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Women of Active – Alita Lawson

Women of Active – Alita Lawson

After a career in design and construction, Alita Lawson notes she was looking to get out of the office and into the great outdoors when a job at Active Tree Services caught her eye early last year.

“After four years working in an office, I was looking at all sorts of different roles when I saw one advertised for Active. I’m an avid rock climber and thought one day maybe I can climb trees too.”

Alita started out as a tree cutter working on council contracts around Stonnington, Victoria, and late last year she advanced to team leader.

Her daily role sees her responsible for a crew of five where she acts as the liaison between the team and the overall supervisor.

“My job is to make sure the team knows our day-to-day plans, and also to manage my teams safety and positive morale,” Alita explains.

”I make sure no risks are being taken, because this is not a job where people can afford to take risks.” 

“I like always being outdoors as it’s a pretty positive place to be and I also enjoy the physical side of the job.”

Alita also notes the camaraderie of the workplace is a highlight, while the combination of cyclic and reactive work ensures each day on the job is different.

“While we go about the job, there’s often chatting and a few laughs. We get to enjoy each other’s company.

“Reactive days are some of my favourites,” she says. “It’s the chance to get out the bigger chainsaws, go somewhere different and reap a few big rewards like chopping down dead sugar gums. It’s taxing but rewarding and everyone’s happy.”

Alita is also now on the on-call register for emergency events, and says she is excited about the challenges it might offer.

“Who knows when you’re going to get a call at 2am asking you to save someone’s car from a falling Eucalyptus arm?”

Alita explains she knew little about arboriculture before joining Active, but has become fascinated by the industry. In a bid to further her knowledge, she will start a Certificate VIII in arboriculture in July, and ultimately hopes to become a consultant arborist.

But for now, she’s thrilled with the opportunity to gain a better understanding of the practicalities of maintaining and cutting street trees.

“A great thing about Active is that they encourage learning. You’re not just in one role for your entire career. There is always room for advancement. I was lucky enough to become a Team Leader within six months and there are plenty of other avenues available.”