I gained a BSc (Hons) in geography and an MSc in environmental management from the University of Nottingham.
- What attracted you to planning?
Being able to combine my academic studies with a flair for organising and working with a variety of people.
- What did you learn in your first job?
The value of money and initiative. I worked in Noz's Nosh at Bedford Rugby Club. At a function I spilt red wine over a man's shirt so threw white wine over it to stop it staining. He was not amused but thanked me later.
- What skills have you had to learn over your career?
Understanding complex technical issues across planning, politics, engineering, law and architecture and managing large groups of specialists.
- What or who have been the biggest influences on your career?
Representing my university at a seminar on sustainable development in Lund, Sweden gave me exposure to experts in the field and made me determined to make a real difference to how we shape our environment.
- What is your career highlight?
Managing the environmental impact assessment for the extension to Tate Modern and working for BP on an oil and gas pipeline project in Azerbaijan. Predicting the effects of a blow-out seems all the more crucial given recent events in the Gulf of Mexico.
- What have you learned outside work that has influenced you?
That balance and perspective keep you happy and improve your performance.
- What further skills do you aim to obtain or develop?
Refining my consultation skills, given recent international developments in strategic environmental assessment and localism placing emphasis on the public in decision-making.
- How important is it to keep abreast of developments in allied professions?
Interrelationships between technical disciplines are crucial and keeping up with policy, scientific and legal developments is vital to ensure a sound environmental strategy.