Why did you become an environment/sustainability professional?
No earth-shaking dream, but it’s a topic that feels exciting and in tune with who I am.
What was your first job in this field?
Developing and running predictive NOx emissions from large power stations’ computer models. I then developed environmental assurance services and audits before the advent of BS 7750/ISO 14001 at Lloyd’s Register.
What does your current role involve?
I am lucky – I combine a role in which I am sometimes a volunteer and sometimes paid. As a volunteer I work with people such as: the team at Zyba Ltd on a novel approach to harnessing waves in support of coral regrowth (CCell); the team at BSI in relation to chairing sustainable development as well as conformity assessment standards; the team at Verra (Verified Carbon Standard), specifically the Board and finance committee; or the IMarEST team attending IMO Marine Environmental Protection Committee meetings. I also act as BSI/UK expert for ISO GHG standards and EMS, and am a consultant in relation to climate and other environmental issues.
How has your role changed/progressed over the past few years?
I chose to move on to the ‘third age’ of my career in 2013, which involves more freedom – but also challenges, such as where to focus my activities in order to keep excited and engaged for the next 20-plus years. Prior to that I was Lloyd’s Register’s marine environmental advisor, a rewarding and exciting role which included supporting setting up the Sustainable Shipping Initiative, and working with IMO experts on the Market-Based Measures Expert Group in 2010 and LR Marine clients. During the past nine years I had the pleasure of chairing ISO/TC 207/SC 1 and supporting the committee as it revised ISO 14001 and added additional standards, such as ISO 14008, ISO 14002 and ISO 14009.
What’s the best part of your work?
The need to change and grow.
What’s the hardest part of your job?
The challenge of finding my next focus and knowing whether it is the right track for me. My aim is to work with people, tackle contemporary issues and do something that I enjoy (it can be challenging!).
What was the last development event you attended?
The last face-to-face event was LR Foundation International Conference, but I tend to do more MOOCs and IEMA webinars as they are virtual.
What is/are the most important skill(s) for your job?
Having the right attitude. I am known for being enthusiastic, energetic and committed, and for being prepared to go the extra mile. People tell me that my strengths are imagination, my capacity to innovate, and my ability to drive delivery while engaging with, supporting and motivating people.
Where do you see the profession going?
Away from being a niche role and towards being mainstream, as exemplified by the increase in CSO board roles.
Where would you like to be in five years’ time?
Having lots of fun and satisfaction while working and learning. Having what Charles Handy called a ‘portfolio career’.
What advice would you give to someone entering the profession?
Be flexible, and stay up to date with changes outside of environment and sustainability so you understand how they may impact you.
How do you use the IEMA Skills Map?
It is a great reminder of where I need to focus – on communications or resilience, for example.
If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?
Committed, enthusiastic and supportive (especially during a crisis).
What would be your personal motto?
Look for opportunities and focus on being less serious.
Greatest risk you have ever taken?
Emotionally, my tandem sky dive for the MIND charity – it was exhilarating and completely out of the box. Professionally, presenting the RAEng lecture on low carbon futures in 2010, and deciding to leave full-time employment in 2013 to support the build of our energy-efficient house and set up a portfolio career.
If you could go back in history, who would you like to meet?
A wide-ranging dinner conversation with Ada Lovelace, Leonardo da Vinci, Jacques Cousteau, Rachel Carson, Archimedes and Mary Jackson would be amazing.
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