What do you do?
I am CEO of Qflow, in London. Qualis Flow allows the construction industry to automatically identify areas of environmental risk through a combination of using remote sensing technology and data visualisation, allowing users to manage their resources more sustainably. We are an early-stage start up, so I do whatever is needed to keep the company alive, growing and meeting our clients’ and investors’ expectations. This includes a huge range of things from hosting product design sprints with clients, meeting with investors, presenting to the industry and supporting my team.
Why did you choose this field?
Because I really wanted to change my industry: an industry that I believe is fundamental in building a sustainable future, but that is seriously lagging behind in terms of innovation and productivity. I realised it had to be my co-founder and I, when after a year of complaining about the status quo, nothing had happened. There are many great startups tackling different aspects of construction but no one confronting the impact that developments have on society and the environment while they are being built.
I chose to become a Civil Engineer because I wanted to build a better, more sustainable future. I have worked on projects from major infrastructure in Hong Kong to micro sanitation in Peru and Kenya, and I really loved it. I still love Civil Engineering and I still believe in its power to build a better future - I have just chosen to tackle it from a different angle, a more ‘techy’ ‘modern’ approach.
What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?
I have always tried to push myself to do what I thought was not quite possible - so I am not sure there is anything I didn’t try. I have learned, however, to scale my ambitions.
I joined Entrepreneur First’s 10th London cohort - and two key things they drum into you have really stuck with me: 1. Scale your ambition, 2. Strong opinions weakly held. If you do not hold strong opinions you cannot follow them with conviction. But if you hold them too strongly, then you may miss valuable information along the way. No one expects you to be right first time.
Why do you love working in STEM?
I love the potential. There is so much out there that can be enhanced and made more sustainable using STEM, and I wake up excited about the opportunity that those skills bring.
Best advice for next generation?
STEM is the most artistic thing of all. There is a subtle and challenging art in making technology useable, engineering functional, and science and math interoperable. If you are truly creative, you will help build something world changing, and for that, you need STEM.
Inspo quote / fun fact / role model
My favorite app is Strava - I have always loved to run - this simple piece of tech has made it impossible for me to run without it. I am racing myself, pushing to be better (and often failing) but aware of the success in just getting out there. I never thought I would buy into being watched by an app but it has shown me the power of data to change habits and behaviour, and it is that power I rely on for us to change our global habits to live more sustainably in our lives.