22 January 2021
By Jacira Baro
Welcoming Jacira to the KLH team!
Tell us a bit about your background?
I was born in the beautiful sunny city of Lisbon in Portugal, a country known for the best wine, food and the infamous warm Pastels de nata (Custard tarts). I have lived in the UK for close to 26 years and people are often surprised to learn that I am not a Brit! I grew up in London, the youngest of eight siblings and as such have a different perspective on the world compared to the rest of my family that grew up in Africa. Despite my fraudulent London accent, I remain extremely attached to my Portuguese roots. I speak daily with my family in my mother tongue and make the best Portuguese bacalhau com natas, (creamy salted cod fish).
I consider myself to be a very visual person, I appreciate the small details. I have always had a passion for interior design and architecture but was never gifted with the talent to draw. So, interior design became a hobby rather than a career, I decorate for friends and families.
I have an inquisitive mind. I like to research, gather information and learn daily. I returned to education as a mature student studying History of Art, Design and Film at Kingston University. My motivation for further education was three-fold; to become the first member of my immediate family to go to university, to be a role model for the next generation of my family, and to improve the range of employment opportunities available to me so I might embark on a fulfilling career!
Where did you first hear about KLH Sustainability?
I heard about KLH Sustainability through my advisor from Radical Recruit, a company that works with people that face barriers to employment. I have an employment background in administration, but my advisor knew how interested I am in materials, construction and the environment. So, when the job description for the position with KLH arrived, she called me immediately and said, “I have the perfect opportunity that aligns with your skills and interest, in a workplace where you will gain so much knowledge.” One interview later and the rest is history.
What made KLH Sustainability stand out for you to work for?
I had an exciting interview, a world apart from previous interviews. I got the sense that no pre-judgment had been made about my physical limitations. From the first moment, I was comfortable enough to present myself at the interview, I felt that the only judgement being made was on the merits of my character and my abilities. The principles of the company grabbed my attention, and I knew KLH was a company that would give me the opportunity to finally start on the career path that I have always wanted. Joining the team has not only brought a different perspective for me, but the team has also made it clear that my perspective on the design of the built environment will be valuable for the company and the projects we are involved in.
What is your current role at KLH Sustainability?
I am the first Team Administrator of the company and feel extremely proud to be a part of a small team with such a magnetic energy. As part of the team, I am picking up a wide range of tasks that were previously under the responsibility of various team members ranging from administrative duties to documents design and marketing.
How do you see yourself going forward within KLH Sustainability?
As a part of a small company, I know I will get involved in a wide range of tasks. While I may be focused on the Team Administrator role for now, my ambition and curious mind means I am learning a lot from my colleagues about the industry. Kirsten has made it clear that there is no reason I cannot progress into a more technical position within the company, through training and support. I would love to eventually teach and mentor others within my community about the future and sustainability as I believe it is a topic that can bring different perspectives into our daily lives.
What does sustainability mean to you?
I always thought sustainability was about the preservation of the natural environment and using resources more efficiently. I focussed on sustainable fashion at university and understood the importance of prioritising environmentally friendly practices throughout production and creating a product that has a lower impact on the environment.
My studies have led me to develop an acute awareness about human rights violations, chemical pollution and climate change. These topics translate across industries and I am eager to learn more on how the built environment is shaped through consideration of these aspects, and how in turn the built environment shapes our future generations.