Kusum Trikha

In this ongoing series, we speak to our winners about life after winning a TechWomen100 Award.

Now in their third year, the TechWomen100 Awards recognise and celebrate the achievements of women in tech – the emerging tech talent and role models for the future.

We spoke with Kusum Trikha, who won a TechWomen100 Award in 2018.

I am a Senior Chartered Mechanical Engineer with seven years of experience in engineering, procurement and construction of large-scale energy generation projects in over 5 countries (UK, US, Senegal, Israel & India). I’ve been with WSP for five years, successfully undertaking the role of Design Engineer, Owner’s Engineer, Bid-Leader and Project-Manager for several multi-million-pound projects. I’ve a proven track record of leading high-profile project teams, delivering design solutions across conventional, renewable and ‘next-gen’ energy generation technologies. I’ve extensive experience in implementing sustainable energy processes such as Carbon Capture and Storage, Allam-Cycle, Biomass-Gasification, Energy-from-Waste, Combine Cycle Power Plant and Circulating Fluidized Bed Combustion. My day-to-day role involves implementation of my technical expertise in Due Diligence, Front End Engineering Design, Conceptual Studies and Detailed Design of low-carbon energy projects, managing a multi-disciplinary team.

In addition to my involvement in project work, I volunteer my personal time to support WSP’s CSR programme, the ‘WSP-Foundation’ in Manchester and have been the chair of the committee for five years.

I also passionately support the development of others; I am an active mentor and for many years have been an office representative for the Young Professionals Network. Outside of work, I am an active STEM Ambassador across the Trans-Pennine Hub.

From academic point of view, I hold B-Tech in Electronics and Communication Engineering, Post-Graduate Diploma in Thermal Power Plant Engineering and Masters in Applied Carbon Management. Since childhood I have strong inclination towards technology and I have been participating in the School Science Exhibitions long before I remember.

As an Indian national, I started my career at IHEL, India, as a Graduate Engineer and was promoted as an Engineer within two years. I decided to pursue my Masters and I was honoured with a Leadership Scholarship worth £10,000 based on my excellent academic track record.

How did you feel when it was announced that you’d won a TechWomen100 award?

I felt honoured with a pinch of excitement….. obviously not, the day results were announced I was over the moon.

The day it was announced I was with family and it was a very proud moment for all, the kind of which everyone wants to capture in a snowglobe. I couldn’t hold the excitement thus I did inform many friends and colleagues who supported me in this journey.

Please tell us what has happened in your career since winning the TechWomen100 award?

For me (OMG) TechWomen100 Award was just a start. Since then I have been included in Future List of Northern Power Women.

In March, during Northern Power Women Award Ceremony I was given chance to co-present award to the Transformation Leader, the CEO of Office of Nuclear Regulations.

Most recently I have made through Finals of European Women in Construction and Engineering awards under the category, Best Electrical & Mechanical Engineer.

Since the announcement of the awards, I have been featured on WSP’s internet webpage and newsletters numerous times. In February, I was interviewed for the WSP’ s magazine and my views on  ‘How to have good ideas’ will be featured in the next issue of Exchange.

HM office in North-West has also reached out to me to publish my photograph along with my statement on Northern Powerhouse Twitter page and soon a case study on me will be published on their official Instagram page, Humans of Science.

What advice would you give to someone else going through the award’s process?

Although, the path to success is always unique, I think the award’s process is about self-realisation and realising your potential.

My career has taught me that women’s networks are crucial and to never underestimate the power of networking. Networking should be part of strategy for someone undergoing an award process. One needs to reach-out to people (may that be face to face or through social media) who have experience of participating in these processes.

My advice to someone else going through the award’s process is:

If for some reasons you don’t win, in the end during those dark times what we often forget is that “journey is more important than destination.”

Most importantly there is always next time, believe in yourself  just like poet Maya Angelou wrote in her poem, Still I Rise:

“Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I’ll rise.”

What tips would you give to our other members to enhance their careers?

Continuous development should always be part of your career plan. In the fast-paced world, skills and knowledge often become obsolete. I think we should always keep our mind open and should remain open to new opportunities, which often involve taking risks; may that be new profile that needs adaption or acquisition of new skills and capability. Companies always want candidates who can agile to business requirements.

When you have vision to execute your work in particular way and you are told that is not standard practise, under these circumstances always look for logical explanation and if can’t find one then never take no for an answer. I always believed in the following words of Indian Freedom Fighter, Rabindranath  Tagore: “No-one heeds your call – then walk alone.”