Alice Lester, MBE

5 Sep 2023

At some point during our conversation, Alice Lester, MBE talked about the planner she imagined she would become at the beginning of her career. When she started, she couldn't see beyond principal planner (neither can I on most days, to be honest.) On her journey, she didn't just become an outstanding planner, she became Alice Lester, MBE!!

When you listen to Alice, no matter your age, you quickly realise you want to be the adult that Alice is. She's got it down. And, of course, she has to. Alice is Director for Regeneration, Growth and Employment at the London Borough of Brent. I'm here pinching myself about knowing my use classes, when Alice has command of how the world works. As is abundantly clear from our discussion, she knows how to bring people along - and that is the mark of her mastery. Of course, Alice achieves this at a very high level, but relationship-building is an essential skill every planner should make part of her/his toolkit.

Being clear about objectives - upfront - is the most adult way to engage people and form partnerships. Setting priorities, communicating them at all levels, and engraining them in ways of working will help to move efforts in a productive direction. If only it was as easy as listening to Alice's voice describe it.