Celebrating International Women's Day

March 8, 2021: News, People

Monday the 8th March celebrates International Women's Day, recognising the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. This year's theme, #ChooseToChallenge, focuses on how we can accelerate gender parity. To support and acknowledge International Women's Day, we introduce a few of the many talented women at Warren and Mahoney.

Intl Womens Day21

Divya Purushotham – Associate, Auckland

What advice would you give those starting out their careers?

Stay connected, be engaged, have a voice, and try to say yes when within your means. New opportunities come from people around you and your willingness to take part – which in turn can facilitate your learning and growth.

Who inspires you and why?

This constantly changes. Creatively, I love the work of Agnes Martin as her paintings offer a sense of order, proportion, elegance, and harmony. While she has often been celebrated as a minimalist, her work (and her life) was incredibly complex as it removed/challenged all notions of ego while also achieving sophistication that went beyond being defined by any movement.

If we are talking about inspiration a little closer to home, I take this from a long line of incredibly strong women in my family who have always kept me grounded through adversity - my mother, grandmothers, and my great-grandmother.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I really appreciate the access that we have to a wide range of expertise in-house. We have an immense amount of talent – both creative and technical – and working in an environment that is constantly challenging the two is extremely engaging. Additionally, the scale at which we work and the impact we can have on our cities is something that I've truly valued.

What project(s) are you most proud of and why?

I have spent most of my time at W+M working on projects in Wynyard Quarter (a total of five). Each of these projects are quite special as they have helped shape a key part of the city. They have also offered a different learning experience, enabling growth in a different space each time as I have been able to work with and learn from a great team that has relentlessly pushed for better outcomes. Since our Auckland Studio is based in Wynyard Quarter, it has been fantastic to experience the growth and transformation of the precinct in the last five years.

Tamara White – Principal, Sydney

What advice would you give those starting out their careers?

Be open to everything, be a sponge, get involved, don't be afraid to ask for help and when a door opens, take a good look inside and step through. Unexpected and incredible opportunities have a way of appearing if you are open to them.

Who inspires you and why?

Right now, I am totally awed and inspired by the young female voices fearlessly following their passions and beliefs on issues of diversity, inequality, behaviour and bias. Poet activist, Amanda Gormans extraordinary poem at the US Inauguration encapsulates this fierce intelligence, calling out and challenging the status quo, layered with humanity and hope.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

First and foremost, that W+M is a people led business. The resulting quality of design, depth of work and the open collaborative nature of everyone I have engaged with reflects this. Being relatively fresh to W+M, I have been blown away by the responsive, open, and agile creativity of the team.

What project(s) are you most proud of and why?

It's pretty fantastic to kick off with a leader in the medical device industry, as they launch their global business across Australia and New Zealand. It has been fast and furious and enabled cross studio collaboration between Sydney and Auckland. We have also collaborated on several bids. This immersion across studios has helped me build relationships across the studio network and understand our incredible capability and talent.


Divya Purushotham + Tamara White
Divya Purushotham + Tamara White

Anne Cerezo – Senior Interior Designer, Melbourne

Who inspires you and why?

I have been lucky enough to have had some amazing lifelong women friends. We admire each other for our strength, cheekiness, self-belief, humour and support in general. They give me the strength to strive for more, keep me focused, provide support and most importantly laughter.

What advice would you give those starting out their careers?

The design and construction industry is very volative. The key aspect for a happy and successful career is to be passionate about design in general not just architecture/interiors This will help you see through the tough times find inspiration in a broader spectrum.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I believe the W+M social and professional culture stand out for me. The culture is respectful and authentic. It's not fabulist.

What project(s) are you most proud of and why?

The largest project I am currently working on is Northcote Aquatic and Recreation Centre. I am proud it will the first 6 Star Sports, Aquatic and Wellness Centre in Melbourne and it is my first SW centre.


Alyson Rooney, Finance Manager, Christchurch

Who inspires you and why?

I feel inspired by people doing "family" and "career" at the same time, I feel inspired by a workplace that allows for this to happen successfully and I feel inspired when a family works together to bring the best out in each member so everyone has an opportunity to shine.

Based on this I feel strongly inspired by Jacinda Ardern and her family – she is showing New Zealand and the world a different way of doing "family" successfully whilst also doing "career". I feel this gives women the courage to have agreements within their family that doesn't always follow the traditional norm.

What advice would you give those starting out their careers?

Be open to working hard. Keep busy and put your hand up for things on offer – take every new opportunity. Get to know as many people in your workplace as possible – you never know when you might need them.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I most enjoy working with the people within the Finance team. We have respect for each other, we are supportive and are always striving to do our best.

On a broader scale I enjoy working for a high-profile company that is actively involved in some the country's most iconic projects. I enjoy being surrounded by high achievers who produce high quality work which means I'm always proud to say I work at W+M.

What work / project(s) are you most proud of and why?

My role is to provide decision making data that the leadership team and Board use to make strategic decisions – like managing the W+M resources wisely to enable W+M to do more.

The financial reports Finance produce help tell the story of the project hours W+M deliver every month, the infrastructure to support our projects, and balancing these transactions to produce useful data for decision making.

I'm very proud to have been involved with several key projects over the past two years that have enhanced the reporting tool for W+M.

Anne Cerezo + Alyson Rooney
Anne Cerezo + Alyson Rooney

Hester Paul, Architectural Graduate – Wellington

Who inspires you and why?

My mum - she was an artist, print maker and constant creator.

What advice would you give those starting out their careers?

Work on a variety of projects and at a variety of stages. Visit sites when you get the opportunity and always ask questions.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

The variety of projects and the people. The morning coffee and quiz, the banter, the design crits, the support and the diversity within the studio.

What project(s) are you most proud of and why?

The Sarjeant Art Gallery in Whanganui. The project has been in the office almost 20 years and is finally on site. It's exciting to see this old heritage building being strengthened and the new extension coming out of the ground.​


Danielle Bayne, Architectural Technician, Auckland

Who inspires you and why?

I'm inspired by those who are passionate about what they do and have the ability to pass their drive and excitement onto others around them.

What advice would you give those starting out their careers?

Trust in your abilities, while appreciating you have always got more to learn. Sometimes your progression isn't always linear, and opportunities can present themselves in unexpected ways, but it is important not to discount them.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I value the vast range of knowledge and experience all in one place. I am always able to learn from those around me, no matter their level or area of experience.

What project(s) are you most proud of and why?

Being able to follow the NZICC façade from documentation to site observation has been a highlight for me. Reflecting on my 2.5 years on the project it stretched my abilities more than I realised, and I have been able to take those learnings with me onto my next projects. I am grateful for the support I received from the team and look forward to the day it is completed.


Hester Paul + Danielle Bayne
Hester Paul + Danielle Bayne