• LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Youtube

Is 2017 your year to take a chance? Let’s Talk

February 2017 marked the ten year anniversary of me leaving the country I grew up in, and it seemed a poignant time to reflect on just how much life has changed in ten years based on the choices that have become available to me throughout my career.


I grew up in a fairly small city in New Zealand, with a population of about 35,000 at the time. For as long as I can remember I had a burning desire to get out and see what else was out there, to be independent and make my own way in the world, and I cannot thank my parents enough for instilling curiosity and a desire for independence in me and my sister as young girls growing up in a fairly rural environment.

I left my home town to go to university and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to further my education. It forced me to stand on my own two feet. A year or two after graduation I’d had a really bad day at a job I absolutely hated and called my mum, her advice was “Shelley, you should move to Australia”. My best friend was living there so I thought OK let’s take a chance, why not! Six weeks later I was off.

When I left New Zealand I had a degree in tourism and business and had found a job in Australia quite quickly, but I definitely hadn’t found my calling yet. I knew I had an interest in HR from my degree and had a little bit of recruitment experience so I applied for a job in HR & In house recruitment. I knew I had found my calling and the rest as they say is history.

In 2011 I moved to the UK and continued in the career path I had begun to forge for myself and with my past experience in Australia, Carol White and the WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff team took me on as a maternity cover recruiter. Soon after that they made me permanent, and now five years on I still get to do the job I love in a company that supports me and develops me. WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff has recognised my work ethic, my passion for what I do and my capabilities and because of that I have had opportunities to expand and develop my skills, travel, and work with senior management, and I know that my personal contribution to the success of our business is respected and appreciated.

Moving so far from my family and my comfort zone certainly hasn’t always been easy, and I do wonder what life would have been like if I never moved away all those years ago, but I have a very good career and a good life here in the UK so I choose not to worry about the what if’s.  I have a beautiful family of my own now, I have a job that I love and for that I am very grateful.

The lessons I have learnt in the last ten years are to make your own mind up about your life, choose happiness and positivity, and take a chance every once in a while. It could be the best decision you ever make. Taking chances has led to me working for a growing global company that employs more people than live in the town I grew up in!

Is 2017 the year for you to take a chance?

If you’d like to take on some ambitious and exciting challenges in 2017 and beyond, we’d like to speak with you in the strictest confidence to understand more about your aspirations. Let’s Talk – register your interest here

Shelley Lawton, senior recruitment specialist at WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff