The Brookfield Director

Interview with Sharon Warburton Brookfield Multiplex executive director.

“You don’t get offered Non-Executive director every day of the week so it was more a case of, ‘this is what I want to do, now let me work out how on earth we are going to make this work.” Sharon Warburton.


Sharon Warburton recently tweeted: “Construction is no place for women, is BS.”

And as you’ll discover she has the authority to declare all matters BS.

Ms Sharon Warburton is Executive Director Strategy and Finance at Brookfield Multiplex, a leading global construction contractor of landmark projects, and a Non-Executive Director of Fortescue Metals Group (FMG), the fourth largest iron ore producer in the world.

She’s flourished in a male-dominated world and relishes the opportunity to mentor young women.


Martine Harte: You graduated as a Chartered Accountant, worked for KPMG, moved into the corporate sector what do you regard as your best career move?


Sharon Warburton: Moving out of chartered accounting and into the mining sector – I was twenty-four – and then accepting opportunities that were thrown at me which were never at the right time; they are never at the right time.

The best career move you can do is embrace them.

Most recently I took the Non-Executive board role with Fortescue Metals when my daughter was only three; notwithstanding I had a full-time job. You don’t get offered Non-Executive director every day of the week so it was more a case of, ‘this is what I want to do, now let me work out how on earth we are going to make this work.’


You tweeted “Construction is no place for women – BS!”


Sharon Warburton: I did (laughs) 

There is still this very heavy mindset that it’s a blokes world, but we work incredibly hard to create really strong support networks for women. I’d really like to dispel that myth.

It is a fun place to work, quite often you can be the only female on a construction or mine site, so having mentors that you can tap into is really helpful.


What’s your biggest threat to your business success and how do you handle it? 


Trying to do too much. I handle this by:

  1. Believing in myself.
  2. Focussing on the things that are really important.
  3. Accepting we don’t have to be superwoman to succeed.
  4. Have strong boundaries, outsource where you can.
  5. I hear myself telling people 3 things: empower your team, create strong support network, and most importantly believe in yourself.

You’re a proud single mum to a little girl. What do you do to maintain balance.. Journalist Annabel Crabb argues we all need a wife!


Sharon Warburton: Yes I have many wives, I’m very grateful they are here in Melbourne with me. (laughs)

Unless things are directly connected with quality time with my daughter I don’t personally feel the need to do them.

But also you’ve got to be in a healthy space. I do yoga once a week, with an instructor who comes to my home and exercise every morning before my daughter wakes up.


Tell me about your early life, did you have a mum or dad who taught you to dream big?


Sharon Warburton: I did, I grew up in the country in a caravan for many years. I was the first in my extended family to attend university. I received a strong work ethic from my parents who worked multiple jobs to support us. That’s probably why I wasn’t frightened to work in and around the mines given I’d grown up around that part of the world. My dad was a panel beater and had a workshop so I was comfortable in and around workshops.

Twitter: @SharonWarburton

Read more at her terrific Steel Heels blog here

Thanks so much Sharon. Check out my interviews with Sandra Sully, Natalie Bassingthwaighte or even James Reyne by popping across here