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Blessing Danha

Blessing Danha

Project manager and professional engineer, KPMG

Expertise

Project Management

Location

United Kingdom
Career highlights

Working as an ICE STEM ambassador in schools around London

Elected onto the ICE Council

ICE Future Leader to the institution’s first female President, Dr Jean Venables

My working day

No day is the same.

I work for KPMG in Major Projects Advisory, where we provide project, programme and portfolio management services to infrastructure clients.

A typical day starts at 9am. During a week when we have a board meeting, I’ll spend my time engaging with the client and partner organisations to help me assess progress against milestones, before compiling the board pack.

I’ll put some time in the diary with the Senior Responsible Owner (SRO) for a pre-meeting briefing session. Our scope of service includes secretariat duties, so I’ll ensure that meetings run smoothly.

I’m responsible for minutes and following actions, as well as planning the agenda for future meetings.

An important aspect of our role is facilitating discussions and meetings between the partner organisations, like Highways England and Department for Transport (DfT).

I also plan and run workshops on risk, lessons learned and planning.

I tend to finish work around 6pm. I’m an avid triathlete, so will sometimes spend my evenings swimming or cycling with my local triathlon club.

If I’m not doing that, then I’ll attend a networking event or catch up with friends.

I’m a civil engineer, but I’m also a fashion and art lover.

My career inspiration

I always knew I wanted to do something that contributed towards a better quality of life for everyone, and that hasn’t changed.

As engineers, we can really shape society and that’s something to be proud of.

The regeneration of the area around King’s Cross in London is one of the most exciting projects of recent times.

I’m a big fan of transforming brownfield sites into desirable open spaces for the public.

Blessing worked on the Qatar Rail Development Programme in Qatar. Image credit: Qatar Rail
Blessing worked on the Qatar Rail Development Programme in Qatar. Image credit: Qatar Rail

What’s one great thing that you love about civil engineering that you didn’t know until you started working in the industry?

The constant drive by the profession to get more women into it.

Which civil engineering myth(s) you would like to bust?

That it’s boring and tough.

It’s incredibly interesting and you work as a team.

There’s support at every step of the way.

Which civil engineering project (past or present) do you wish you’d worked on?

The London Olympics.

What about being a civil engineer inspires you?

The ability to really make a difference to society and working with incredibly smart people.

Would you recommend a career in civil engineering?

There’s variety in the work that you can do.

There’s more to it than muddy boots and concrete. The industry is big and changing.

I’m finding the application of big data and technology on some of our ageing infrastructure to be an interesting area of work. It’s changing the way we think about infrastructure.

Education

I started work as a site engineer working for Kier Construction because I wanted to learn the practical tools of building.

Working on-site connected me to the importance of health and safety management.

After years of working with engineering and construction firms, I decided to join KPMG to get work with economists, engineers, technologists and so on, on solutions to complex challenges faced by our global clients.

Hobbies

When I’m not consuming news via social media and podcasts, I cycle pretty much every weekend as part of a north London female cycling club.

I travel when I can, and I’m always reading.