What do women do for fun?
Jacqui Waring from Treeplanning interviews Mandy Hollis from Lantra who decided to put down her pen and pick up her chainsaw last month. Find out how they got on.
"Well she didn’t fancy shopping, so my colleague and fellow Woman in Arb (WiA) Mandy Hollis, Business Relationship Manager at Lantra, decided to skill-up and get certified to use a chainsaw. She picked a week in late January (a colder week wasn’t available). To celebrate her success on the course, I emailed her a few impertinent questions related to being a treewoman and training specialist. With a glass of Prosecco in one hand and a chainsaw in the other, she answered them!"
"JW: How old were you when you discovered arboriculture and how did it happen?"
"MH: I was contacted by an ex-colleague and friend telling me about Lantra and she felt it would be somewhere I would like to work…So this industry came to me quite late on in my career as I was 43, however, I am now 49 and haven’t looked back. This has been the most incredible few years, Arb and Forestry is so varied with so many different careers attached to it. It’s also an industry you can feel extremely proud to work in and I feel it should have a much higher profile than it currently holds. As lets face it “Trees” are what keep us all alive and well, as well as being aesthetically pleasing."
"JW: What do you think other women would like about the work you do?"
"MH: I believe whether you are male or female this industry is for you – whether you would like to be involved with training (as I am) helping potential tree surgeons/consultants gain the correct training and qualifications they need to pursue a career. Or whether you want to be hands on – which can be tree surgery/conservation/identification/research/forester the list is endless. All careers are intertwined and needed to support each-other. I think there has been a myth that this a job for “the boys” but I couldn’t disagree more whatever area of this industry you choose to work in, all you need is passion."
"JW: Where do you think women can ‘add value’ in the field of arboriculture – and also other land-based industries?"
"MH: Women add a lot of value to arboriculture as with all things in life we are equal, however, equal does not mean the same! So having a balance of men & women gives arboriculture the balance it needs."
"JW: If you could do any other job at all, what would it be? And how far up the ‘food-chain’ in that particular career do you see yourself?"
"MH: If I was to change my career, I would lean towards conservation…However, I am still very happy helping others achieve, additionally raising the profile of Arboriculture."
Great stuff Mandy Hollis, and thanks for taking the time to collaborate. I don’t think my ‘food-chain’ question quite came off, which intrigues me. Think I might try asking it of some other WiAs. Watch this space.