|Current job role||Chief Executive Officer at Loch Insh Outdoor Centre, Scotland|
|Course studied||BSc (Hons) Geography and Geology, 2005|
Laura did not know what she wanted to do after graduating or what career she would end up in. Her studies led her towards a career in the RAF, the Environment Agency, Forestry and Land Scotland and now she is the Chief Executive Officer for Loch Insh Outdoor Centre in the Cairngorms National Park. Her role involves a variety of responsibilities including the development of strategy, leadership, risk management, and financial planning. She deals with a variety of local and regional stakeholders to ensure the successful management of the site.
Laura remains passionate about climate sustainability and has recently finished her MBA thesis investigating climate adaptation for tourism sites in the Cairngorms.
Life at Herts
Laura's time studying at Herts has been hugely useful in her professional career. She says, 'The geographic information system (GIS) element of the course was particularly useful within my roles as a GIS Manager and during my time in the Royal Air Force, as both placed heavy use on remote sensing. I also took a placement year at a local authority that offered me a part-time position throughout my final year and a permanent role upon leaving.'
The flexibility within her studies and the University offered Laura many opportunities to combine her personal interests and professional goals. She says, 'Placement years are a fantastic aspect of study that gives students invaluable practical experience in the professional world which often leads to employment and fruitful careers.'
She adds, 'The placement opportunity helped me figure out how my interests could fit into a job and set me up for my career. The flexible module structure of my degree helped me increase my employability by tailoring the degree to match my career goals.'
‘The best thing about studying at Herts was the field trips - without a doubt walking on glaciers in Saas Fee, Switzerland. I think most geographers like to get outside and 'do' what they study. The most useful thing about studying at Herts was the placement opportunity which helped me figure out how my interests could fit into a job and set me up for my career.’
Advice on sustainability
When talking about sustainability Laura has some very clear advice for individuals and businesses alike. She says, 'In sustainability, be open and honest. There are contradictions and compromises everywhere (e.g. between plastic reduction and carbon footprint, between electric cars and their lithium batteries).'
'Be clear about yours or your company's priorities and be open if you have to make compromises to achieve that, but seek ways to minimise those compromises.'