News & Insights

Flexibility and career development: Sarah Lambert's journey

It can be an uncertain and overwhelming time in a parent’s life when returning to work.

Yet, it doesn’t have to be.

Raising a family takes dedication, love, time and energy.

Combining family life with work life, as well as fitting some time in there for self-care, can often feel like a constant struggle to keep all those juggling balls in the air.

When returning to work after taking parental leave, parents often wonder how they can deliver to all stakeholders in their life, both professionally and personally.

As a mother of three, civil engineer and newly appointed Operations Leader for WA/NT, Sarah Lambert says it’s all about the people and team culture around you who can help ease the juggle. For Sarah, having a partner dedicated to all aspects of family life and a great team to work with that you can depend on can make all the difference.

“I have chosen to come back to work full time because it works for me, my career and my family life,” Sarah said.

“I was encouraged by seeing my peers and managers at Cardno who are either currently navigating or have previously navigated these challenges and who understand what it means to commit to the roles of being a professional and being a parent.

“They supported me to integrate my home and work life by working from home two days per week and achieving my work hours in a flexible way.”

Sarah Lambert, Operations Leader - WA/NT

Since Sarah re-entered the workforce earlier this year, and with the support of Cardno’s flexible working from home arrangements, Sarah focuses on her full-time hours through the week as a whole rather than hours worked on a daily basis.

“I work from the office on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, using these days as an opportunity to get as much face-time as I can with key people, clients or workshopping a strategy with the team,” Sarah said.

“My days at home are more focused on my independent tasks such as reviewing reports, writing proposals, preparing invoices – I enjoy the balance between team time and individual alone time. These days also give me the opportunity to pick up my son after school and throw on a load of laundry or two!”

Understanding is an integral part of our culture, and flexibility is a big part of that as we try to cater as best as possible to the needs of employees to provide a greater work-life balance.

“I was hired into Cardno while I was expecting, and they were aware of my desire to take parental leave, so I knew right away that this was a workplace which supported the combination of family and work life,” Sarah said.

“Having this culture and mindset within the workplace made the transition easier for me when I returned to work after parental leave as well.

“I felt empowered to re-enter the workplace, and although it was the first time I came back from parental leave with Cardno, I have never felt better about coming back to work. Cardno is at such an interesting place In Western Australia at the moment, with its industry booming and room for potential growth. I love the energy and drive this job brings and of course, the flexibility.”

Earlier this year, Sarah was nominated for the High Potential Leadership programme while on parental leave.

“It’s been a great opportunity to network across the APAC region and develop my own leadership skills while focussing on some of the APAC strategic goals. I’ve only been with Cardno a year, so the nomination really gave me a sense that the company is invested in my future with them.”

Sarah’s career has also taken a new direction, recently transitioning from a project delivery and technical role into one focused on operations and strategic planning as Operations Leader – WA/NT

In this role, Sarah will be pivotal in guiding the direction of the WA/NT business as it continues to grow from the strength to strength off the back of the growth of the west.

“I am so excited about the opportunity that this brings to take our business to the next level. I think my role is to connect people, break down obstacles, and smooth our path to success.

“With my support to our PMs, Business Leaders, and Regional Manager in hitting our commercial metrics, they can focus on delivering great work, and winning new projects.”

Sarah Lambert is a Senior Civil Engineer who has broad experience in water infrastructure, with a focus on stormwater management. She has worked internationally and values this chance to build new relationships and collaborate on new challenges.