Iram Mohammed is a senior planning consultant for water and environment at consultancy Atkins. Although based in Glasgow, she has worked on complex public and private-sector projects across the UK. Current roles include membership of the Royal Town Planning Institute board of trustees and chair of its membership and ethics committee. She is chair of the Assessment of Professional Competence advisory panel and a board director for Planning Aid for Scotland.
Mohammed graduated in 2006 in town and regional planning from University of Dundee and started her planning career at Cairngorms National Park Authority as an assistant planning officer.
Q What are your objectives in your current role and how are you measured against them?
A I have a wide range of objectives in my current role as senior planner including business development, planning team leadership and technical lead for planning and environmental impact assessments in Scotland. My objectives are measured on a regular basis by my operations and commercial directors in line with internal Atkins' procedures and annually as part of my professional development plan. There is also self assessment required as part of my job, which includes identification of training and networking opportunities.
Q What key lessons have you learned during your career that help you to fulfil those objectives?
A Never be afraid to ask questions. I have gained an incredible amount of business and planning knowledge from some of my senior management team simply by asking questions. It’s better to ask a question - however obvious it may seem - than struggle your way through a task that would have taken half the time to do, if you had known how to do it.
Identify your weaknesses and work on eradicating them. We all have weaknesses, but simply acknowledging the weakness won’t make it disappear. I find reminding myself of a weakness and consciously working on it has helped me excel in my career.
Reputation matters. People sometimes wonder why they should go out of their way to help a client (I’ve been known to stay up all night helping a client with a last minute deadline). Clients appreciate someone going the extra mile for them - it’s how you retain and grow relationships. Establishing relationships is key to cultivating and protecting my reputation; it's one of the most valuable currencies you have.