Headshot of Paula McMahon. She's wearing sunglasses and a sun hat and is standing next to a person in a bunny costume.

Paula McMahon

Paula McMahon has been nominated by Julie Harrison MBA of Inspiron Learning. Julie says “Paula is a driving force for engineers and engineering but all that she does brings people together whilst positively promoting diversity and climate action.

I first met Paula at an event organised by Stemettes. The event was attended by girls from local schools in the Tees Valley. I was really impressed by how natural a speaker she was and engaged with the girls so easily in getting the message across that engineering is not just for boys.

Locally, Paula is the Founding Chair and driving force behind the highly collaborative Engineering Together (Eng Tog) who are raising public awareness of engineers and engineering whilst inspiring young people.”

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Who has she helped/who will she help?

Julie says “Paula’s vision and life mission are summed up by her ONE VOICE acrostic which she lives and breathes: Outcomes, not ownership, Nurturing networks, Enabling efficiency. Value one vision, Operating openness, Influencing with integrity, Collaboration with compromise, Emphasis on equality.

Paula works with school-age children and community groups across the country and everyone I meet in the Tees Valley seems to know her. Paula has dramatically increased the number of active members and diversity of many engineering communities in the North East by reaching out to new organisations far and wide and welcoming all.

Nationally, Paula has several strategic roles ensuring that several climate action groups are working together to provide positive and consistent messages whilst developing tangible climate actions. Internationally Paula’s impact includes contributing to several international publications.”

What’s worked?

“The unique selection of EngTog STEM resources have been used by people of all ages all over the country.  Paula’s freely available children’s books on WES Lottie website are showing diversity and sustainability issues to the next generation.

The inter institution events on diversity have been extremely well attended and have included great discussions.  Many events have happened because of Paula’s drive and enthusiasm.

Paula’s very many articles, blogs, and role model profiles have been widely published locally and in international engineering publications.  Paula championed the very first climate change issue of the ICE Proceedings.”

What has she learned? Any challenges?

“Paula always smiles when she tells people that until recently, she refused to get involved with any women’s groups.  She now advocates joining such groups as she now realises that by sharing stories and experiences, we all learn and grow but more importantly support each other.

We all wonder how Paula fits it all in and she herself admits that sometimes it is a struggle as she can’t say no to the many groups she helps.”

What’s next?

“Locally, Paula and I are ‘pitching’ a community project around her Lottie children’s book for the multi-cultural people of Stockton.  These books are also going to be translated into French further extending their reach.

The EngTog website shall be showcasing climate solutions bringing together community resources, which quite literally have the capacity to save the planet by pulling together the global engineering community.

Paula is an active supporter of the not for profit organisation ‘Climate Action North’ of which I am a Director and has volunteered her time to give talks on engineering solutions to climate change, and this support has been extended to future projects such as; ‘One Small Change’, Global Wilders and ‘Climate Change, Scientists and engineers needed’.

On a personal note, she has assisted me in developing new projects to deliver to schools, promoting my work and the work of Climate Action North, and even being so busy will find time to look over a document or pass on your details to a colleague who can help.”

What advice, contacts, or resources would help her?

“All STEM / Climate Action / Role Models can contribute to our website and even get a prize, see www.engineeringtogether.com/prizes/  If anyone has any time, Paula welcomes more volunteers in any area of her work.”

Why we’re sharing these stories

Each year, an individual or organisation from each of our five categories plus one exceptional judges’ choice individual is recognised at our annual Igniting Inspiration celebration event.

We publish each and every nomination to raise awareness of all the positive work that goes on in the North. While, this year, our physical event had to be deferred, our campaign to spread stories of positive social impact continues – good news is needed!