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Director of Project Management-Construction


Despina Tampakopoulou is the Director of Project Management-Construction at RMJM Dubai. When she joined the RMJM family she already had almost 20 years of experience in the industry. Now as a director she takes on a number of roles; she is a senior project manager, an architect, a sustainability expert, and a mentor to the newer members of RMJM. Her team told us that she ‘brings happiness to the studio every day’ because she truly loves what she does. Both driven and confident, Despina has become a role model for women in the industry. In 2019, reflective of her passion and influence, she was the only women shortlisted for Construction Week’s “Construction Executives of the Year” Award. We held a quick-fire interview with her earlier this month where she gave us an insight into her job and her views on gender in the architecture industry.

What do you do?

D: I am the Director of Project Management-Construction at RMJM Dubai.

Who inspires you?

D: Richard Branson. He is one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world who believes in turning ideas into reality. Plus I believe he made his fortune while having a boatload of fun!!

What led you to your career?

D: My fascination with construction and building. Being involved in mega projects and having managers that could recognise my talent and appreciate me for my contribution to the projects opened me up to more senior positions.

What role do you think gender plays in the architecture industry?

D: Gender is very important, especially when it comes to managerial positions related to construction.

Has the industry changed for women during your time in it?

D: Tremendously. I believe there is still gender discrimination but things are getting better with time.

What changes still need to come?

D: I think that there is a lot of room for improvement when it comes to women’s salaries. Women often get paid less in comparison to men with equal qualifications and this has to end.

What is the best professional decision you have ever made?

D: To move in UAE and steer my career towards project management.

What is a piece of advice you would give to women entering the industry?

D: Don’t shy away from being a strong personality. If you are professional and knowledgeable in your field of expertise, you will quickly realise that “gender” does not really matter.