On Monday 14th October 2013 Women in Planning launched their Proud of Women Series sponsored by KDH Associates. The first event saw Michèle Dix,Managing Director of Planning at Transport for London take the audience through her career thus far.
Charlotte Morphet, the Founder of Women in Planning, welcomed guests by introducing the inspiration and the aim of the event series which has come from the current Royal Town Planning Institutes’ President, Dr Peter Geraghty.
Michèle Dix then proceeded to give a snapshot of her career as an Engineer, Transport Planner and a Mother including the series of stepping stones which have lead to her current position, Managing Director of Planning at TfL (a position she has held since 2007). At TfL Michèle is responsible for strategic growth across London’s transport network. Michèle works with the wider planning team to assess the impact of growth on the transport network and to unlock economic growth in areas of London in need of regeneration through the development of the transport network. Michèle believes that flexibility, tolerating change and seeing projects to the end has been the key to her successful career.
Michèle was awarded a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Leeds which provided her with the foundation for what Women in Planning believe is an inspirational career journey. Whilst at University Michèle found she was more interested in how places functioned rather than how buildings stood up, and realised Planning was the career for her.
Following the completion of her studies examining the relationship between land use and transport planning, Michèle joined the Greater London Council (GLC) as a Graduate. At the GLC Michèle worked on a variety of projects, including early research on the impact of a £5 congestion charge for Central London.
Due to the abolition of the GLC in 1986, Michele moved to Transport Planning consultants Halcrow Fox, (now Halcrow). At Halcrow Fox, Michèle worked on an array of transport projects. Her prerequestit for where she worked was that she always wanted to be back in time for tea! Whilst at Halcrow Fox, Michèle proved herself to be a confident and capable Transport Planner through her involvement in many challenging projects which included, conducting a study into a potential new river crossing in East London.
During her time at Halcrow Fox, Ken Livingston became the first elected Mayor of London. Eventually, under his leadership, London revisited the question of the congestion charge and in 2002, the opportunity arose for Michèle to join TfL as Director of Congestion Charging. Michèle decided to apply for this role as a job share with her friend and former colleague Malcolm Murray Clarke. Working on a part- time basis (Monday to Friday) allowed Michèle to maintain a work- life balance without feeling guilty about not responding to emails or phone calls at weekends, which she believes has been instrumental to the success of her career. Part of the satisfaction from undertaking this role was that she was able to ‘finish’ which is something that she personally feels strongly about, as the congestion charge was implemented in Central London in 2003.
After this project was complete she decided to apply for the role to be Managing Director of Planning at TfL where more recently she has been part of planning and technical discussions for many significant infrastructure projects, including High Speed 2, the Northern Line Extension, Crossrail 1 and 2 and (once again) a new river crossing in east London. For more information on TfL’s current projects visit: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/projectsandschemes/7500.aspx.
Michèle’s top 10 tips for Women in Planning:
Do what you enjoy- if you’re not enjoying it then change!
Work hard– if you want to get to the top hard work is necessary. Not always about putting in long hours, do your homework and be on top of your subject!
Be honest– Honesty is often mistaken for being direct. People know what you mean when you say it.
Trust people– giving responsibility and trusting that people will perform is a better approach to dealing with others.
Show appreciation of your team– you are only ever as successful as your team, showing appreciation keeps people motivated and engaged.
Share problems/ talk– a problem shared is a problem halved. Sharing problems help you stay sane!
Don’t try to be what you’re not, be yourself– there are different ways to be successful, you don’t have to conform to be like everyone else. Lots of different characters make a team.
Follow through/ don’t give up/ finish the job– finish everything you start and don’t give up. Michèle was determined to see the London Congestion Charging scheme implemented. She is now determined to get a river crossing!
All work and no play, a recipe for failure– it is important to create friendships at work, you can work and play with your colleagues!
Value your friends and family– they give you the support you need to perform professionally.
Women in Planning would like to thank all who attended and were very pleased to see many new faces. Please find the presentations from this event below.
We would also like to thank our speaker Michele Dix and our sponsor KDH Associates.
The next event in the series will be in 2014.
If you have any question please email us at email@example.com
“In Planning things take time, but don’t give up!”
“Get on, stay sane”
Michèle Dix, Managing Director for Planning, TfL, October 2013