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A Day in the Life of...

Victoria Hills

Victoria joined the RTPI in April 2018 and utilises her 22 years’ experience and expertise in the fields of planning, transport and organisational leadership and development to drive forward the vision and strategic priorities for the 25,000 member strong RTPI. At a time when the profile of town planning and placemaking has never been higher, Victoria is enjoyed to playing her part in making the case for investing in planning and planners, to deliver and preserve quality places and the environment for future generations to come, putting planning centre stage. Victoria is passionate about planning great ‘liveable’ places for people, with an unrivalled insight into London’s governance; having worked for all three Mayors of London. Prior to joining the RTPI, Victoria was Chief Executive Officer of the Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation, where she established the UK’s second Mayoral Development Corporation. Prior to this she was Head of Transport for the Greater London Authority, and before that held a variety of roles working for the Mayor of London, and in Transport Consultancy and Local Government. In 2017 Victoria was made a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers and in 2018 joined the Council of the National Infrastructure Planning Association. An experienced public speaker, Victoria recently judged the 2019 Building Construction Industry Awards, the 2019 New Civil Engineer Awards and the 2019 European Women in Construction and Engineering Awards. In March 2019 Victoria was delighted to join the new Board of The Construction Innovation Hub to help shape the work of the new £72 million Construction Innovation Hub, which seeks to transform the UK construction industry. As Chief Executive of the Royal Town Planning Institute, Victoria uses the convening role of the RTPI to make the case for resourcing planning and advocating the important role of putting planning at the heart of government delivery for the quality places that people want to live in. Driving forward the RTPI’s new Corporate Strategy will see a focus on raising the profile of planning, elevating the value of professionalism, and promoting a diverse and inclusive profession to ensure genuine representation of the society in which we work.

What does your typical working day look like? I’ve answered this during week two of the Government Covid-19 lockdown. My typical working day has been transformed and it’s great to have the time out now to reflect on this. I have two primary school-aged children so it’s non-stop! My day starts…

6.30am I usually get woken up by at least one of the kids, and ideally I’ll have a cup of t­­­ea in bed if I’m lucky. Or go out for an early run, perhaps two week days. 7-9am home-schooling and breakfast; I have to prioritise maths and english lessons at this time in advance of the working day 9am I hand over to the brilliant Joe Wicks on YouTube and leave a pile of activities that I hope they’ll do… During work ...

9-11am work calls and emails, on Monday it looked like this: 9.15-9.30 I host my weekly climate action plan catch-up 9.30-10 I chair a weekly Comms meeting 10-10.30 daily COVID-19 GOLD call 10.30-11.30 cleared weekly COVID-19 all member email bulletin, cleared press releases and responded to urgent emails 11.30am – 12.30 check in with kids / 3rd lesson of the day 12.30-1pm check-in with work / calls emails 1-2pm break for lunch / additional lesson / reading with kids 2-3pm I chaired the monthly Managements Accounts meeting 3-4pm I chaired my weekly Senior Executive Team meeting 4-5pm 121 calls with direct line reports 5-6pm sustainable living places conference call with Royal Academy of Engineering After work ...

6-7pm feed kids / final lesson of day 7-8pm get kids into bed / tidy up house (no home help during COVID-19!) On an evening ...

8-9pm log back on and deal with urgent emails / mop up priorities for day 9-10pm grab something to eat with my husband 10pm collapse into bed before doing it all over again the next day!

How do you unwind on an evening or weekend? Turning off my work phone and avoiding work emails, exercise like a long run or a bike ride, walk to our local forest with kids and ordering in delicious takeaways to support our local restaurants! What is your favourite/most rewarding project you have worked on? The 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. It was a privilege to be part of the Greater London Authority’s City Operations Team during 2010 to 2012. What are the best and worst bits about your job? It’s busy and all quite strategic so I love the diversity I get from the nuts and bolts of running a charity whilst also the external facing activities in raising the profile and influence of planning and the RTPI. There is never a moment to get fatigued or bored. Worst bits are never having enough time to do everything I’d like to do and dealing with complaints that make it to me (not very many I should add!) Who has had the biggest influence on your career and why? Without doubt my parents. They taught me to always do my best and the value of ethics and hard work. My father in particular used to tell me the world was my oyster from a very young age, that that I could do whatever I wanted if I put my mind to it. I followed his advice and never looked back. What is the best bit of advice you have received in your career? See above! What is your favourite place? Home, but also the beach. I’m happiest when I’m looking at the sea or an ocean. Even better if it’s warm enough to be in it!

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