13 February 2017
By Rosa Shirm
KLH Sustainability welcomes Rosalind Shirm to the team
Tell us a bit about your background? Growing up in a small village on the outskirts of Cambridge, I became eager from a young age to escape rural Suffolk and explore new destinations. As a result, the majority of my teenage years were spent fundraising (i.e. I quickly learned to become an amateur jam tart baker) in order to participate in trips abroad, from a conservation programme in Cuba, to teaching English in Vietnam. These experiences increased my understanding on an array of environmental and social issues, and contributed to my decision to study Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London.
Throughout my degree, sustainability proved to be a reoccurring theme that could be embedded in a range of modules, whether I was studying international development, ecosystems or urban environments. I quickly became drawn in by the depth of critical thinking sustainability demanded and chose to pursue this interest further as an intern for a university that specialises in the built environment. Here, I became familiar with BREEAM by working closely with industry experts to document the case study of the university’s BREEAM ‘Excellent’ office refurbishment.
Where did you first hear about KLH Sustainability? After completing my internship, I knew I wanted to continue working with sustainability in the built environment. Soon after beginning the daunting task of researching career opportunities, I came across KLH through Kirsten’s LinkedIn profile and the drive and enthusiasm of the team instantly resonated with me. Having read through KLH’s case studies and credentials, it was apparent that they excelled in engaging and empowering individuals to take on the challenge of sustainability. This was definitely a team I wanted to be a part of!
What made KLH Sustainability stand out for you to work for? KLH provides an invaluable opportunity for me to be directly involved in integrating sustainability in prestigious projects. As a small company, it offers me the chance to work closely with individuals with high levels of technical expertise and a great depth of industry knowledge. Not only will this give me the opportunity to quickly increase my knowledge of the field, but it will also enable me to gain a well-rounded understanding of implementing sustainability throughout the different stages of construction projects.
What is your current role at KLH Sustainability? As a Graduate Sustainability Advisor, I will primarily provide support and assistance to the team, working on projects such as East Wick & Sweetwater, as well as a few upcoming new projects we can’t mention yet.
How do you see yourself going forward within KLH Sustainability? At this early stage in my career, I am eager to build upon the academic knowledge gained as an undergraduate with practical, first-hand experience that involves working directly with clients to identify opportunities and solutions that achieve the best possible sustainable outcomes for their projects. I am looking forward to working closely with colleagues who are specialists in their field and further down the line, I hope to use this experience to identify a specific area in which to develop my own expertise.
What does sustainability mean to you? I regard sustainability as the process of achieving a balance between social equity, environmental quality and economic prosperity, with the objective of creating environments that people enjoy living and working in today and will be there for the future generations. Fortunately, sustainability is increasingly regarded as a ‘must-have’ rather than a ‘nice-to-have’ in many new developments. People and communities are becoming ever-more aware of the environmental and social issues confronting us, not just in our local communities, but also globally. The challenge now is to translate ‘sustainability’ into something individuals can relate to and act upon – an approach I believe that drives the success of KLH.