I studied biology, geography and graphical communication at school before studying planning at Newcastle University. The ability to understand Geordie was a very handy skill until I moved to Edinburgh.
- What attracted you to planning?
Growing up in the complex - but highly successful - urban environment of Hong Kong together with a keen interest in geography.
- What did you learn in your first job?
That managing people's expectations and delivering fantastic service reaps the best rewards. I worked in a cocktail bar.
- What skills have you had to learn over your career?
Managing complex projects simultaneously and being able to deliver on any number of deadlines, which have a habit of falling very close to each other.
- What or who have been the biggest influences on your career?
The human environment. I hope that the experience of walking past a well-designed building or through a well-designed city, town or village will always influence me to be a better planner.
- What is your career highlight?
Submitting a highly complex application for a new skyscraper in London three days before my wedding - a serious incentive to avoid delays.
- What have you learned outside work that has influenced you?
That the enjoyment of quality space and places can work wonders for people's state of mind.
- What further skills do you aim to obtain or develop?
My mediation skills. As planners, the biggest challenge we face is the expectation to balance the requirements of every party involved.
- How important is it to keep up with developments in allied professions?
Very important. Planning is driven by the requirements of other sectors. Without commercial awareness, you may as well plan to fail, as schemes will only ever exist on paper.