Meet Taylah; Senior Systems Engineer at Boeing Defence Australia


Taylah Griffin is a trailblazer. Currently a Senior Systems Engineer (I&V) at Boeing Defence Australia, we spoke with Taylah about her role in the industry, her experiences through the pipeline, and how she sees the industry connecting with the next generation.

A/AA: You recently spoke at the Women in Aviation/Aerospace Australia Brisbane Summit about youth inclusion in the industry. Can you tell us a little about why you think it’s important for young professionals to be part of the broader conversation?

Taylah Griffin: In an industry like ours that is dominated by older males, we need young people because they bring in fresh ways of thinking. Fostering young talent, and allowing that talent to grow is essential to the success and longevity of industry.

A/AA: What are the challenges and opportunities young professionals have solutions for that the current generation would benefit from? How can the industry better work with their lived experience and the new ideas coming into the industry?

Taylah Griffin: Young professionals are assets to our workplaces because they bring with them different values and ways of thinking that strengthen our industry. This diversity in thinking helps us when it comes to solving future complex problems, especially problems beyond just those that are technical. I think young professionals have healthy expectations when it comes to things like gender equity, sustainability, workplace culture, work/life balance, etc. And I believe we as an industry would benefit greatly (both technically and nontechnically) if we adopted these values into the way we currently work. By excluding young professionals we’d be missing out on opportunities to learn and grow together; the industry will continue to move in the same direction that it’s always moved in, and I believe that that just isn’t good enough.

A/AA: What experience did you have coming through the pipeline to get into your current role today? How did you start in the industry? 

Taylah Griffin: I was lucky enough to intern at Qantas for a couple of summers down in Sydney. This was an amazing experience and I did lots of fun things (including flying (and absolutely sh*tting myself in) the A380 simulator) but coming into my final year at university I knew I wanted to stay in Brisbane. I decided to apply at Boeing Defence Australia (their Head Office is in Brisbane). I was successful, and did my final summer internship at Boeing before going into my final year. I can’t emphasise enough the value that my internships had on my journey. Building up my professional skills and network before I had even finished university put me ahead of the pack.

A/AA: When did you first realise you wanted to work in STEM? What were the influences that helped you realise?

Taylah Griffin: I’ve always loved STEM. I took majority STEM classes in Year 11 and 12 because I just loved STEM. Even though I had a passion for STEM, I was actually accepted into university to study Law. After a year of Law, which I disliked very much, I decided to transfer into Engineering. I had relocated from rural FNQ to study at QUT in Brisbane, and after only a year of living in the city, I knew I wasn’t ready to go home just yet. I decided to enrol in Electrical and Aerospace engineering – I had always had a fascination with space and planes, so this degree just felt like a natural fit. And it was. I absolutely loved Engineering, and absolutely love my job now as an Engineer. I chose STEM because I love STEM – it’s as simple as that.

Q4. What support networks have enabled you to continue working towards your goals and how can the industry better support this?

Taylah Griffin: I’m so lucky to have amazing support networks around me. I had an incredible support network at university, and now have an incredible support network at work. Yes, I have goals, and yes my support network helps me to achieve them. But a lot of my career has just been following good Engineers (all of whom are in my support network) wherever they go. For example, I ended up as a Flight Test Engineer on MQ-28 because I followed my mentor there – working on this team was one of the best experiences of my life and I don’t think I would’ve ever put my hand up for the team had my mentor not gone there. I follow good Engineers because I know the environment that I’ll be stepping into will be a great place to learn, will have a good team culture, and will be a place where I can show leadership. I think the industry needs to strive for all their teams to have these qualities, because it’s places like these where young people will thrive.

A/AA: What do you think is the single most important transferrable skill that you have developed, whether at work or in your personal life, that you know you can bring into any role you step into?

Taylah Griffin: I love my ability to challenge myself – is that a transferrable skill (?), I’m not sure, but putting it down as my answer nonetheless. During my first graduate rotation I was put in a very sink-or-swim moment. It was incredibly tough and stressful, but I also learnt so much from that opportunity and in the end it made me a better engineer. It also bolstered my experience and put me in a great position for future opportunities (I’m not sure I’d be where I am today had I not had that experience as a grad). Since then I’ve just made a habit of putting my hand up for things, and as a result, I’ve had some amazing, diverse experiences that I would never have had if I didn’t challenge myself. I will just note though that this is where my support network becomes really important. When it’s not all butterflies and daisies (and there is a lot of time when it’s not) then my support network is what keeps me going and gets me through.