THRIVHER INTERVIEW: Dominique Gill

Updated: May 21, 2018



Thrivher Achievements:

Founder and Managing Director of Urban Fitouts



Thrivher Dive:

  • I can’t start the day without: My workout.

  • Most effective productivity tool is: My construction site earmuffs; when I don’t want to be interrupted I wear them so my team get the signal.

  • Best read of all time:The Biography of Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson. I took notes, made summaries and still refer to it years after reading it!

  • Non-negotiable: Exercising, I feel that it keeps me sane.

  • First ever paid job: Working at KFC when I was 16.

  • Top music track of all time: “Strong Enough” by Cher.

  • Mindful habit: I really like colouring in, and my children love it too so we have moments where we just quietly colour together.

  • I'm most afraid of: Disappointing people. I work hard to make everyone happy; clients, family, kids, parents, sisters, neighbours and I’m always afraid that I’m going to disappoint them.

  • Go-to for fun: We’re very big fans of camping, so we try to camp quite a few times a year.



THRIVHER MOVES:


What did you study first to put you in the direction of a career you might want for yourself?

I didn’t know what I wanted to do so I went to France and studied Business. I got into a very good school, which was excellent and provided a broad business training, it’s also an MBA. I then decided to do Architecture because in the Business Degree we covered a little bit of Urban Planning which I was interested in and so I thought, “if I’m going to be an Urban Planner, then I should probably be an Architect" as many planners are actually architects by training.


I came back to Australia to study Architecture which takes years of studying so overall I studied for a very long time! I feel like both degrees (Business and Architecture) prepared me very well for what I do now.



How did your professional career start?

After my studies I worked as an Architect for five years during which, I had two of my children. It turned out that having two kids in childcare was going to cost me more than I was going to earn. Essentially I was paying to go to work. I wasn’t doing that, so I left my job and joined a construction company that paid more. They took me on at the lowest possible level of hierarchy and I was still getting paid more than as a fully qualified Project Architect. I absolutely loved the job and it truly suited me, I was never really good at designing anyway. I was always more interested in the project management, coordination and procurement areas. I stayed with them for the next eight years and in September 2016 I decided to leave to start my own business.


It turned out that having two kids in childcare was going to cost me more than I was going to earn. Essentially I was paying to go to work.


So during that time, how did you juggle having a career and children?

It definitely took some sacrificing and in construction the hours are very long. My Children were in full-time day care from when they were very young. Thankfully my husband worked only 9-5, sometimes even fewer hours so that was handy as he could always help with the pick-ups and drop-offs. We also had lots and lots of different nannies!



Did your work offer flexibility?

It is offered, but I think it really compromises your chances of progressing. I enjoyed where I was working, but the reality is everyone works super, super hard and if you don’t work super, super hard, you’re not going to be doing as well as the ones who do. That’s just who you are competing with, people who work incredibly hard which is really valued by employers generally. If I’d said to them, I want to do four days a w