The “extraordinary” Meera Wagman is a market leader in quantum and delay issues, with interviewees celebrating her “exceptionally strong work ethic and a good mind for detail”. She is consistently commended as a “very personable expert” and “great to work with”.
Ms Wagman is a managing director of Secretariat, based out of New York. Ms Wagman has over 20 years of experience in the construction industry specialising in the areas of dispute resolution, delay and disruption analyses, scheduling, claims, cost analyses, project controls, as well as construction and project management. Ms Wagman has provided services to owners, contractors and designers across a wide range of complex projects in industries including heavy civil, infrastructure, transportation, oil and gas, power/petrochemical, energy, medical, education, commercial and high-rise buildings.
What do you enjoy most about being a managing director?
I endeavour to lead and inspire in everything I do as a managing director – and the most rewarding thing for me is seeing my colleagues and team members thrive. I love the work that I do, but I also appreciate all the other aspects of my role which allow me to be involved with more than just delivering expert work product, especially mentoring and training.
What do clients look for when they approach Secretariat for construction-related delay and disruption expertise?
Clients want to understand their risk as clearly and objectively as possible. Therefore, they seek experts and teams who can dissect complex projects, digest massive amounts of information, and produce objective and concise analyses and conclusions. Secretariat not only has formidable experts, but its talent pool runs strong through all members of its team.
What approach do you have to talent retention?
Our team is made up of extremely intelligent and hardworking individuals. I feel lucky to be able to work with such exceptional people each and every day. I think it is important to make this known to them and provide a collaborative and supportive environment for them to grow. Secretariat has had great success in retention as well as with team members returning to the firm, which I believe stems from the value we place in their development.
What effect has covid-19 had on team building and connectivity in Secretariat?
It was initially a challenging transition into a virtual world. Secretariat’s culture embodies collaboration - not being able to work together in person was disappointing. We quickly adapted, however, and the focus on virtual connections allowed even more team building across the firm globally. We also worked hard to create ‘fun’ and ‘unique’ initiatives on a regular basis to keep the team connected, which successfully maintained relationships and fostered new ones.
What are some highlights of the firm’s success over the past several years?
Secretariat has grown not only geographically with the addition of offices in the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong and India, but has also added new service lines including construction quantum, commercial damages, and most recently a leading team of economists.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of managing in a global firm?
Having a global presence allows for an extensive reach of talent, experience and information. However, it is challenging to really get to know everyone across the regions. That was one benefit of the shift to a virtual world – the ability to further build and develop relationships with the implementation of virtual platforms on a more regular basis.
What advice would you give to those new to a firm managerial role?
Listen carefully to others and strive to learn as quickly as possible while also speaking up and offering your perspective. Successful firm management can be bolstered by new insights and collaboration. Seek to learn about your team members at all levels – this team is the firm that you are managing. And it is always “we” not “I”.