If it was up to me: Lisa Brennan

by | Feb 22, 2023

Following a 16-year career as a Quantity Surveyor and Project Manager in the Civil Engineering consultancy industry, Lisa Brennan now lectures both full and part-time students across a realm of programmes in the built environment at ATU Sligo.

She oversees the female network within the Department of Civil and Construction, which is a monthly gathering for all female staff and students. The network meetings incorporate a female industry guest speaker as a role model and are an opportunity to grow contacts and meet others in a similar situation.

Lisa Brennan also sits on the CIOB Republic of Ireland Hub Committee and is the ATU Sligo CIOB representative. Last November, pictured above, she mentored and accompanied the first Irish all-female team to the CIOB Tomorrow’s Leaders challenge, where the team took third place.

If you could spend a day in someone else’s shoes who would it be?

It would have to be anyone rich and famous, simply to experience how the other half live. Make-up and wardrobe to start the day, each meal prepared, jet setting. A day would probably be sufficient however, as they say, the grass is always greener!

What law would you change?

I think we need to see legal changes around housing, in some form of housing for all. There is no quick fix solution but even in the long run, we need to make changes now to prevent future generations experiencing the same housing issues.

What’s your pet peeve?

I love to cook but when a dish is almost complete, elements can disappear as my family dip into pots and trays to nibble before we serve up. This always grates on me that they cannot wait until it hits the table! A small one but it gets me every time.

Favourite landmark?

Queen Maeve’s grave on Knocknarea here in Sligo. It is a lovely walk up the mountain and the tradition is to take a stone from the bottom of the grave and bring it to the top. The views from the top are out of this world.

Who should be more well-known?

Women working in the construction sector. Since joining academia in 2020, I visit schools to promote our programmes and am always amazed that young Irish girls are unaware of career opportunities in the built environment. Once I explain what a QS, Civil Engineer or Project Manager do on a daily basis, many students become so curious about the industry. In my opinion, we simply do not have the role model exposure in Ireland for young girls to understand the potential jobs available to them in the construction sector.

Who has inspired you most?

My mother, Josie, has always inspired my siblings and I to do whatever we wish in life. Her attitude is to take everything in her stride, and she rarely gets stressed. Always a glass half full person, it can be so refreshing to be with someone who just deals with the now.

If you could get rid of one Irish county which one would it be?

I couldn’t possibly choose! Every one of our counties are unique in so many ways – you cannot beat a staycation in Ireland.

What song would you play for the rest of your life?

Anything from Bob Marley. You cannot help but relax every muscle and kick back to reggae music.

Favourite quote?

‘When life gives you lemons, make lemonade’ because I believe in finding solutions and not problems. A positive attitude can move mountains in my eyes.

What emoji should be banned and introduced?

I am not sure that I feel qualified to answer this question. I recently found out that emojis can have different meanings to different generations.

Favourite online site?

I do not get a huge amount of time for social media these days but when I get the chance I like to use LinkedIn to keep abreast of industry happenings. I also dip into Instagram and Facebook to keep in touch on some level with friends and extended family around the world.

If you could create any Olympic sport what would it be?

What about construction trades? Take the World Skills competition to the Olympics!

What should everyone do at least once in their life?

Something that scares them because once our fear is faced, we become stronger and move onto greater things.

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