson I have learned is knowing that the only person I can truly influence is myself. Go into each day conscious of who you want to be and manage your actions accordingly. 

Simplicity helps tackle the complex. Let’s start with the unmade bed as your video backdrop. Did you know that making your bed is the easiest form of success and accomplishment? There will be days that you will feel challenged, drained and exhausted, and at least you can say that you made your bed. 

Dress for success. Come dressed and ready for your day, especially when working remotely. If you are not willing to be seen, then there is a good chance you are not ready for your day. It is true that clothes influence your confidence level and ability to focus on the details. Respect the fortunate option of working at home and put your business-savvy attire on. 

Be mindful of what you eat. Our agencies and firms are providing more and more programs to support, teach, and monitor health and wellness habits. This is because our schedules are packed from the time we wake to the time we go to bed. Being fully attentive to the food you eat directly impacts your ability to perform at your highest potential. There is a difference between eating for energy and eating for entertainment. Have you tried eating a salad for breakfast? Delish.

Smile often. This is one of the easiest ways to fight off stress. Studies show that smiling helps lower blood sugar and blood pressure, boost immune systems, and release natural painkillers and serotonin. One smile will lead to additional smiles for you and for those around you. Try it on your next video conference call and see the difference. 

Inquiring minds want to know. I know you are smart. Individuals seeking success often want to know more. Asking lots of questions and listening without judgment are two great ways to learn more. Even as we work to understand the application of equity across the many aspects of our industry, the practice of being curious and listening to the perspectives of others will make your mind stronger and stronger.

The transportation industry is one of the best industries to excel in your career. There is something for everyone. It is a great time to dig in and find a way to make a difference. Every day you get to do something that makes our communities even better. We are truly fortunate to have jobs that are this fulfilling.


Maggie Walsh is Vice President and Strategic Pursuits Leader for the Transportation Business Group at HDR, a leading consulting company in engineering, architecture, environmental and construction services. The company is ranked #5 in ENR and is known for delivering top quality service to clients across the globe. She leads teams in securing new work by providing guidance, oversight and support for highly visible and game changing project pursuits. 

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