Davina Rooney

Davina Rooney

Davina Rooney is a Civil Engineer who works as General Manager, Sustainability at Stockland, which is Australia’s largest property development company.

At School

Davina went to high school in Sydney, and studied Maths, English, Physics, Chemistry, Ancient History and General Studies.

I loved that these subjects ‘made sense’ to me, and I find that science is the study of ‘why’. Learning more about how things work has always fascinated me.

Davina wasn’t sure if she wanted to study engineering or business/law. She was lucky to have support and encouragement from her school, who nominated her for a scholarship to study engineering.

While she was still at school she worked delivering pamphlets and also in the toys and sporting section of a department store.

My inspiration

My school had some engineers come and speak (because before that I didn’t really understand exactly what they did) and my parents were very supportive of a career in engineering.

University and first job

Davina studied Civil Engineering at university.

When I started engineering, I wanted to check that I was happy with the role, and so I approached engineering firms about completing administrative work for them. I started this in my first term, and then had more interesting jobs throughout my degree.

Her first job was with an engineering company called Arup and they sent her overseas for a few years, giving her a range of different opportunities.

Davina volunteered to in the Indian Himalayas on a school that sought to bring modern technology whilst respecting ancient culture. The school won a number of international awards for sustainability.

When I was there a major Buddhist ceremony was held at the school with approximately 60, 000 attendees – it was very humbling to be part of something much bigger than me.

Davina’s advice to students

Take as many opportunities as you can. Follow your passion, and try new things

Davina says that the key personal attributes and skills that have contributed to her success are:

  • analytical judgement
  • people skills and networking
  • good communication skills
  • personal resilience.

Determination is also important to Davina. She says that mistakes are opportunities to learn. Usually when something goes wrong, there is an opportunity to fix it and develop new skills.

After her volunteering experience in India, Davina encourages people to ‘give back’ to their industry through volunteer activities or committees and there you will find like-minded people.

Learn more about ‘how to think’ rather than collecting specific knowledge

Spend time with those that you admire and value, and seek to learn.

I am very passionate about STEM because we need to change our relationship with how we use resources and take care of our planet. STEM has the opportunity to deliver this.

Davina’s current job

Davina says that her job is very diverse; she works with all of Stockland’s teams to develop and implement strategies for sustainable buildings and efficient building use. This includes things like building design, choice of building materials use of solar panels or water storage tanks. Davina’s day could involve working with teams on planning delivering projects, meeting community partners, advising teams at building sites, or working on policies in the head office.

My own job didn’t exist 10 years ago, so it’s likely that my future roles won’t always exist today either. I would like to continue to be part of making positive change as we transition to a low carbon environment. Sustainability is how we treat this world, so that the resources are available for future generations and with equity.

STEM at work

STEM has a large influence in my job; whether it is understanding the buildings that we operate, reviewing their design, or reviewing whether optimisation technologies will work. All of these skills or analysis areas rely heavily on STEM.
Digital technologies are part of any modern workplace, and have reshaped the way that we work.
Women in Engineering