What skills did you have when you graduated?
I qualified via a postal course with the College of Estate Management and twice-yearly weekly release at the University of Reading while working at a rural surveying consultancy.
What attracted you to planning?
The multidisciplinary specialism. I qualified as a general practice chartered surveyor, but the Housing Act 1988 and Town and Country Planning Act 1990 changed that. A new approach to affordable housing crossed the boundaries between planning, housing and valuation.
What did you learn in your first job?
I was grounded in a wide range of property-related activities from planning through to agency work. I learnt that the property business is an amalgam of diverse disciplines.
What skills have you had to learn over your career?
To adapt. Planning and housing policy is changing so rapidly that it constantly requires updating. Just check how many housing ministers there have been in the past ten years.
What or who have been the biggest influences on your career?
Love or loathe him, the answer has to be London mayor Ken Livingstone. The Labour government has raised the profile of affordable housing, but he has put it at the top of the agenda.
What is your career highlight?
Realising the implications of the 1990 act early enough to commit my professional development to delivering affordable housing. Being offered the opportunity to develop affordable housing in King Sturge.
What have you learnt outside work that has influenced you?
To recharge my batteries - I retreat to my holiday home in the Camargue. Family stability supports me through a difficult week at work.
How important is it to keep abreast of developments in allied professions?
Affordable housing delivery needs a joined-up approach. The Homes and Communities Agency, which brings together the functions of English Partnerships, the Housing Corporation and work by the DCLG, will present opportunities for this.