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Gabriella Martini is a mechanical engineer and project manager, or as she terms it, a fixer, with a passion for mentoring and promoting a healthier STEM pipeline. Join us as we talk about mechanical engineering, mentorship, mental health, and aquascaping.

About Gabriella Martini

Gabriella Martini is a curious, dynamic and adaptive engineering professional with a proven record of managing a portfolio of engineering projects from concept to implementation.

She focuses on embedding sustainable business processes while generating and maintaining relationships, is dependable and a structured thinker who thrives on solving problems in challenging, fast paced and pressurised environments.

Gabriella actively participates in a number of programs which promote a healthier STEM pipeline, always curious on how she can further broaden her impact.


Books authored by or mentioned in our conversation.

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  • [00:00:50] Gabriella's journey to mechanical engineering.
  • [00:02:09] Finding a good fit for learning and teaching styles.
  • [00:02:18] Being given a set path, and a first generation university student.
  • [00:05:17] The benefit of hindsight and the desire to help others find their way.
  • [00:06:30] Where Gabriella saw her future in mechanical engineering.
  • [00:06:51] Wanting to explore the full range of what mechanical engineering has to offer.
  • [00:07:37] The scope of mechanical engineering.
  • [00:08:58] The discipline allows you to be flexible and branch into other areas.
  • [00:09:57] The growing range of industries in Western Australia.
  • [00:10:30] Joining FirstMode.
  • [00:11:27] About FirstMode.
  • [00:12:52] Misconceptions about what the industries involve.
  • [00:13:38] How to approach projects of this scale.
  • [00:15:45] The similarities between operational and project settings.
  • [00:16:25] You can't be formulaic in your processes with creative engineering.
  • [00:17:09] Governance in mining and engineering.
  • [00:19:11] The joys of Classified Plant.
  • [00:21:13] Both project management and governance are working with people to solve problems.
  • [00:22:25] It's about problem-solving and affecting change in the industry in various ways.
  • [00:24:26] This is not the career Gabriella imagined she would have so far.
  • [00:25:20] The mistaken belief that we have one chance to choose our path.
  • [00:25:50] Using herself as an example of the indirect path.
  • [00:26:09] Don't have regrets. Everything that happens is part of your journey.
  • [00:26:28] Living with anxiety and depression and having a breakdown that became a pivot point for her life and career.
  • [00:28:01] The stigma that still exists around mental health.
  • [00:28:31] Being more open about her own experiences.
  • [00:29:37] The changes that resulted after her breakdown, and being more conscious of self-care.
  • [00:32:38] Finding methods that work for you.
  • [00:33:03] Writing and reflection journals.
  • [00:38:46] Motivated to mentor.
  • [00:41:46] Experiences as a mentee.
  • [00:42:18] To MBA, or not to MBA.
  • [00:44:41] The opportunities we have to explore other facets of our fields.
  • [00:48:31] Common first years at university.
  • [00:49:10] How to juggle a heavy mentoring load and other commitments.
  • [00:49:25] Calendar all the things.
  • [00:50:08] A FIFO lifestyle teaches you to manage your time.
  • [00:52:25] You perform better when you look after yourself.
  • [00:53:55] Taking time to reflect on who you are and who you want to be.
  • [00:56:04] Seeing the shift in being able to have open conversations about self.
  • [00:58:26] Just as we innovate at work, we need to innovate how we treat ourselves.
  • [01:01:52] Bonus Question 1: What hobby or interest do you have that is most unrelated to your field of work?
  • [01:01:58] Aquascaping.
  • [01:04:48] It's nice to work with your hands.
  • [01:06:42] Bonus Question 2: Which childhood book holds the strongest memories for you?
  • [01:07:53] Not really into books, K'Nex was where it's at.
  • [01:08:52] LEGO Technic.
  • [01:10:59] Zoom calls connecting people in more ways than one.
  • [01:11:54] Travelling to North Korea.
  • [01:13:49] Bonus Question 3: What advice you would give someone who wants to do what you do? Or what advice should they ignore?
  • [01:13:53] "Why don't I give it a try?"
  • [01:15:46] Advice may not take your capabilities and experience into account. Be discerning.
  • [01:20:13] There's an art to giving and receiving feedback.

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Music is “Gypsy Jazz in Paris 1935” by Brett Van Donsel.