Name: Kerry London
Position: Dean School of Built Environment
Company: Western Sydney University
What do you enjoy the most, working in the field of construction & development?
I enjoy being a part of creating something almost from nothing; over the years I’ve been an architect in architectural consulting firms, a design project manager, an asset manager and a policy manager in government as well as now an academic; a teacher and researcher.
In my earlier days watching a project emerge from the kernel of an idea in a community lobbying government, developing the business case and then seeing it through the planning, design, construction and handover was the greatest delight. Now I enjoy shaping our new School of Built Environment at Western Sydney University in its start-up; creating the right environment where the staff and students achieve their aspirations. Right now we are in a very difficult time with Covid-19 and every day I see good and bad behaviours. We all make mistakes, but the best thing is that I have kind colleagues who forgive each other and with authenticity, pick each other up with such generosity of spirit.
Where do you see your life in the next 5 years, what possibilities are ahead of you?
The next year is completely focussed on the launch and building the foundations of the School for the future. As a Dean I have much to do in leading and managing and teaching and research programs, which has always been equally important to me. I still am a very active researcher as pushing the boundaries of new knowledge and helping other people’s careers, particularly in research, is very important to me. I am very entrepreneurial and at times a calculated risk taker and I see myself trying new things in the next five years. This is what has always motivated me and I am always keen to try new things. I think the possibilities for me lie in continuing to look for new opportunities to bring industry, community, government and academia together in positive productive and creative interactions.
I have been a teacher since I was 13 and coached tennis with my brother in the Upper Hunter. I think I will give my heart to people and be a teacher of sorts till the day I die… whether I am teaching industry, government and academics how to work with each other or teaching my godson the names of flowers…
If you could write a letter to a 13-year-old ‘you’ what would you say?
Family and friends are always the most important thing. Work is important though. If you move up in your career, you will have to make choices and there will be moral dilemmas about giving your time to family and giving your time to work. Remember to give time to your family as this time can’t be retrieved and as you get older they are always there for you. In the future, when your husband has cooked every week night for 9 months without fail because you were too exhausted or had to ‘just finish something’, stop and remind yourself he will be there and will forgive you, support you and love you like no one else will. So give him a little time when you can.
What are 3 skills you have had to develop to get to where you are presently?
Human compassion skills of resilience, forgiveness, kindness, patience and strength.
However, the biggest task skill has been project management. It is amazing that simply planning, scoping, organising, and delivering on the job cuts across my entire career and regardless of the politics and the nonsense that sometimes surrounds at the end of the day, if you deliver, you respect yourself and the good people respect you. The others … it really doesn’t matter.