Why did you become an environment/sustainability professional?
I’ve always been interested in the way the natural world works to sustain life. Studying the interaction between humans and nature, and how nature evolves, is fascinating.
What was your first job in this field?
I worked for the Suffolk Trust for Nature Conservation, leading a small team conducting an ecological survey of the eastern part of Suffolk – learning by doing in the great outdoors.
How did you get your first role?
I applied for an ecological survey role and was lucky enough to be offered the team leader role.
What does your current role involve?
My team and I focus on how to develop and use environmental technology to advance the energy transition. We help inform BP’s long-term strategy by building an understanding of complex, interrelated environmental and societal systems, climate science and resilience. I am privileged to work with some of the greatest experts in the field.
How has your role changed/progressed over the past few years?
We have all seen the pace with which the climate agenda has progressed in recent years. That’s why the role of sustainability professionals has never been more critical and exciting.
What’s the best part of your work?
Science around the natural world and the environment is continuously advancing and there are always new things to explore – and I get to do this with very diverse and fantastic people.
What’s the hardest part of your job?
Prioritising - there aren’t enough hours in the day to do all the things I’d like to!
What was the last development event you attended?
I’ve recently attended the annual meeting of the BP-funded Carbon Mitigation Initiative with Princeton University and learned about hydrogen sinks.
What did you bring back to your job?
Potential engineering and operational implications for the hydrogen energy system.
What are the most important skills for your job?
Technical grounding and empathy. If you want to work in a profession where you’re applying your environmental sustainability knowledge in a beneficial way, having empathy and really good listening skills is key to generate solutions.
Where do you see the profession going?
I see the role of the environmental professional growing and becoming even more important. We must help decision-makers understand science and invest in the right sustainable solutions.
Where would you like to be in five years’ time?
BP has just launched our new business strategy, moving us from an international oil company to an integrated energy company. Sustainabilty needs to be at the heart of the energy transition and I see myself continuing to contribute.
What advice would you give to someone entering the profession?
Don’t just focus on technical skills – build softer but equally important skills such as empathy, listening and communication, and use these skills to build solutions.
How do you use the IEMA Skills Map?
I use the Skills Map at the different levels to refresh and guide my continued professional development.
If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?
Passionate and results-focused.
What motivates you?
The opportunity to bring environmental science to shape sustainability and help others develop their careers.
What would be your personal motto?
Live life. Learn lessons. Liberate yourself.
Greatest risk you have ever taken?
In 1994, when I was still quite junior in BP, I was offered the environmental manager role for BP’s emerging business in Azerbaijan. This was a big risk, moving to a country that not many had even heard of back then! It turned out to be a fantastic country and a hugely enjoyable experience.
If you could go back in history, who would you like to meet?
William Wilberforce, who persevered against all the odds in abolishing the slave trade in 1807.