I wanted to be a journalist so my degree in media studies from Birmingham Polytechnic was very practical. I didn't become a journalist but the skills I picked up have served me well in my career.
- What attracted you to planning?
I'm passionate about protecting our environment and tackling climate change. To be able to work with forward-looking people in the sector, seek innovative ways to protect the environment and promote action that does that is a real buzz.
- What did you learn in your first job?
As a researcher for a big trade union I learned how to take policy proposals and work with officials and ministers to turn them into laws. The principles hold true for all sorts of legislation.
- What skills have you had to learn during your career?
Managing a team, leadership, problem solving, negotiation and how important it is to listen.
- What or who have been the biggest influences on your career?
One piece of advice from a former chief executive I worked for stands out: "If you're not prepared to take a risk and the chance that you might fail, you won't learn anything."
- What is your career highlight?
Building a partnership between a national newspaper, supermarkets, an energy retailer and energy efficient product manufacturers that cut UK carbon emissions by more than 1.5 million tonnes.
- What have you learned outside work that has influenced you?
Working as a governor in a school with a lot of challenges was a very positive experience.
- What further skills do you aim to obtain or develop?
One thing I'd like to do is a postgraduate degree, probably in sustainability leadership.
- How important is it to keep abreast of developments in allied professions?
It's essential. The better the sharing of best practice the more effective Environmental Protection UK and the people it works with and for will be.