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08/03/2022

The Planner's Women of Influence 2022

Words: The Planner
Women of Influence 2022 logo

Who are the women working in and around planning who have had an impact over the past year - a year of much discussion about levelling up, continued concern about health, inequality and the built environment, and an intense concentration on the climate crisis, culminating with the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow? Here are our Women of Influence for 2022

Every year for International Women's Day, we publish a list of planning's Women of Influence, as nominated by the readers of The Planner and assessed by a panel of judges that includes distinguished planners from across the UK. 

Crucially, the list is non-ranked and non-competitive our aim is not to tell you who we think the 'best' women in planning are; but to celebrate the impact of women on planning and planners. As such, some women are on the list because they've had a significant influence on national planning policy; others because they've inspired the planners who work with them. You can read about the judging process below.

This year's features 50 women whose nominations we felt met the criteria we were looking for, and who illustrate the breadth and depth of women who are having an influence on planning and planners across sectors and disciplines (NB - they do not have to be planners to be on the list). There are women from all UK nations, from every region of England, from Ireland and from other parts of the world; there also seems to be a particular emphasis this year on women working in public health. Here's the 'at-a-glance' list - click on a category to read the entries in that section. Being non-ranked, the list is in alphabetical order, by sector.

Women of Influence 2022 at-a-glance

Click category name to read entries in that category

Academia

Hannah Hickman MRTPI

Law

Constanze Bell

Celina Colquhoun

Anjoli Foster

Melissa Murphy

Nina Pindham

Private sector

Pam Alexander OBE

Zoë Berman

Carla Fulgoni MRTPI

Maria Hall

Emily Johnson MRTPI

Kate Kingston MRTPI

Lili Lainé

Hana Loftus MRTPI

Jenni Montgomery

     

Judith Onuh MRTPI

Vicky Payne MRTPI

Olivia Pemberton MRTPI

Mura Quigley MRTPI

Hannah Richardson MRTPI

Catriona Riddell MRTPI

Jo Rogers

Jenny Taylor-Smith MRTPI

Rachel White

Public sector

Laura Archer MRTPI

Samantha Banks MRTPI

Dr Jeanelle de Gruchy

Gillian Dick MRTPI

Liz Green

Angela Hands MRTPI

Katie Jones MRTPI

Eva Kail

Joanne Lancaster

     

 

Jenny Offord MRTPI

Elizabeth Rapoport

Jennifer Rehman MRTPI

Michelle Sacks

Dr Fiona Simpson MRTPI

Christine Urry

Tanusha Waters MRTPI

Alice Wiseman

Third sector

Pooja Agrawal

Aisha Ali

Kate Coventry MRTPI

Barbara Cummins MRTPI

Gemma Jobling MRTPI

Sarah Hayford

Rosie Pearson

Olafiyin Taiwo MRTPI

Dr Wei Yang FRTPI

(To see full table on mobile platforms, turn device to landscape)

Women of Influence 2021

Academia

Hannah Hickman MRTPI 

Senior research fellow at the University of West of England and independent consultant

Citation: "Most notably, Hannah led the design quality study that won the RTPI's Sir Peter Hall Award for Research Excellence this year. This explored the under-researched and poorly-understood area of post-consent. In particular it evidenced a worrying decline in design quality occurring at this point, identified some of the causes and considered what local authorities might do to address this decline. This is just the latest in her leading applied research work which exemplifies why she is the go-to researcher who delivers strong evidence and innovation in practice. In addition Hannah, is dedicated to supporting and teaching the next generation of planning professionals."

Citation: "She is hugely inspirational for me as an early career planning academic. She is also a very supportive colleague."

We interviewed Hannah about her award-winning research for our February 2022 edition. 

"She is hugely inspirational for me as an early career planning academic. She is also a very supportive colleague"

^ Return to at-a-glance list


Law

Constanze Bell

Barrister, Kings Chambers

Citation: "Stanzie has been central to the promotion of wellbeing at the Planning Bar at a time when its importance could not have been greater. She is chair of the Wellbeing Committee at Kings Chambers and a key member of the wellbeing working group of the Planning and Environmental Bar Association. Her initiatives have been of exceptional importance in both respects. For example ,she has been instrumental in the ongoing survey of the effects of virtual working on the future of planning inquiries which could transform the way in which the profession operates in the future."

Citation: "Stanzie has a broad and wide ranging involvement in the planning world. She has appeared in important cases in both the Court of Appeal and in the High Court, which is a testimony to the fact that her ability is far beyond her year of call. She has edited and authored various publications and was invited to speak at the 10th International Conference on Sustainable Development & Planning at the University of Siena, Italy [...] She leads our Wellbeing Committee with empathy and thoughtfulness for those in need. Her personal brand of gentle authority with which she effortlessly manages meetings makes working with her an absolute pleasure. She never fails to make time for people and exudes a warmth which makes those around her feel included and understood."

Stanzie has written for The Planner on a number of occasions. Here's her piece on biodiversity net gain.

Celina Colquhoun

Barrister, 39 Essex Chambers

"Celina's work and contribution to planning and environmental law goes well beyond advising and representing private and public clients before public inquiries, in the Upper Tribunal and in the Courts. She has been an active member of the Bar Council for many years, having started as a representative of the Planning and Environmental Bar Association and is a longstanding member of the Law Reform Committee, as well as the European Committee, of which she is co-chair. She has helped inform many of the debates over recent years over proposed changes to the law and the responses of the Bar Council to this, but in particular where they impinge upon planning, environment, local government and human rights. Recent examples of this are the planning white paper and the Environment Bill, including its proposals for the Office of Environmental Protection.

"Celina also sits on the race and diversity working group of PEBA with the aim of increasing and improving the diversity of the planning bar which she described as “a humbling task” in the course of her recent re-election to the Bar Council."

Anjoli Foster

Barrister, Landmark Chambers

Citation: "Over the last year, Anjoli has acted in some very important cases and led large teams to successful outcomes. She successfully represented the council in the long Brighton Marina inquiry, including a very long and detailed cross-examination on design which was a main issue. She successfully defended government in the Court of Appeal in the challenge to new GPDO rights. In a very different case, she has represented the appellant against the non-determination of an application for the temporary installation of a statue of a black female protestor on the plinth of the toppled Colston statue in Bristol; the decision is awaited [...] This has been a year representing clients successfully on high profile cases! My impression is that she is thorough and persuasive and leads client teams with sensitivity and clear direction. A true rising star at the Planning Bar."

Citation: "She has been involved in most of the largest planning inquiries and High Court cases in 2021. There is simply no other female planning barrister who is doing the quality of work as her currently."

Melissa Murphy

Barrister, Francis Taylor Building

Citation: "Melissa has just been appointed Queen’s Counsel (official swearing in ceremony to take place on 21 March 2022). She is a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion at the Bar and is the equality and diversity officer at Francis Taylor Building, instituting a mentoring scheme for members and leading an anti-racism initiative in chambers. She has also done much to promote diversity and equality of opportunity at the Planning Bar in particular. A recent initiative which she led on behalf of chambers was the establishment of a partnership between planning sets and the Planning and Environment Bar Association to provide a mentoring scheme for groups underrepresented at the Bar, tackling the often multiple and overlapping factors which prevent talented people from coming to the Planning Bar."

"Nina is tenacious. In order to make the Bar Council take notice of the gender diversity issues at the Planning Bar, she telephoned the relevant officer every day for three months until she obtained a response and engagement"

Nina Pindham

Barrister, No.5 Chambers

Citation: "Through her work as a committee member on the Planning and Environmental Bar Association (PEBA) and with the Bar Council, Nina has been a tireless and effective champion of the interests of women at the Planning Bar over the past year. She wrote a wonderfully insightful and compelling report on the particular challenges and barriers to advancement of women planning barristers. She is constantly proactive and full of great ideas about practical initiatives to address those challenges."

Citation: "Nina has become one of the most influential environmental planning lawyers at the Bar in recent times and has helped shape environmental legislation both in the wake of Brexit and the climate emergency. Currently vice-chair of the UK Environmental Law Association, Nina attended COP26 on its behalf and presented daily podcasts on the progress of the conference. Her impact was such that she was then invited to chair a panel at COP27 in Egypt in 2022. Nina has been influential in UKELA’s response to the climate crisis as well as being part of the Brexit taskforce which helped form the Office of Environmental Protection. Perhaps more importantly, she has recently advised DEFRA on its response to the Environment Bill, helping them to obtain the amendments it sought in relation to Development Consent Orders and biodiversity net gain. It is not an exaggeration to say that Nina caused that amendment to the bill to be made. Its effect is to change the approach to planning for nationally important infrastructure. [...] Nina is tenacious. In order to make the Bar Council take notice of the gender diversity issues at the Planning Bar, she telephoned the relevant officer every day for three months until she obtained a response and engagement."

Nina has recently written about biodiversity net gain for The Planner gain and will be appearing in our free webinar The planner's guide to BNG and the Environment Act on 9 March 2022.

 

^ Return to at-a-glance list


A note about judging

This year we received 222 nominations for 133 different women. The quality of the nominations was as high as ever and we're very grateful to everyone who took the time to write such considered thoughts about colleagues, friends, professional connections and acquaintances. This is a genuinely crowdsourced selection of women who are having an influence on planning.

This year we asked our eight judges to keep in mind the big themes that have shaped our lives over the past year - environment; health and wellbeing; levelling up and equality; diversity  - as they assessed the entries using the following criteria:

- timeliness (we wanted to feel that nominees had had an impact in the last 12 months);

- five areas of influence, with a specific emphasis on the local: policy change, culture change in planning, communities, the new and developing generations of planners, the reputation of the profession; and

- the X-factor, because some people just stand out.

We also asked our judges to be mindful of location (it's far too easy to create a list that's focused on key cities, such as London) and variety of sectors (private sector, the public sector, the third sector, and so on).

Some citations gave us more information than others; nevertheless the citation remained at the core of our judgements. In some cases, nominations were made primarily for the voluntary work that someone had done outside of their regular job; we classified these women as 'third sector' for the purposes of the list.

We aimed for a list of 50 women and the final selection below represents the women who, we felt, had met the criteria we considered to qualify them as Women of Influence. 

Our approach was not perfect. But we think our judges have helped us come up with a really good list of notable women, all of whom deserve recognition.

We'd like to thank our judges for giving up their time and offering their expertise (in alphabetical order, of course):  Victoria Bankes-Price MRTPI (partnership and expertise manager, Forestry Commission); Michael Chang MRTPI (programme manager, planning and health, Department of Health and Social Care; co-founder, Health and Wellbeing in Planning Network); Erin Donaldson MRTPI (senior planner, Turley; chair, RTPI Young Planners Northern Ireland); Laura Edgar (news editor, The Planner; co-founder, Women of Influence); Abraham Laker MRTPI (senior associate, Rapleys and director, BAME Planners Network); Claire Petricca-Riding (partner and national head of planning, Irwin Mitchell);  Jane Tennant MRTPI (strategic planner, Clydeplan; current RTPI Scotland Young Planner of the Year); and Simon Wicks (deputy editor, The Planner; co-founder, Women of Influence).

 

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Private sector

Pam Alexander OBE

Chair of Commonplace, chair of London Legacy Development Corporation planning committee

Citation: "Pam is a champion for safe spaces work and ensuring women and girls have an opportunity to give constructive feedback on how they feel in their area. She  mentors and supports rising women in placemaking, sharing her knowledge from years of experience to ensure inclusivity and equity are involved in the planning process. As chair of Commonplace, she has helped lead the company through continued growth and strategic diversification. Her significant expertise is supporting expanding work on public engagement in housing and, on the planning side, her guidance and knowledge underpin Commonplace’s innovation in offering solutions to planning consultation at a variety of levels, including in the past year Regulation 19 Site allocation consultations and delivering a model for improving public engagement around residential planning permissions. She has contributed to planning policy and advanced the thinking about the role of digital technologies in the domain. Her very public role as chair of planning decisions at the London Legacy Development Corporation makes here an inspiring role model and ensures she influences placemaking in a vital and strategic area of the UK's capital."

Zoë Berman

Founder of Part W and director of Studio Berman

Citation: "Zoë works tirelessly across the sector to support others, drawing attention to the need for gender equity in  placemaking. She carries out what can at times be challenging and tough work with bravery, diplomacy, humour and grace.  Her role as a leading light in the sphere of design and equity has been noted by her being invited to speak on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour. She has lectured extensively on design and equity, and has written for the RIBA Journal, Blueprint magazine and Architecture Today. Zoë has always been driven by a desire and impatience to make positive change in the profession - to the benefit of both users of the built environment and those working across the sector. She seeks to share her knowledge broadly, disseminating knowledge about gender equity in design and placemaking at multidisciplinary events including the Cog X digital and leadership festival, and in 2021 was an invited speaker at the Festival of Place on gender equal cities Zoë demonstrated her passion for cross-disciplinary knowledge-sharing by bringing together a diverse group of women working across the sector to establish action group Part W that campaigns for gender equity across the built environment sector. The organisation works in a semi guerrilla way, carefully choosing opportune moments to take bold action, highlighting gender and intersectional inequity and discrimination. Then it offers simple and highly effective solutions that larger, less progressive organisations and institutions can easily adopt, thereby exponentially increasing the impact of its work [...] She advocates design as a tool to engender positive social, political and economic change. Although still very much growing in her influence, the impact of her activist work can already be seen in a generation of young women (and men) now training and working in the built environment sector and her activism work has distinctly changed the direction of a number of organisations."

"Zoë works tirelessly across the sector to support others, drawing attention to the need for gender equity in  placemaking. She carries out what can at times be challenging and tough work with bravery, diplomacy, humour and grace"

Carla Fulgoni MRTPI

Group planning manager, The Planning Bureau

Citation: "Carla is a young planner and active member of the Dorset Young Planners, having completed two years as chair of the group. Carla is inspirational, as she is a young planner, yet has already achieved a very good position in her employment, has lots of experience in different settings, regularly gives evidence at examination and inquiries and is exceptionally articulate when doing so. Her knowledge of the planning system is solid and she is highly regarded amongst our peers. Most importantly she recognised my enthusiasm and built on this; but she also noticed my lack of confidence. Gently encouraging and supporting me, she has, perhaps unknowingly built my confidence. She introduced me to workshops on public speaking, allowed me to attend the RTPI President's visit for the South West Young Planners and she has encouraged my ideas within the Dorset Young Planners, allowing me to lead on and host webinars for the group. This freedom with support made me thrive. She is an inspiration and I hope I treat my peers with the same respect and gentle encouragement as she did for me."

Maria Hall

Founder, chief executive and principal planner, Hub Planning

Citation: "Over the past year, Maria has built a small but dynamic team of people to guide Hub Planning during its start-up stages. Maria designed Hub Planning to have a strong data analytics department that complements the socioeconomic planning work the consultancy undertakes. While working as a consultant, Maria recognised that a large portion of clients’ budgets were used completing demographic and data analysis, and identified the inefficiencies associated with performing this type of analysis on a project-by-project basis. To address this issue, Maria developed algorithms that simplify and automate the traditional process, and designed Data Hub, a web-based, accessible platform that provides instant decision support tools to clients. This platform connects to a wide range of public data sources and transforms them to provide easy-to-understand data analysis and visualisations. This in turn underpins the profession. Over the past year, Hub Planning has worked with a variety of not-for-profit clients, and has used a strong data analytics team to underpin the socioeconomic research and collaborative strategic work undertaken. Hub Planning was recognised by Spark Crowdfunding as one of the Top 100 Most Ambitious Companies in Ireland for 2022, shortlisted for the 2021 National Startup Awards in the category EmergeTech, and Maria was profiled by the Sligo Champion for their Women in Business 2021 series.  Internally, Maria is exceptionally supportive of her team, and has fostered a safe, inviting environment where it’s easy to ask questions and learn. As a woman in the planning field, I’m thrilled to be working for a woman-owned and led planning consultancy, which is so rare in the private sector. I am always inspired by the drive, ambition, and compassion that Maria brings to every element of her work."

Emily Johnson MRTPI

Senior planner, AECOM

Citation: "Her professional role has seen her begin to specialise in rail infrastructure planning, taking a lead role in gaining listed building consents to help retain the historic character of some of our train stations, while also bringing key enhancements to railways in the South West and beyond. TransPennine has been one of Emily's key projects over the last year and her ability to walk into a new consultancy role in 2021 and take on the management of such a complex and wide-ranging project is particularly inspiring. In addition to the specialism she found in 2021, Emily has also maintained a strong understanding of all aspects of planning and continues to work on residential and commercial schemes. She particularly takes an interest in affordable housing through modular building techniques. Her capability to have an interest in this both inside and outside of work shows how sincerely motivated about the good of planning she is. In addition, Emily has been the driving force for the West of England Young Planners following a large churn in committee members. She is extremely enthusiastic about the next generation of young planners and has worked hard behind the scenes to try and pave the way for the next chair of the West of England Young Planners. Not only is she involved with the RTPI Young Planners, but she is also working with the University of the West of England as a representative of the RTPI to ensure that their planning courses are creating prepared planners to enter the industry. Her personal interests, her professional work and her engagement with education, show how truly committed to the industry Emily is, as she paves a way in her own career where she makes a genuine positive difference to communities across the UK. "

"As a woman in the planning field, I’m thrilled to be working for a woman-owned and led planning consultancy, which is so rare in the private sector"

Kate Kingston MRTPI

Group senior planner, Peel Ports

Citation: ""For the last five years, Kate has been responsible for the planning strategy for our Hunterston site, a 320-acre brownfield land footprint which was formerly a coal terminal but is now being repurposed around the blue/green and circular economies. Hunterston is also part of a wider strategic initiative involving other major landowners, notably EDF Energy whose power station will shortly become non-operational with a significant impact of this closure expected for the local and regional area predicted. As part of the evidence base for our Hunterston site Kate instigated a socio-economic study which confirmed the perilous position within this part of North Ayrshire, being an ageing population and a higher-than-average rate of unemployment. Therefore a key objective for Peel Ports in repurposing the site is to create sustainable job opportunities for young people in the context of community wellbeing. Kate is wholly passionate about helping create a successful outcome for North Ayrshire as she grew up in a mining village which closed in her childhood and she understands intimately the causes of the loss of big employers in a local area. There has always been a supportive planning policy position for Hunterston within North Ayrshire’s Local Development Plan (LDP 1) and the more recent LDP2. However, conscious of the importance of national policy Kate has been active in pursuing the policy agenda via Scottish Government’s National Planning Framework (NPF) for a number of years. Hunterston is not allocated within the current adopted version of NPF3 but is now included as a “National Development” in Draft NPF4 published in November 2021. Kate has shown aptitude and determination in her pursuit of an even more favourable planning policy position for Hunterston culminating in the inclusion of our strategic land asset within Draft NPF4 (in November 2021) and the approval of the Hunterston Development Framework (in December 2021) and Options Agreements being signed helping to bring this vision to life. Such an enhanced planning policy framework goes to the heart of the “plan-led” system and the positive determination of future planning applications by the local planning authority."

Lili Lainé
Associate, urban researcher at We Made That

Citation: "Lili has led and undertaken research projects to inform innovative strategies and policies on subjects spanning from culture to high street rejuvenation, places of work and social infrastructures. Over the course of the last year, Covid-19 has created new challenges and Lili's work has been at the forefront of how planning tools can support positive change. That has been particularly impactful for culture and communities. Landmark influence includes the Thames Estuary Production Corridor, a strategy for delivery of flagship production spaces across the region potentially creating 50,000 jobs and generating £3.7bn for the UK economy; the West Midlands Cultural Infrastructure Map, the first interactive map of the cultural and creative ecosystem in the region that helps cultural and public organisations guide their planning and attract investment; a study for the Greater London Authority with recommendations to deliver affordable creative workspace and best practices within a supportive ‘end- to-end’ planning framework. In leading the Urban Research Unit at We Made That she has built a considerable profile of the social value of creative, cultural and community spaces across studies for regional and local authorities across the UK."

Hana Loftus MRTPI

Director, HAT Projects

Citation: "Hana cares deeply about public participation in planning, has led major programmes of public engagement and consultation, and effectively co-designed large and small development projects. She also has an in-depth understanding of policy making – having written policy at local plan level down to supplementary planning documents, design guides and unadopted guidance. She is a confident and experienced voice when working with senior political leaders, civil servants and the private sector – sensitive to the political nuances and, importantly, able to build bridges between different interest groups. She is also a strong advocate for community and has created online content to demystify the planning process for citizens, and to help citizen-led groups develop and deliver successful grassroots projects through crowd-funding. HAT projects, the award-winning architecture, urban design and planning practice that she co-founded, is the only practice based outside London to be a framework provider to the GLA on the Architecture, Design and Urbanism Panel (ADUP). In this role, she has directed a wide range of built projects in the community, cultural and workspace sectors, including Ely Museum, Gasworks gallery and studios, projects at the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Science Museum, Redbridge Town Hall, Shoreditch Town Hall and Hastings Contemporary. All of HAT’s projects have an active co-design, consultation and participation strand, developing broad community buy-in to projects and mitigating risks through effective communication and engagement. Hana is active in sharing best practice and supporting the planning community. In addition to teaching and public speaking, she has delivered training on developing design codes for rural communities (as part of Urban Design London’s Code School), written best practice guidance for the Planning Advisory Service on how to use digital engagement tools, and chairs a creative and digital industries advisory board in her local area. She has also written more widely for the public, for print and digital publications, and maintains an active blog."

Jenni Montgomery

Business development director, Barton Willmore

Citation: "During the last two years, we have been faced with unprecedented times. Jenni has been a key driver in implementing innovative and pro-active approaches, both internally and externally within Barton Willmore, to ensure as a company we continue to move forward and nurture the talent that we have within. Jenni has been alive to all the issues created by Covid (isolation, disrupted learning, difficulties with engagement, inequalities in health and wellbeing) and been there not only to support colleagues and the wider practice but has also thinking about how these considerations play directly into planning at a macro and micro level. In the past year, Jenni has lobbied for change to benefit our clients and industry and played a vital role in driving communication and learning between staff members and clients.

"Her contributions during the last year include being editor/driver behind the creation and continuation of our podcast Uncut. In Conversation; being instrumental in Barton Willmore's lobbying for more effective planning policy and healthy placemaking; speaking on a number of panels at industry events; participating in the creation of an article for Velocity magazine inspiring people to cycle in Scotland; being key in the development of our Greenkeeper toolkit that assesses the physical health and wellbeing value of green spaces; Jenni also led the set-up of BW Velo Cycling Club, that offers great opportunities to meet new people in the industry, get to know clients and referrers better and build enduring relationships."

Judith Onuh MRTPI

Principal planner, WSP; RTPI General Assembly member; steering group member, BAME Planners Network

Citation: “Judith is truly a women of influence in the planning sector. She’s is a technically skilled planning professional who has used said skills to assist in progressing and delivering Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs) and large scale infrastructure projects in her current role. She’s has been an active member of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) through her involvement as an elected member of the General Assembly, which is the scrutiny committee that holds the institute to account. She’s is also been a member of the institute's Membership and Ethics committee, which leads the work of the RTPI on all forms of professional, technical and non-professional association with the Institute, including classes of membership and the criteria for admission to each class. Judith is also an active member of the CAP Young Planners Network where she sits on the Research Committee, and the BAME Planners Network, for which she sits on the Steering Committee and the leads the Communications sub committee where she champions diversity and inclusivity within the planning profession through assisting with organising the variety of events that the BAME Planners Network host. She has a can-do attitude and is always supportive when working with her fellow colleagues and network committee members along with mentoring junior planners through the various networks she is involved in to ensure that her experience and expertise are passed on. She’s an inspiration and such a lovely person to work with too and a true asset to the profession”.

"Justine was one of the founders of the Lichfields Wellbeing Initiative set up during the first lockdown"

Vicky Payne MRTPI

Associate principal, planning and urban design, URBED

Citation: "Vicky is inspirational in many way: from wild camping solo to running half marathons, there isn’t much she can’t do. As a planner, she takes inspiration to another level. In the past year Vicky has been co-author of the award-winning National Model Design Code, a methodology and a toolkit of resources to inform the production of design guidance and codes at a local level. She’s been heavily involved in the Tales of the High Street project, a narrative-based approach to exploring solutions to the high street crisis. She is always on a continuous path of learning to constantly improve her understanding of the wider world as well as searching for ways to apply her knowledge to make it a better place. Vicky has recently been part of creating the Common Good group, a group aiming to encourage discourse on design and development in the north and ensure that everyone (not just designers) are involved in the discussion by making the events around it as accessible and inclusive as possible. You can also find her incredibly honest and thought-provoking blog posts on Here and There."     

Citation: "Vicky is a passionate, thoughtful planner and works hard to improve the outcomes we deliver for communities - something that goes beyond her day job of planning large schemes. She was heavily involved in preparing the National Model Design Code, helped found Common Good and is also a thoughtful contributor to planning media, in particular Here and Now (the Academy of Urbanism journal) and the ever popular 50 Shades of Planning podcast."

Vicky wrote for us about the urban user experience back in 2018.

Olivia Pemberton MRTPI

Planner, Eden Planning; RTPI North West Young Planner of the Year

Citation: "Olivia is very well known in the North West due to her role in the RTPI, her support of the Women in Planning network and her work with Eden Planning – which is a female led planning consultancy. This year she won the RTPI NW Young Planner of the Year - which is testament to her platform but also the incredible work she has done. This award was very popular – it was the loudest cheer in the room! There has also won the RTPI’s Presidential Award following her NW award. She therefore has had a stellar year and she has worked very hard for her clients, for the RTPI and the sector as a whole. She regularly comments on matters on social media and she has done all this whilst pregnant. Not that the latter bit of information should be relevant, but I think she has provided empowerment to younger planners and that is the reason why I nominated her. She is proud to work for Eden having left Savills to work for them being empowered by the inspiring leadership, helping the firm grow. Not only that but she is an ambassador for the Royal Geographical Society Ambassador, which includes presenting in primary, secondary and further education establishments with the hope of encouraging young people to take geography at higher education."

Mura Quigley MRTPI

Associate director, Urban Scale Interventions

Citation: "Mura currently works for Urban Scale Interventions, a creative design consultancy that adopts an inclusive design-led approach to projects in urban resilience, cultural regeneration and climate proofing. She is currently completing her PhD which explores the role of design in creating urban resilience and the ability for cities and towns to adapt to change and uncertainty. She uses the experiences and learning from her work to promote good planning practice and placemaking. Mura is a regular speaker at events in Northern Ireland and beyond, and she uses these opportunities to stand up for planning and promote the positive outcomes planning can achieve when done well. She brings a fresh and positive voice to the profession. Mura attended COP26 in Glasgow and from this she understands that "as planners we are absolutely key to tackling this challenge, and it is imperative that we make sure we are heard through the noise." Mura uses her positions on various panels, as chair of RTPI Northern Ireland, and in her day job, to promote climate action and planning for climate outcomes."

Mura wrote for us about community cohesion in Northern Ireland back in 2016.

Hannah Richardson MRTPI

Associate director, Spawforths

Citation: "Hannah has led the development management team at Spawforths with enthusiasm, dedication and integrity during the last 12 months, navigating challenging times whilst continuing to provide a high level of service to clients. Working both remotely and office based mid-pandemic she has continued to drive the growth of the Spawforths team allowing us to maintain our position as the largest planning practice in Yorkshire and Humberside. At the heart of the business is the well-being and welfare of our employees. Hannah is a leading light for us in creating an extremely family-friendly, supportive and positive working environment, which has never been more important than when working through the pandemic. Hannah was promoted to become our first associate director for many years, is fully engaged in a programme to become a director and leads on many high-profile projects across the North of England. Hannah is a highly visible example of a successful women in an often male dominated environment. As a strong female role model, she empowers and supports other women across both our business and within Yorkshire and the North East, through her role on the National Advisory Board of Women In Property, as well as Student Awards Co-ordinator and Committee member for Women In Property Yorkshire and the North East. She leads by example, and is actively involved in the Student Awards scheme, supporting students and creating links to Universities to improve the students’ knowledge of the career options available to them, and assisting with work placements."

Citation: "Outside of her considerable professional achievements this year, one of her most successful initiatives in her new role at Spawforths is leading the new Young Professionals forum within our consultancy to create a new space for discussion and support between junior and senior staff.  These meetings have become a valuable place for junior staff to share frustrations and successes with senior staff, seek advice and practical support for challenges we face as we develop our professional practice, and encouragement to develop our own initiatives to benefit those around us and pursue our own professional goals. Most importantly, one of our agenda items acts as a safe space for us to discuss any conflict or discrimination we have experienced as we move further into the industry and develop our professional relationships." 

"Hannah is a highly visible example of a successful women in an often male dominated environment"

Catriona Riddell MRTPI

Director, Catriona Riddell and Associates Ltd; strategic planning specialist for Planning Officers Society; RTPI England policy panel member; vice-chair TCPA

Citation: "Catriona is a leading voice on the need for a joined-up approach to planning when dealing with strategic issues such as climate change, the circular economy and resource management. In additional to the insight and support she provides through the Planning Officers Society, her recent report on behalf of the County Council's Network is both pragmatic and ambitious."

Judge's citation: As anyone who reads her regular column in Planning or follows Catriona on LinkedIn will know, she is a perceptive critic of planning policy and its impacts and an intelligent, well-informed champion of strategic planning. Her analyses of the impacts of planning policy are always well-researched, astute and clearly argued and, through these forums and her regular appearances as a speaker and commentator at events and on popular planning podcasts, she leads the way in thinking about the potential for planning reform and the relationship between planning and big societal themes such as housing affordability, economy, equality and environment. Her works extends well beyond these more informal media to embrace report writing for influential organisations such as the County Councils Network - her Planning Reforms: The Role of Strategic Planning report for CCN was particularly well received and thought provoking. Catriona's also great fun to interview, as I can attest after speaking to her for The Planner's piece on levelling up back in November 2021. Overall, Catriona's an important contemporary thinker and communicator about the power of spatial planning and totally deserves to be called a woman of Influence. Simon Wicks

Catriona's a fairly regular commentator in The Planner, most recently on government priorities in 2022.

Jo Rogers

Planner, The Ethical Partnership and SLC Property

Citation: "Jo was the first person I met in my first ever lecture in MSc Town Planning in 2017. Immediately her character shone out; she was not afraid to reach out and speak to those around her. By 2019 she was leading public engagement events for essential transport infrastructure projects in Birmingham, while simultaneously completing her degree. She won an RTPI regional award for Outstanding Research with a North East focus, which included volunteering with the charity Handcrafted. Despite being on maternity leave from September 2020 until May 2021, on her return it was like Jo had never been away. She threw herself back into work on major schemes and guest lecturing at Newcastle University - all while balancing having a young family and working towards her APC submission in the uncertainties of 2021. Returning to university to guest lecture has given Jo the opportunity to critically reflect on her own experiences in planning practice and the interaction of the planning system with other areas of social and environmental policy. In doing so, she is inspiring a new generation of planners. She is also very open about mental well-being, which stimulates a more candid conversation in the office - while working from home these conversations have never been more important. I have always admired Jo’s strength and determination. She is never afraid to stand up for social justice and always finds time to support her fellow colleagues and future planners through her close links with academia. Watching her daughter discover and delight in the world around her has made Jo even more determined to leave the world in a better place than she found it. She sets an example to us all."

Jenny Taylor-Smith MRTPI

Head of town planning, ASDA

Citation: "Jenny has been a fantastic attribute to the Asda Property Team in 2021 both for her excellence and knowledge in her role, but over and above that is her personal contribution to our International WIRED (Women In Real Estate Development) Programme and our Internal Asda Programme. Two huge accomplishments Jenny has achieved in 2021 are that she helped retailers nationally to achieve a relaxation of delivery hours during the pandemic, which supported the wider challenge of feeding the nation. She has also driven an opportunity to advise on planning applications and guidance for Grocery Home Shopping projects to help vulnerable and elderly customers. All of this contributed to a collaborative approach in supporting the nation during the somewhat unexpected further lockdowns and Covid waves. In addition and over and above any requirements of her role, Jenny has led two programmes on women in leadership, aimed at empowering women in under-represented roles and representing Asda in these lead roles for the property team and for the UK. Jenny encourages participation of both male and female representatives and is an active member of Asda’s diversity programmes to deliver the biggest impact and awareness. She has been an inspiration to many colleagues in Asda, for her passion and commitment to supporting women in their roles and delivering or arranging coaching and webinars from female and male leads in the Walmart and Asda businesses. This passion to do something over and above her day job and often in her own time, in an entirely selfless way, with improvement and imparting to others in mind is what sets her out from the crowd."

Rachel White

Senior consultant, NJL Consulting

Citation: "Rachel joined the team in May 2021. She has delved into a range of project work since joining NJL and has proved herself to be a competent planning professional. This has been especially noted through the pandemic whereby Rachel has embraced home working, new clients and team members and has continued to provide support and help to junior colleagues. Since becoming a planning professional in 2017, Rachel has committed time to ensuring more junior colleagues are supported as they enter the profession. Rachel has assisted in a number of recruitment processes, spoken at universities and is a Women in Planning mentor. Aside from her consultancy work, Rachel has played a vital role in the Young Planners network in both London and Manchester. In London, Rachel piloted the “Young Planners, a Guide to” podcast which provided insight to young aspiring planners across the city. Since moving to Manchester with NJL, Rachel has joined the North West Young Planners network and has been involved in careers talks and events with local universities. Over the last 10 months, Rachel has been part of the Panel of Brilliant People, an advisory panel which critiques the Towns Fund initiative. The panel comprises a range of professionals from across the country who work together to critique the fund and advise the government on how to make levelling up work for everyone. Rachel has brought her experience of working in planning and development to provide valuable and tangible examples of how regeneration projects can be improved for communities. The work of the panel culminated in a presentation to parliament in February. facilitated by Rachel."

 

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Public sector

Including local authorities, central government bodies, other public bodies (incl. development corporations and development agencies), politicians.

Laura Archer MRTPI

Senior planning policy officer, Portsmouth City Council

Citation: "Laura constantly promotes the planning profession through her volunteer work. She inspires and supports young planners across the country through her role as RTPI Young Planner Trustee and is a key connection to have for any young planner.  She has worked on the National Model Design Guide Pilot project, helping to highlight the importance of design in the built environment and the importance of breaking down barriers and silos within local authorities."

Samantha Banks MRTPI

Neighbourhood planning services manager, Herefordshire Council

Citation: "Sam has managed a small teams of neighbourhood planning policy officers to support more than 100 neighbourhood development plans in Herefordshire, putting the county in the vanguard for NDPs. In addition, and at the request of the Planning Advisory Service (PAS) she has supported other councils with NDP advice. Sam was also instrumental in supporting her team to successfully bid for the National Model Design Code (NMDC) testing programme Stage 1 and is presenting the team's work to the the Urban Design Council London shortly. She has also been heavily involved in the commencement of the review of core strategy and supports the development management officers on advice relating to various NDPs."

"Never have we had such high political and medical interest in planning and Jeanelle has now set the foundations in the very limited time she has been in post for the Planning for Health agenda"

Dr Jeanelle de Gruchy

Deputy chief medical officer, Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, Department for Health and Social Care

Citation: "Jeanelle was recently appointed as England's deputy chief medical officer in October 2021. She was previously the director of public health in Tameside and Haringey Councils, and had championed and actively encouraged collaborations between her public health teams with the planning teams. Although relatively new in post, Jeanelle's local government experience and interest in the environment and planning has already resulted in getting the chief medical officer - Professor Chris Witty (who most will recognise from the No.10 Covid briefings) vastly interested in planning, to the extent that the CMO had received briefings on planning from his team and met with the DLUHC chief planner with agreed commitments to take forward joint action. Never have we had such high political and medical interest in planning and Jeanelle has now set the foundations in the very limited time she has been in post for the Planning for Health agenda, at a time when the public health workforce is still grappling with the pandemic, but enthused by the possibilities of the planning system."

Gillian Dick MRTPI

Manager of spatial planning, research and development, Glasgow City Council

Citation: "Gillian is a true inspiration, who relentlessly injects optimism into the planning system, advocating for climate action through plans and policy. She leads the Horizon Connecting Nature project, where Glasgow is one of the front runner cities with its exemplar Open space strategy and delivery plan. Her mission is to support climate change adaptation and mitigation through a place-based approach, increasing resilience of both communities and their environment by establishing integrated environmental infrastructure as a fundamental requirement for successful urban development. She is at the forefront of championing nature-based solutions and is an engaging advocate. [In 2021] Gillian delivered keynote speeches at COP26 on place-based approach using nature based solutions to create climate adaptive communities; conversed on harnessing collective initiatives to achieve Europe’s 2050 climate neutrality goal in the COP26 EU Pavilion for ICLEI / EU covenant of mayors; co-ordinated the H2020 Connecting Nature virtual innovation summit; and led the winning bid for Glasgow to be one of three ICLEI UrbanByNature Hubs in Europe. An active member of both the Scottish Government's working group on open space Strategy and  NPF4 Biodiversity and NBS expert group, Gillian is also part of the COSLA expert group on nature based solutions and vice chair of the Technical University of Dublin RTPI Partnership Board. What I admire most is the sheer scale of Gillian’s repertoire, her humility, and the energy she applies to all that she does while always having time for a walk, a chat and a nice cup of tea."

Liz Green

Consultant in public health, Public Health Wales; Programme director for the Wales Health Impact Assessment Support Unit

Citation: "As a public health professional, Liz has raised the profile of health issues in planning and supported collaboration between public health and planning professionals over several years. Over the past year Liz has played a key role in producing several planning related reports and has continued to drive forward work focused on planning and health, alongside other responsibilities such as undertaking health impact assessments on the health and well-being impacts of the pandemic and leading work on the triple challenge of Brexit, climate change and Covid-19. Liz's leadership and influence and close working relationship with Welsh Government have resulted in a range of planning and land use related policy areas, such as transport and waste, making provision for the consideration of health and wellbeing outcomes and advocating the use of HIA methodology. This is in addition to the landmark introduction of statutory HIA in Wales through the Public Health (Wales) Act 2017 (the specific circumstances to be confirmed following consultation on the regulations). Liz’s work has undoubtedly had a role in influencing the introduction of this measure. Liz’s influence within the planning and health agenda extends beyond Wales and into the UK and international community. She is well respected as an HIA leader and involved in professional collaborations with colleagues across the UK and internationally."

Angela Hands MRTPI

Public health programme manager (national programme manager for health and transport), Department of Health and Social Care

Citation: "Angela was the first public health practitioner to work in a combined position between public health and planning in a local authority. She is currently a public health programme manager at the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID), formerly PHE, leading on collaboration with other government departments to ensure health, wellbeing and inequalities are part of the decision making process. Angela works tirelessly with DfT and Defra to ensure public health is embedded in transport planning and air quality management, for example influencing the development of green infrastructure standards ( soon to be PPG) and the development of the Government's cycling and walking plan: A Gear Change. She is also conducting research on how green infrastructure is considered in local planning policy, and planning officers' understand of how access to green space influences health. This is crucial to new policy development and will lead to population health improvement through the planning system."

"What I admire most is the sheer scale of Gillian’s repertoire, her humility, and the energy she applies to all that she does while always having time for a walk, a chat and a nice cup of tea"

Katie Jones MRTPI

Team leader, development managment, Flintshire County Council

Citation: "In February 2021 Katie was promoted to the role of team leader in development management. She has proved to be an effective leader, tackling difficult performance issues whilst securing the respect of her team and becoming a role model for other women within and outside our portfolio. Becoming a team leader at such a pressurised and difficult time of recovery for any planning service – and excelling in that role, offering outstanding pastoral care to her team – shows how she is a real women of influence in the planning arena. Prior to her team leader role, Katie has used her strong technical planning background to unlock stalled strategic development sites, working proactively and tenaciously with developers. Katie has particularly excelled in handling the complex viability issues which have held those sites back, setting out clear and precise reasoning in a planning committee forum and now is developing her team to use their influence in the development management process in the most positive and rewarding way."

Eva Kail

Gender expert in the urban planning group within the executive group for construction and technology, City of Vienna. As one of the leading experts for gender planning in Europe, Eva has been described as "the godmother of gender mainstreaming".

Citation: "Eva has been inspirational in continuing to push the agenda for gender mainstreaming in planning. She does this in an international context, but the success of her achievements serve as an inspirational case for others trying to achieve the same in other locations. She is a committed and dedicated public servant – leading the way for how the public sector can lead change and innovation. She applies a feminist approach to practical challenges, taking bottom-up evidence from practical action and feeding this into higher level strategies, rather than adopting the traditional top-down approach. Eva was gracious enough to give me a few hours of her time when I went to Vienna to undertake research on the topic of gender mainstreaming, and continues to spread the word about the work she and her team have achieved to share best practice and learning."

Eva featured in a 2020 Planner article on gender senstivie planning written by Natalya Palit.

Joanne Lancaster

Managing director, Huntingdonshire District Council

Citation: "Jo is a chief exec and planner, a rare combination. Over the last 12 months she has been a leading voice of support for strategic planning in the Oxford to Cambridge Arc. Jo has called on government and local partners to do better and work together, in spite of challenges, to make the most of opportunities presented by the OxCam Spatial Framework to deliver more sustainable places on behalf of local communities. Her constructive, pragmatic approach and unshakeable view that a better future can be delivered through great planning has been a force for good within the Arc and had a positive influence on planning more widely."

Jenny Offord MRTPI

Senior planning and enabling manager, Homes England; co-founder Neurodiversity in Planning Network

Citation: "Jenny Offord spearheaded the Neurodiversity in Planning Consultation Toolkit through her role as a neurodiversity faciliator at the RTPI with the full support of her employer Homes England. She led the working group of industry professionals to launch a new toolkit to promote best practice when consulting with neurodivergent people about the built environment. As Jenny is quoted as saying at the time of the launch: ‘We could all be better at communicating more concisely, clearly and impactfully. We hope that the toolkit will help to start a conversation and help to inform changes in planning and the ways in which we engage with each other’. The toolkit seeks to provide practical advice on how to ensure that engagement is genuinely open to everyone. These tips range from small changes which can have a huge impact on the ability for neurodivergent and neurotypical people alike to participate in the planning process, to ideas targeted specifically at broadening access for the neurodivergent. As an emerging topic for planners, Jenny has been at the forefront of driving the message and amplifying the cause of neurodivergent thinking in society, and specifically the planning process. For this reason Jenny is certainly a woman of influence in planning."

Jenny provided commentary for a 2021 Planner feature on neurodiversity in planning.

Elizabeth Rapoport

Head of strategy, Homes England

Citation: "Elizabeth transitioned from a more NGO type of role into policy and practice through Public Practice. She made a brave career transition at quite an advanced stage of her career  while also juggling family demands. In her Public Practice role at Enfield Council in the Meridian Water team, Elizabeth brought a fresh energy and approach to work which rubbed off positively on those around her and working with her. She's incredibly proactive and sets a great example as a female role model. She's gone from strength to strength now in a senior management position at Homes England – continuing to lead the way for the public sector, and continuing to give back. She recently did a mentoring session for the Women into Leadership network back at Enfield Council despite having left some time ago.”

"Observing her in meetings and reading her detailed and flawless reports has re-ignited my passion for the job and has made me see just how much of a positive difference one officer can make"

Jennifer Rehman MRTPI

Principal planning officer, Lancaster City Council

Citation:  "Jen has been an incredible and inspiring colleague to work with. I took on a role which was a step up for me and at times I needed a lot of support. In this regard, Jen was an absolute credit to the local planning authority. She arranged meetings where I could attend and watch how effortlessly she dealt with major schemes and complex matters, boosting my self-confidence and belief. Jen spent hours on the phone and MS Teams going through intricate matters with me so that I could ensure my work was accurate and correct. Not once was I turned away or made to feel as if I couldn’t approach her for help. In 12 months I don’t think there has ever been a time where Jen has not returned a call I made to her.  A wonderfully supportive and truly team-orientated officer, Jen has made my step up to this new role a little less daunting. I have been inspired by the commitment, dedication and eye for detail she has. Jen will see things and make connections others don’t. Despite this, she remains humble and truly professional in all aspects. Observing her in meetings and reading her detailed and flawless reports has re-ignited my passion for the job and has made me see just how much of a positive difference one officer can make."

Michelle Sacks

Deputy chief executive (growth), Boston, East Lindsey and South Holland Councils

Citation: “The last 24 months have seen Michelle move from being head of planning and monitoring officer for Boston Borough Council, to deputy chief executive across two councils as part of a strategic alliance – and now deputy chief executive (Growth) across three! She has shown impeccable skill and positivity throughout, bringing engagement and collaboration to the fore – in particular, exemplified by her work on inspiring projects for three town deals, two levelling up bids and a city status application. Collaboration and pride in place are at her heart. Michelle is highly regarded by peers locally and nationally and an advocate of getting things done and finding solutions. She is always supportive of me and my planning teams and always brings us to the table at the earliest chance. She is highly thought of by developers for this ‘no barriers’ approach. She works with all members to find the nuance of specific planning concerns to identify the way forward. She leads by example and speaks widely about the value of planning and a can-do approach, contrary to the views of others. Michelle has used her network of contacts to unlock barriers to delivery, such as on The Quadrant, and our regeneration projects. She helps put Boston and South East Lincolnshire on the map with support for activities like the Historic Places Panel. A self-styled workaholic, she is committed and inspirational for the team but encourages me and others to do it our way and catch us when we wobble or fall. She is an inspirational leader, not just in planning, but within local government."

Dr Fiona Simpson MRTPI

Chief planner, Scottish Government

Citation: "Fiona was appointed as the Scottish Government’s first female chief planner in the autumn of 2021. Fiona’s appointment recognised her commitment to leading positive change in planning and placemaking in Scotland and raises the profile of women in senior positions in the planning profession across the UK. Following her recognition in 2021, Fiona has continued to build on her achievements, particularly with her personal leadership in the preparation of the ambitious climate and nature driven Draft National Planning Framework 4 (NPF4), published by the Scottish Government in November 2021. As chief planner, Fiona is personally and visibly leading this fundamental transformation in planning practice – promoting a new style of planning to deliver sustainable, long-term improvements for Scotland’s people and places. To achieve this, Fiona is a champion of working inclusively and collaboratively, engaging across all interests – both within and outwith Scottish Government – making time to listen and hear the range of views so that decisions are informed ones.  She leads with an infectious enthusiasm and positivity, giving confidence to her colleagues and planning practitioners to think and do things differently.  She also leads with empathy and compassion, having been a strength to many in her team over a number of years and particularly throughout the challenges of the pandemic. Fiona is driven to ensure that planning actively contributes to making places better for people and the environment, and is committed to planning being influential and recognised for its role in this. She inspires people within her team and beyond to make the best contribution they can, whatever their role." 

Christine Urry

Head of planning and development, Buckinghamshire Council

Citation:  "Chrissy is a committed, driven and positive head of department. Often when managing planning matters, there are conflicting interests and pressure from residents and developers. As a manager Chrissy is very approachable and down-to-earth and ensures staff feel supported. Chrissy ensures appropriate resources and processes are in place to deliver a good planning service. She provides all staff the opportunity to grow and develop in our careers. If issues are raised, she establishes the facts and makes sure issues are dealt with fairly. Buckinghamshire Council is a newly formed unitary authority and Chrissy is leading on improving the customer / stakeholder experience. To take something on like this requires vision and direction and then the political buy in and self-determination to move the organisation forward. From working with Chrissy over the last year, I believe Chrissy embodies these values and challenges and motivates me to do better every day."

Tanusha Waters MRTPI

Assistant director, planning and building control, Harlow Council

Citation: “In 2021, Tanusha led the planning team through the adoption of its ambitious local plan, six years from the emerging strategy consultation. It sets out to secure the future vitality and sustainability of Harlow New Town, whilst all the time having consideration to the town’s unique qualities and the principles laid out by Sir Frederick Gibberd in the early 50s. Tanusha has managed a process which has gone beyond the duty to co-operate and proactively worked with neighbouring authorities in Hertfordshire and Essex and other partners to bring forward transformational growth for Harlow through its garden town status without the benefit of a joint plan. The outcome is a local plan that respects the Gibberd Masterplan but also seeks to regenerate the town and improve the lives of residents now and in the future through major housing development, growth in skills and jobs, significant changes to mobility and sustainable transport and the delivery of a new hospital. Tanusha has also led the development management team to deliver an improved and more efficient planning service, even in these challenging times. The development of an enhanced pre-app service particularly for residents, and vast improvements to determination figures have all been made while working from home, sometimes overseas. She has ensured that, through her leadership, her team have been achieving this whilst also determining major applications such as the relocation of Public Health England (Now UKHSA), the delivery of award winning architecture at Newhall, significant town centre regeneration schemes and joint applications with East Herts Council for two new bridges over the River Stort."

"She is always willing to provide time and resources to strive to get the best health outcomes through planning policy and through the planning application process"

Alice Wiseman

Director of public health, Gateshead Council

Citation: "In her role as the director for public health, Alice has been a woman of influence over planning within Gateshead Council, in the North East and beyond over the past 12 months, as she has been throughout her career. Alice has a passion for tackling inequality and ensuring that everyone has an opportunity to thrive and recognises that planning is a major driver for change in our communities and provides opportunities to improve the health and wellbeing of the people who live, work and visit in Gateshead. The planning and public health teams in Gateshead have a track record of working together, in partnership, to deliver award winning planning policy, such as the Hot Food Takeaway SPD, and this partnership continues, nurtured through Alice’s continued recognition that health and planning are intertwined and health should be embedded within planning policy. Alice ensures that her team are engaged with the plan making process, and also enables the development of public health expertise within the planning policy team. She is always willing to provide time and resources to strive to get the best health outcomes through planning policy and through the planning application process as this is a vital component of shaping Gateshead into a healthy and thriving borough. Healthy environments, and how planning can deliver this is fully recognised as a key component of a thriving community.  Alice uses her role as a respected member of the public health community and through her role in the Association of Public Health Directors to champion the links between health and planning and provide guidance to government and other local authorities' planning and public health teams."

 

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Third sector

Including charities, membership bodies, think tanks, advisory bodies, networking groups.

Pooja Agrawal

Co-founder and chief executive, Public Practice

Citation: "Pooja Agrawal is an architect and planner who has worked with Homes England, the GLA, private architecture and urban design practice, and has taught at Central Saint Martins and been a Trustee for the Museum of Architecture. She is an inspirational leader, and in 2021  became chief executive of Public Practice. Now charged with steering this important enterprise towards its next chapter, Pooja is successfully attracting a diverse cohort of urbanists to work across the planning sector. While Pooja is no newcomer to the Woman of Influence lists, her standout collaborative, inclusive and collegiate approach to leadership puts her in a strong position to make the list again, as she inspires others to join the wonderful profession of planning and placemaking!"

Pooja has been mentioned in The Planner on numerous occasions. She wrote about the launch of Public Practice back in 2017.

"Above all, Aisha demonstrates in her work collaboration, openness, being happy to share her experience and engage in dialogue and the hard work to address the big challenges facing societies today"

Aisha Ali 

Partner, MELA Cymru; owner, CDF Planning; visiting tutor, Cardiff University

Citation: "Aisha is a committed planning practitioner and educator. Her work is underpinned by clear values and an approach to ethical practice that creates with communities and seeks to reduce inequalities. Specifically she has contributed in 2022 to Welsh Government’s Race Equality Action Plan, including advising on Housing and Accommodation policy. As a partner at MELA, her practice has continued to develop and implement approaches to creating with communities and listening to community needs as a core part of practice which has proven benefits for creating health and wellbeing through nurturing community agency. This has been both at a strategic practice level and on several projects. Aisha is a visiting tutor at Cardiff University, sharing her knowledge with a future generation of planners. Students value not only her extensive professional knowledge and experience, but the fact that she embodies all her accomplishments as a woman of colour. Above all, Aisha demonstrates in her work collaboration, openness, being happy to share her experience and engage in dialogue and the hard work to address the big challenges facing societies today including racial equity, climate and nature emergencies, the response to Covid-19, and social justice.  In summary, Aisha personifies a Woman of Influence through her thoughts, actions and ultimately, the values that permeate her work. She is an unsung hero who works quietly across multiple spheres such as with cities, communities and future planners at the university. As a child of immigrants, she brings a truly international understanding to local planning issues."

Kate Coventry MRTPI

Chair, Young Planners Cymru; planner, LRM Planning

Citation: "In December 2020 Kate became RTPI accredited, and from there has flourished in her career within the industry. She  has assisted the directors of the company on many different applications, working with both the English and Welsh planning structures. Alongside her planning job, Kate  takes part in many different organisations to have an influence on the planning world. She recently stepped down as chair of RTPI Young Planners Cymru, where she was very innovative to develop networking opportunities and helping the mental health of the young planners from  generic meetings through to organising activities like virtual yoga sessions. Kate is also on the RTPI Executive Committee, Planning Aid Wales Board. And she writes a blog through the eyes of a young planner, which has been very successful in assisting many young planners new to the industry. The topics discussed are insightful and contemporary, from electric car charging to advice on public inquiries."

Barbara Cummins MRTPI 

RTPI Scotland convenor 2021

Citation: "Barbara has been formidable in her role as director of heritage at Historic Environment Scotland (HES). During her time she has been an impressive leader and  worked tirelessly to promote the historic environment as part of planning decisions and, more generally, to engage the Scottish public in the management of their heritage. Barbara has supported and encouraged the development of planning and heritage specialists within the organisation and has always kept an open-door policy. She's also been actively engaged in RTPI Scotland and acted as Convenor for 2021. In this role, she provided assertive and kind leadership for the profession during a challenging year." 

Barabara has made regular appearances in The Planner, most recently sharing her views on NPF4

Sarah Hayford

Founder and chief executive of The Land Collective CIC

Citation:  "Sarah started The Land Collective when she was at university nearly five years ago as a project to assist her young peers in finding job opportunities across the built environment and showcase the sector as a whole. In the past year, Sarah has built and launched the second successful virtual internship programme in a row, where she diligently co-ordinated both a commercial property and planning and development pathway. Hundreds of young people nationally and internationally registered and undertook the programme that also featured insights and presentations from Public Practice, Meridian Water / Enfield Council and Nexus Planning. Sarah is passionate about showcasing the built environment to young people from diverse backgrounds, and programmes like this are the reason so many people, myself included, believe in her project and organisation."

"Sarah is passionate about showcasing the built environment to young people from diverse backgrounds"

Gemma Jobling MRTPI

Chair, RTPI Northern Ireland and managing director, JPE Planning

Citation: ""Gemma was RTPI Northern Ireland’s Chair for 2021. Across the year, Gemma did considerable work in supporting training and the promotion of the skills and knowledge of planning services in Northern Ireland, which is adapting to the placemaking agenda. The programme she masterminded integrated design with biodiversity, with transport, with housing etc; having different topics considered together to promote good planning and outcomes. She focused her work as chair on planning for renewal, to raise awareness of the role planners play in creating resilient, sustainable and inclusive communities. Gemma provided leadership for the profession in Northern Ireland, promoting strong planning in a holistic and integrated way, working with fellow built environment professions."

Rosie Pearson

Chair and co-founder, Community Planning Alliance

Citation:  "Rosie was one of the co-founders of the Community Planning Alliance, which although only formed in April 2021, now lists 550+ community groups on its map, which has now been viewed over 200,000 times. The CPA (spearheaded by Rosie) has been mentioned many times in the national press and also in planning publications. CPA has a Facebook group, and is fast approaching 2,000 members. CPA has already submitted responses to national consultations and inquiries. including this month, the nationally significant infrastructure projects consultation. Rosie has written the majority of CPA's responses, with input from the other committee members. All of this is voluntary and with no reward other than to help amateurs and local groups better liaise with the planning system."

Citation: "Joined a national group of residents campaigners seeking 'right housing in the right place'; helped them form a national campaigning body and was eventually elected as its chair. Early focus was on the MHCLG draft white paper that proposed the 'dodgy algorithm'. This contributed to a change in tack from the Ministry. Rosie has been prominent in lobbying and campaigning, and is now often quoted in the national media as she drives the CPA position forwards. Recently the CPA has been drawing attention to the blunt instrument of government housing targets which give an equal (if not more) weight to detached five bedroom high end housing as it does to affordable, eco or brownfield housing.  Rosie is a highly motivated, formidable and driven character, ideal traits in her unpaid role."

Rosie has written for The Planner about garden communities and offered her thoughts on what the government should prioritise in 2022.

Olafiyin Taiwo MRTPI

Chair, Young Planners Network at Commonwealth Association of Planners; co-chair, UN Habitat Planners for Climate Action; BAME Planners Network steering group member

Citation: "Olafiyin is very selfless and committed to raising the profile of planning and young planners across the Commonwealth and beyond. She is always soliciting for opportunities for young planners to participate in relevant high-level events. Olafiyin recommended Malith Senevirathne and I to participate in high level meetings and programmes such as The Prince’s Foundation, Rapid Urbanisation toolkit. She spent time to review our speeches and made recommendations on how to improve our presentations and to raise our profiles as young planners from Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Most notably, when my colleague from Bangladesh and I requested sponsorship opportunities to participate in the ISOCARP Young Planners' conference in Doha, Olafiyin worked tirelessly requesting for funding support from several organisations. She was able to convince The Commonwealth Secretariat to agree to a match funding arrangement. When it was discovered that the funds would not be released before the trip, she was willing to give us the money personally to buy the ticket and pay for accommodation to attend the conference. She is genuinely concerned about promoting planning and sustainable urban development and advocating for young planners."

Olafiyin has featured in The Planner several times: most recently, she wrote about leadership at COP26 for us and she commented on sustainable development in our young planners' issue in November 2020.

Dr Wei Yang FRTPI 

President, Royal town Planning Institute 2021; chair, Wei Yang and Partners

Citation: "Wei has shown outstanding leadership of the planning profession over the last year in her capacity as President of the RTPI. Her inspirational and inclusive approach to planning has seen her embrace her ambassadorial role with passion and commitment. Wei is founder of Wei Yang & Partners in London and a leading figure in researching, promoting and implementing the 21st century garden city approach and promoting joined up thinking between different built environment professionals. Wei is no doubt one of the leading women of influence in the planning profession, inspiring others, in particular women, to be their best to do their best. A worthy candidate!"

Understandably, Wei has been a prominent figure in The Planner over the past 15 months and has written several pieces. But here's our interview with Wei at the outset of her RTPI presidency in January 2021 and some departing thoughts in January 2022.

 

 

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Image credits | Redactive | Rafael Bastos | Kings Chambers | No5 Chambers | URBED | Public Practice | Olafiyin Taiwo | RTPI

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