Victoria Hills became interested in town planning while studying geography at university and during a gap year decided to take a two-year masters in town planning at University of Newcastle upon Tyne. Her first job was a transport projects officer at Wycombe District Council before she moved to planning consultancy Steer Davies Gleave. She worked for the mayor of London for 13 years until this June when she become chief executive of the Old Oak & Park Royal Development Company (OPDC), one of the UK’s largest regeneration projects.
Q. What are your objectives in your current role and how are you measured against them?
My top priorities include creating a solid planning framework to drive development, secure investment to address our infrastructure funding and gain influence over the significant public sector land holding at Old Oak. I'm helping to shape the OPDC board and develop a master schedule and work programme. I'm measured against a strategy to deliver the project.
Q. What key lessons have you learned during your career that help you to fulfil those objectives?
A. Focus on what you think is important. Try to avoid concentrating on what other people think you should be doing or what you think other people are thinking you should be doing.
There are no shortcuts. You get out what you put in and challenges and problems are a lot easier to solve if you sit down and have a face-to-face discussion with someone.
Value the power of networking. Talk to as many people as you can – you never know when someone could help you out – and be organised and look after yourself, as there are no dress rehearsals with your career.