"Step out of your comfort zone!"
Farrah Tan’s successful 20 year career with ExxonMobil has taken her in directions she never imagined when she began her journey working in STEM, but the twists and turns enabled her to learn new skills and ultimately rise through the ranks.
The Decommissioning and Logistics Asset Manager at ExxonMobil’s Bass Strait operation currently manages 10 offshore facilities that have now ceased production and are being prepared for decommissioning, as well as the company’s Marine and Aviation departments.
“On any one day, I could be managing multiple issues like marine vessel concerns, COVID management, project scheduling, engineering changes, regulatory matters, contract and commercial management or a personnel matter,” Farrah says.
Farrah started her career in Malaysia as an Environment and Regulatory Engineer, before moving to Melbourne and taking on a number of different roles which included a three-month stint in Milan assisting in the start-up of a new facility in the Adriatic Sea.
Moving on to Texas with a role in Environmental Remediation, Farrah then returned to Australia, leading teams across a number of different roles in the environment and asset management space.
Farrah is drawing on her extensive experience in Environmental Engineering when considering ways to minimise the environmental impacts of any decommissioning activities..
Farrah’s advice to women dreaming of a STEM career is to be assertive. She says, “Put your hand up and ask to be part of that assignment or role you’re interested in. Even if you think that you’re not fully qualified yet, step out of your comfort zone and make your interest known.”
“No one knows everything as soon as they start a role, but you will learn. And always ask for help if you need it – people are always willing to help but everyone is busy, so if you don’t ask, they won’t know you needed help!”
Although Farrah had male and female mentors along the way, she credits her career longevity to the incredible network of female peers (both within and outside the organization) who have supported her throughout the ups and downs of work life.
“I call them my cheerleaders, and I cheerlead them, too. These amazing women have always found time for us to discuss what’s on our mind, talk through solutions to challenges we face and ultimately, supporting each other in our decisions and times of need.”