Early in her career at Zinfra, Petra Sleglova made an error. She knew it was an error right away. But it was late in the day, and she had to wait the next day before she told her manager. We all know that feeling. She didn’t sleep. She was so worried about what she feared was to come. But, as she explains, the outcome gave her the confidence to know she had landed in the right workplace.
“We sat down together that morning, calmly discussed the mistake and made a plan together to prevent similar mistakes in future.
“That was, without doubt, the moment I knew I made the right decision to be with Zinfra; I had admitted my mistake and was met with the most sympathetic and positive response.”
It is all part of a massive journey for Petra. Coming all the way from the Czech Republic, she has met plenty of challenges along the way and has overcome them all. To be honest, it could take us much longer than the space we have here to dive into it all, but here’s a snapshot.
A Czech’rd career path
“I grew up in Jablonne nad Orlici in the Czech Republic with one older brother and entrepreneurial parents,” said Petra.
A year after her own business management studies, someone very close to Petra tragically died in a car accident.
“Perhaps I was in shock, but I decided to leave my home country and move to Ireland where I spent seven years and learnt English.
“This move was one big lesson for me. The only job I could get was a kitchenhand in a fish and chip shop and as a cleaner in a restaurant. Two part-time jobs where I frequently had to work 12–14-hour days to pay my bills. You know, no one really cares what diploma or education you have if you don’t speak the language, right? It was a lot of hard work and self-discipline.”
In Ireland, Petra worked her way up and started managing others. But, as an immigrant, she felt she couldn’t escape the label of an interloper.
“I had to deal with disrespect and discrimination. I had to constantly prove myself because I was an outsider. This experience instilled in me the importance of respect and of treating people equally.”
In 2012, her partner received a job in Australia, and Petra got a job at the Czech Embassy in Canberra.
Moving countries twice, is already quite a journey. But there’s more…
Starting a new career challenge with Zinfra
“When my second daughter was two years old, we moved to Melbourne and I started as a Personal Assistant, supporting the Operation Manager at Zinfra.
“As a young woman on a career path I got so much support from my colleagues and the Zinfra team.
“I have had the honor to work side by side with the most skilled Managers and industry professionals. They supported me as an individual and gave me every opportunity to professionally grow. I have learnt from the best.”
In May 2021 there was an opening for Maintenance Planning Team Leader position. Petra tells us that, “management recognized my potential, skills, and desire to progress in my career and I was accepted into the position on secondment”.
“It was a big challenge, and I can’t say it was easy but the support I have around me from my colleagues and mentors was, and still is, outstanding.”
The life of a Maintenance Planning Team Leader
Her role now has numerous challenges. But it’s nothing Petra can’t handle.
“As a Maintenance Planning Team Leader, I am responsible for management of the Works Planning team, ensuring that we provide defined Maintenance activities, and work packages for safe and effective delivery.
“I make sure that maintenance work requests are accordingly prioritized and delivered within required timeframes in line with our KPIs and business objectives. Along with all that, I am required to provide scenarios of potential risks and assist with developing mitigation strategies.”
She says the biggest challenges of her job involve multitasking in such a high pace environment.
“Because my team is so broad and manages all different stages of the planning process, I find myself jumping from one issue to another. One minute I can be building relationships with our clients, and the next minute I can be chasing up planned dates for indexing works, or running multiple data analyses, or discussing delivery of complex jobs while monitoring my team performance or addressing resource imbalance and ensuring forecast alignments.”
Balancing her career journey with family life
As you can see, Petra has led an amazing life, but it’s a little like those TV commercials: ‘but wait, there’s still more!’
Even as her career at Zinfra has progressed at a blistering pace, she has also had time to bring up a young family.
“I am a mother of two young girls with a partner who works away a lot. So, by the time I turn my PC off, do homework with my kids, cook dinner, and feed everyone (including our two furry family members), I don’t have much energy left to do fun stuff. I’m sure, all mothers with a full-time job can relate!
“But on the weekends, I love spending time with my girls outdoors, exploring local walking tracks. We also enjoy arts and crafts. We can easily spend the whole day creating sculptures and paintings.”
The relationship between Petra’s driven, purposeful, people-oriented attitude and Zinfra’s culture of inclusion and support has been a match made in heaven. While she is keen to give plenty of praise to the company, for its willingness to give her a shot and to back her, Petra’s rise has a lot to do with her own character.
“I can sometimes be full-on, but in a good way!
“I am a positive individual who loves good fun so most of my conversations with my colleagues end up with a good belly laugh. I am a caring person who treats all people equally with respect, and I care for all my friends and colleagues like I do for my family. I love challenges, good competition, and I can assure you that if I decide to do something, I will give it my all!”
A career journey that might have surprised her younger self
Petra’s journey might have shocked her younger self.
She tells us “My high school self would tell me that I’m ‘high’” she says with a laugh.
“To that, I would say back ‘You might think you are just an ordinary girl, from a small town the world hasn’t heard of, but keep being brave, work hard, and grab opportunities by the hair. One day you will look back and you will be amazed!’”
Clearly, like her earlier self, Zinfra is in awe of Petra’s incredible path to a high-level position and wide respect among her peers, and so are we.