- What skills did you have when you graduated?
After completing a geography degree at the University of Exeter, I studied city and regional planning at Cardiff University. My technical knowledge was close to zero but I was good at working with people and had a great enthusiasm for learning.
- What attracted you to planning?
I wanted to work to improve the world around me and planning seemed the obvious route.
- What did you learn in your first job?
In development control at the London Borough of Croydon, I learned to multi-task and work to tight deadlines. I also developed an ability to engage with people from all backgrounds and levels of knowledge about the planning system.
- What skills have you had to learn over your career?
Moving to private consultancy meant acquiring a broader understanding of the development process and problem-solving. Working in a large property firm has offered numerous opportunities to learn from others.
- What or who have been the biggest influences on your career?
I have had a number of supportive managers who have helped me in good times and bad.
- What is your career highlight?
The move to the private sector was a real challenge for me, so a recent promotion to associate director felt like a great achievement.
- What have you learned outside work that has influenced you?
Having a healthy and happy life outside of work and a good sense of humour enables you to perform well in a pressured environment.
- What further skills do you aim to obtain or develop?
Much of my job is communicating with clients, fellow professionals or colleagues, so I want to continue to polish my presentation skills.
- How important is it to keep abreast of developments in allied professions?
Essential. As planners we are often co-ordinating large teams of different professionals and it is important to think beyond your own specialism.