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Sarah Ichioka is an urbanist who is currently head of Desire Lines in Singapore. This company consulates different initiatives in terms of socio-economic and environment decisions. She is originally from the United States and completed her Bachelors degree there before moving to the UK for her Masters and staying there for a while to continue her professional journey.
Having worked in different countries from the US to the UK to Singapore, how have you found the different approaches to work?
Sarah shared the difference in values from different places. Older nations such as the United Kingdom tend to want to make everything about preservation of the old. In Sarah’s opinion, sometimes it stops some towns from developing to their fullest potential. Younger nations such as Singapore tend to want to create new things and do not care much for preservation which in Sarah’s opinion can sometimes be a little harsh on historic value of buildings.
Whatever you study in university does not determine what you will do for the rest of your life. We asked Santosh, what made him make the change to move from engineering to social issues.
Santosh believes that having the ability to see a problem and come up with a solution to that problem is very important. That is something we should take away no matter what degree or field you want to go into. The corporate world taught him how to find root causes for issues and he wanted to take this knowledge further.
What are some of the projects you worked on that were most successful?
Sarah said that she believes that it’s not the projects that are most successful that stand out but rather those that taught her a great lesson. She believes that in her early stages of her career, it was very beneficial to work with people in their older stages of their careers because they navigated her and kept her grounded. She learned that everything takes time and that every professional experience, no matter how painful, has the potential to be a learning opportunity.
If you could leave the youth with one piece of advice, what would it be?
Let go of perfectionism.