Mechanical Engineering with Gabriella Martini (#38)


We talk about mechanical engineering, mentorship, mental health, and aquascaping.

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.

In our conversation, we talk about mechanical engineering, mentorship, mental health, and aquascaping.

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Show Notes

[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.
[00:15:25] Marker 16
[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.
[00:29:28] Marker 28
[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.
[01:22:28] Finding out more about Gabriella and her work.

Topics/Resources/People Mentioned

Note: Michele said that the Five Minute Journal asks you three things that you’re grateful for. That’s not all it asks. She was going to list the other things that you’re asked and the quotes that it shares, but got distracted by the discussion on gratitude reflection. You can see the other questions you’re asked by downloading the app or on the physical journal product page here.


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