Wonderful Women in STEM: Meet Mathanki Aru

Mathanki Aru

“Over time, no matter what comes my way, I still stay positive, because I have my own back.”

With over 1.2 million Australians in the Construction Industry, you would think that women account for a moderate fraction of that figure. Unfortunately, that statement couldn’t be less true. According to the Victorian Government, the female participation percentage in Australian construction is a staggering 2%. So how can we close that gap, and foster the next generation of women in construction?

For Women’s Health Week 2021, the team at Aptus took it upon ourselves to forge relationships with women who are leading the industry and highlight their passion, talent, and amazing stories about how they entered the industry.

We sat down with Mathanki Aru, Operations Manager at Thomas Archer Homes, to gain some insight into the world of one of the women changing the face of the industry.

Mathanki is the Operations Manager, and one of the key leaders of the Thomas Archer, working in consultation with the Managing Director to achieve strategic growth, and winning Project Home of the Year 2020 amongst other awards. This was in tandem with evolving process to suit the company’s needs, changing business systems, implementing culture, managing employee/client expectations, meeting deadlines/KPIs through the growth phase of the company and recruiting to set up Thomas Archer’s positive image and reputation as a leading Architectural builder.

The pride and passion that Mathanki brings to her work is tangible, especially when she discusses the women that continue to shape and inspire her career development. She cites her mother as “the strongest female [she] knows”. Coming from humble beginnings, her parents migrated to Australia from Sri Lanka during the Civil War, and they have gone above and beyond to give Mathanki and her sister all the resources, support, and education to become “fiercely independent” women. She goes on to say that she draws strength and positivity from her mother’s experiences, and states that her mum has shaped her ability to independently adapt and overcome, without having to rely on a man.

When asked about her ability to maintain her wellness in a notoriously male-dominated industry, Mathanki laughs and mentions her love for shopping, eating desserts, and fashion as her vices. More than that, she states that she “[has her] own back”, and checks in with herself frequently. As a manager, she takes a lot of pride in seeing the successes of her team, but also encourages them to have and maintain a healthy work/life balance. She offers sound advice to young women in STEM: “Build a relationship with yourself; trust in the knowledge that you bring to the table, trust your gut to know the right thing to do no matter what”.

Mathanki defies the stereotype of what a modern-day successful woman looks like, and her self-awareness is empowering.

Watch a snapshot of Mathanki’s video interview below.