The things I know: Kate Henderson, Interim chief executive

Interim chief executive, Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA)

- What skills did you have when you graduated?

A geology degree from University College London taught me to love maps, while my masters in environmental technology from Imperial College London gave me a fantastic understanding of UK and international energy and climate change policy. Working in India for my thesis on its economic policy for renewable energy has left me with a particular soft spot for wind farms.

- What attracted you to planning?

Idealism.

Planning can make a meaningful difference to problems that matter in society.

- What did you learn in your first job?

The importance of being an active team member.

- What skills have you had to learn over your career?

The ability to read the political environment and quickly distil complex analysis into a clear and compelling response.

- What or who have been the biggest influences on your career?

I am incredibly lucky to work with experienced TCPA trustees and staff. Gideon Amos was a fantastic mentor and chief planner Hugh Ellis's enthusiasm for planning is contagious.

- What is your career highlight?

Establishing the cross-sector Planning and Climate Change coalition with Friends of the Earth. The recent draft PPS is a testament to the impact of this campaign.

- What have you learned outside work that has influenced you?

To listen. Too often planning talks a different language and can be perceived as the business of "middle-aged white men".

- What further skills do you aim to obtain or develop?

Consensus building. The challenge is to reconcile local aspirations with wider imperatives to deliver social justice.

- How important is it to keep abreast of developments in allied professions?

Very. Planning crosses disciplines from geography, economics, politics, law, history and social justice to biodiversity, architecture and art.


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