Women in Construction: In Pole Position for the Singapore Grand Prix

Virginia Yim
With the Singapore Grand Prix around the corner, I share why I’m part of the team.

Hard work, determination, and a passion for project management landed me the job of a lifetime at Faithful+Gould – project managing the Formula 1 Singapore Airlines Singapore Grand Prix.

However, it's not all glitz and glamour. Weeks leading up to the race is a frenzy – spending more time in the project site office than at home and grabbing sleep whenever and wherever we can to get the event ready – it's a side that the cameras don't reveal.

I started working on the Singapore Grand Prix in 2014 and since then have worked my way up to overseeing the delivery of high profile areas in the circuit park such as the Temasek Government Suite, Paddock Club Suites, and Paddock Lifestyle. This year, my role has extended to include the race team hospitality suites and garages, the grandstands, and the site-wide marquee structures and facilities.

I remember my first year managing the Paddock Club zone. It was as exciting as it was nerve-wracking. I carried a notebook with me all the time to jot down any ideas or tasks even when they came to me in the middle of the night. As with any other project, careful planning is essential. Months before the actual event, the whole team meets and strategises to define everyone’s roles and game plan. Having said that, as much as we prepare and plan, challenges will always crop up during the event.

Delivering a high-profile event such as Formula One is like performing a high-wire act without a safety net. There are no second chances and absolutely no time extension. It is all done in one take, and all you can do is organise, plan and prepare for the unexpected. As such, one needs to be highly motivated, versatile, able to work under pressure and make precise decisions.

Having studied Architecture, I started off working as a project manager in Canada. By the time I joined Faithful+Gould in Hong Kong, I was involved in a wide range of projects for international financial clients including a major corporate office fit out in ICC Hong Kong, development of residential towers and various retail outlets.

Delivering a high-profile event such as Formula One is like performing a high-wire act without a safety net.

However, none of these projects come close to the level of excitement, intensity and gratification as delivering the Singapore Grand Prix.

Imagine being on a roller coaster, going up and down, and being flipped around. You anticipate and feel excited before the first drop. You don’t know what happened in between because everything happens so fast. When the ride comes to a stop, you say to yourself: “Wow, did we do that?”, and you give yourself a big pat on the back. At the end of it all, I may have a few more strands of white hairs, but with a smile and a feeling of great satisfaction.

Indeed, hard work pays off; the rewards are great when you manage a successful team and project. For me, I love what I do, and I love my role with the Singapore Grand Prix. That’s right – I said it, I meant it, and I am here to represent it!

 

Written by