How I survived (and thrived) as a lady tradie
Aimee Stanton believes life is an adventure. She shares her advice on how to speak up, help break the bias and chase your dreams.
• Entrepreneur, advocate and co-founder of luxury off-grid accommodation company Tiny Stays, Aimee Stanton completed her Certificate III of plumbing at Swinburne and says this course laid the foundations for her success today
• She says her naysayers inspired her to prove them wrong and achieve feats including walking solo from Melbourne to Canberra, competing on Survivor and becoming a female plumber
• She encourages other women to know they are strong and fearless and to thrive off each other’s success
Aimee Stanton begins her day at 3.30am. So, she can lay claim to waking up earlier than Richard Branson and the CEO of Apple. Before breakfast, she’s trained, meditated, written down her daily goals, and worked on her two businesses. Oh, and she’s also competed on Survivor and walked solo from Melbourne to Canberra. Beneath her larrikin façade is a wise and incredibly driven woman who knows what she wants and exactly how to get it. To celebrate International Women’s Day, Aimee shares her thoughts on breaking the bias, why women are so wonderful, plus a few tips on how to make the most of every day.
Who has been your greatest teacher?
My mum always taught me to focus on giving love and passion and that the universe will always give back, but I didn’t appreciate it as much when I was younger than I do now.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I take inspiration from a lot of different women in different ways. If I see a lady walking down the street with a huge smile and confidence it pumps me up too. I thrive off other women’s successes!
What’s your best trait?
Being stubborn. I love it when people tell me I can’t do something. It builds fire in my belly to go out and smash it out, no matter what the task is. Like when I said I wanted to take a 500km solo walk. I got told by some goose ‘you can’t do that, women shouldn’t be walking and sleeping in a tent solo’ and I replied with ‘like hell I can’t…’. The next day I packed my backpack, my $20 Kmart tent and headed off to walk from Melbourne to Canberra solo.
Aimee loves nothing more than being told she can’t do something. Whether it’s competing on Survivor, walking 500 kilometres solo from Melbourne to Canberra or becoming a female plumber, other people’s doubts fuel her onwards and upwards.
What’s your life motto?
I say to myself every morning: enjoy the ride and live with ambition and passion and the rest will fall into place.
You’re a female plumber, so it’s safe to say you’re a minority in that regard. Did you have any naysayers along your journey?
After I voiced that I wanted to be a plumber, someone told me ‘Women can’t be plumbers. They aren’t strong enough’. So, I went out and applied for over 120 jobs in the plumbing industry. I only heard back from one. But that didn’t get me down. It made me even more determined.
Aimee says women make great tradespeople because they are there because of the passion they have for the job.
The greatest thing about being a woman in construction is that you are there because of the passion you have about the job, not because you don’t know what else to do. That’s why lots of women make great tradies because every day they rock up and put in 110% to prove you don’t always need ‘bicep strength’. You need passion, ambition and grit.
How did Swinburne help you get to where you are today?
Studying a Certificate III in plumbing at Swinburne was the core foundation of my journey. I always said I was going to get a trade under my belt and go out and chase my dreams. That is what I’m doing now and I always have that qualification and skills for the rest of my life.
Aimee’s Certificate III in plumbing armed her with a practical trade, allowed her to fulfil a passion and opened up doors for her future.
Let’s talk about gender bias. How do you think we can all break the bias?
I’m a huge advocate for treating everyone as equals. We all have unique skills. When we work together as one, we can achieve amazing things. I’m sure I experienced bias working on site as a plumber. But I was so focused on my goals and ambitions, I had my blinkers on. It is an absolutely magnificent feeling when you don’t care about what people (whose opinions you don’t actually value) think about you. Our workplaces should be spaces where we can all feel comfortable, be respected and have fun. The moment you don’t feel comfortable, speak up.
Want to join the movement? Upload your #BreakTheBias for International Women’s Day to raise awareness about inequality.
What’s one thing women should stop doing?
Scrolling through Instagram and looking at influencer’s pages wishing that was their life. We sometimes need to remind ourselves it’s not always the way it seems on Instagram.
What’s one thing women should keep doing?
Doing what you love. It’s the most exhilarating feeling in the world. Wake up every day with confidence, passion and enthusiasm and chase what is truly calling for you.
How are you actively building a better tomorrow?
We started Tiny Stays to encourage people to escape from their phones, emails and bosses and immerse themselves in nature at an off-grid tiny house adventure. Off-grid accommodation is great for the environment, and it works wonders for your body, mind and soul, too. I hope Tiny Stays helps people escape the grind, appreciate the little things and reconnect with nature and their loved ones.
Tiny Stays have properties available in Heathcote, Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula. They’re the perfect places to get away from the grind and into serenity.
Words of encouragement for fellow females?
Now is the time to realise you are strong and fearless. Whatever has been on your mind go out and get it, chase that goal and don’t let anyone tell you: you can’t. My inbox at Aimee Adventures is always open for anyone who wants to chat or just needs someone to talk to. We are all in this together!
If you want to take your career to the next level like Aimee did, it’s time to upskill. Swinburne have a range of short and flexible courses designed to suit busy lifestyles.
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