Updating Results


  • #6 in R&D and manufacturing
  • > 100,000 employees

Hanieh Khalesi

I believe university students often get too caught up on the day to day studies that they lose touch with the world outside. The more connections you build early on, the more informed you can be of your options and career choices.

What's your background?

I grew up in the beautiful country of Iran, before moving to New Zealand with my family at the age of 11. I was a bit culture shocked to begin with, and not speaking a word of English was certainly a challenge. I quickly adjusted to the new environment and by the time I finished High school at Epsom Girls Grammar School, I developed a passion for engineering and knew I wanted to be an engineer. I started Engineering at University of Auckland and after 4 years of hard work, graduated in Engineering Science (Industrial Engineering). Throughout high school and even university, I had a few people tell me that Engineering isn’t for girls. But I just ignored that and followed through with my dream of becoming a successful engineer.

As part of Engineering schools, we were required to complete 800 hours of industry experience. I started talking to lecturers and family friends and I was finally lucky enough to get an opportunity to do a summer internship with Honeywell. I enjoyed the internship so much I went back a second year before being offered a Project engineer graduate role after my degree. 10 years later, I still work for Honeywell but have had the opportunities to work for various departments in both Australia and New Zealand as Engineer, Project Manager, Solution Architect and now a delivery manager, managing a large team across Aus/NZ. I’ve been blessed to have had some amazing mentors who have guided me through various roles.

What's your job about?

Honeywell is a Fortune 100 company that invents and manufactures technologies to address tough challenges such as safety, security, and energy. In my role as a Service Solution Delivery Manager, I manage a team of talented Service Solutions Specialists and we are responsible for ensuring that we deliver cloud-based software solutions to our customers to simplify the way they manage their buildings. To put it simply, the solutions we offer our customers, change the way they operate buildings, airlines, hospitals and industrial facilities. Our software can convert massive quantities of data from equipment, processes and people into intuitive dashboards that enable monitoring of facilities from a single screen. We also help customers optimise the efficiency, effectiveness and safety of their business. My team delivers large scale projects where we install and maintain building management systems which provides building automation and centralized controls of a buildings heating, ventilation, air conditioning, lighting, and other systems. These sites include Hospitals, airports, Casinos, Hotels, Universities and many more. I ensure my team has all the right tools and resources to carry out their tasks. I also work with other departments such as Projects team and Sales teams to ensure there are no gaps in our project delivery.

Did you always know you wanted to work in this field?

I always knew I wanted to be in the technology sector. The very first time I attended a university careers day at the age of 14, the engineering stand caught my attention and it was then I decided I wanted to be an engineer. I love that I’m always learning and being challenged as technology advances. There is never a dull moment and I get to work on some very cool projects.

What is most rewarding about your job?

What I love the most about my job, is working with an intelligent and talented group of people to design, plan and deliver large scale projects. Even though we may have many challenges along the way, we work together to ensure we have a successful outcome. It’s always great to see that the solutions we deploy help our clients improve business operation and efficiency.

What were some of the challenges you faced in getting to where you are now?

Some of the biggest challenges I’ve faced where when you have multiple critical projects on the go and I would encounter technical, schedule or resourcing issues. This is where I have learnt to firstly prioritize tasks so I can attend to more urgent ones first. Secondly, I’ve learnt to communicate project expectation and outcomes clearly with the wider team and delegating tasks to ensure it all gets done on time and on budget. Overcoming challenges like these have really allowed me to grow and be a better manager at Honeywell.

3 pieces of advice for you would give women who want to work in your industry?

  • If I could go back in time and meet myself at university, I’d tell myself that I’m on the right track and heading towards a very exciting industry.
  • I would also ask myself to be more involved in networking and building connections with industry professionals.
  • I’d encourage me to attend more networking events, conferences and events where I expand my knowledge on what’s happening in the industry. I believe university students often get too caught up on the day to day studies that they lose touch with the world outside. The more connections you build early on, the more informed you can be of your options and career choices.