Following my degree in geography and economics at Trinity College, Dublin, I completed my masters in urban and regional planning at Heriot-Watt University in 2007.
- What skills did you have when you graduated?
A good understanding of urban studies and planning theory and practice and an appreciation that planning requires constant renewal of skills and knowledge.
- What attracted you to planning?
Planning is a multidisciplinary function that allows progression into many different specialist areas.
- What did you learn in your first job?
As a community planning officer for Planning Aid North, I found that you need to understand the needs of communities through ongoing engagement, so that developments and policies reflect their aspirations.
- What skills have you had to learn over your career?
Consultation techniques, the value of partnership working and sharing skills and knowledge to achieve better planning outcomes.
- What or who have been the biggest influences on your career?
Dr Andrew MacLaren, my geography lecturer, taught me to question and understand the way things are.
- What is your career highlight?
Being shortlisted for Young Planner of the Year 2009. The next will be when Haringey's core strategy is adopted.
- What have you learnt outside work that has influenced your career?
The necessity of a good work-life balance. Yoga and baking are great balancers.
- What further skills do you aim to attain or develop?
To further my knowledge of urban design and keep up with national and international policy and best practice.
- How important is it to keep abreast of developments in allied professions?
Working in close partnership with other professions helps establish planning's role in sustainable development and achieving better outcomes for communities.