A chat with our chair, Kirsty Schneeberger
One of the positives that has arisen from these uncertain times is a different sense of pace to everyday life. We've used this time to catch up with Kirsty Schneeberger, our UKELA chair, to find out a little more about what drives her and her passion for UKELA with a quick round Q&A session. We hope you enjoy getting to know Kirsty a little more.
What inspired you to become a trustee and Chair of UKELA?
I joined UKELA as a student and really wanted to bring the student and voice of younger professionals to Council, as well as to learn about how it all operated. I remember being quite nervous about those first Council meetings and really not saying very much at all! I was very much in awe of all of those around the table and just felt so lucky to be sat at the same table as them! Some 8 years later I think Alison (our Operations Director) could attest to the fact that I say an awful lot in the meetings and I am sure she would like to nudge me under the table to keep better to time. As a Vice Chair I had the immense privilege of working with Stephen Sykes and Anne Johnston, my predecessors, as well as the rest of Council and when the Chair position came up I suppose I just really wanted to be able to give something back to the organisation and try and put into practice the leadership skills I had seen in the others.
What defines your way of working?
I don't really think I have a set way of working, especially not now during the Covid-19 lockdown. I like to carve out space for thinking and writing as much as possible which can be hard when the email inbox never stops filling up! If I have a big piece of work that needs my full attention, I will sometimes take my pen and paper and work on it long hand away from the desk, to ensure no distractions but also to give myself more space to think beyond the borders of a computer screen. I try and do a blast of email responses at a time - so those who work with me know to expect multiple messages in a short space as I am working through their messages; it must seem like a bit of a bombardment at times! I also think it's really important to work in teams and I really like working with others. The UKELA Council and staff teams are a joy to work with and I think we can be so much more effective pooling our knowledge and experience, so am really grateful to have them all to work alongside.
What do you see as the major issues facing us in the next decade?
Clearly the next decade is one where environmental issues will increasingly be at the forefront of our lives and concerns. But I also think there is a remarkable and once-in-a-lifetime chance to harness this opportunity to create the world we want to live in. During this period of lockdown we are seeing air pollution plummet and we are all seeing that actually living in a pollution free world has many wonderful benefits. So, I would like to see us all think about the roles we can play in supporting a pollution-free transport system and what it would take to keep air pollution low. For UKELA, I think we need to keep providing really great content for our members and support them to be the best they can be in their professionals. They really are the front-line workers who are all working so hard on creating that better future, so anything we can do to support them is essential to our mission.
Who do you admire?
Ruth Bader GInsburg is one of my all-time heroes. Her hard work and sharp mind shifted the legal landscape on gender equality. Her attitude and approach to work is remarkable and I strive to be as active and hard working as she is when I am her age!
1st May 2020