Naomi is a new partner specialising in environment and planning law, with a deep appreciation of the complexity and multifaceted nature of planning decisions.
I've always been fascinated by the environment – the impacts we have on it go beyond property boundaries and even, in some cases, national borders. There are political, economic and very human dimensions to the work I do with clients. I love digging into the different perspectives and (often competing) interests of various stakeholders, to steer a course to an outcome that reconciles those interests to the greatest extent possible.
One thing that's become very clear to me through my work is that everything we do has an impact, and decisions are rarely black and white. Wind farms are an excellent source of green energy, but they can have significant visual impacts and effects on bird life. Increasing housing supply is positive, and locating that supply where there are good transport links and amenities makes sense, but many of these communities are opposed to high-density developments.
There's always going to be a tension between what's good right now and what's good for the future – and what's good socially or economically versus what's good for the environment. There are always winners and losers in any course of action. But navigating that complexity to get the best outcomes for my clients, bearing in mind our collective responsibility to promote development that is ecologically sustainable for the sake of future generations, is what motivates me.
That long-term view and commitment to creating a positive legacy for future generations is also something that guides me in my role as a leader. I've been fortunate at Allens to work with some excellent role models and mentors – senior leaders who don't try to hide the challenges involved in balancing their personal and professional commitments, and have encouraged me to set a similar example for others.
My first baby was four months old when I went through the partner promotion process, and I've only recently returned to work. I'm open about needing to leave the office to make the childcare pickup, or admitting that I'm exhausted after a sleepless night. I don’t see any value in creating an impression that this is easy, that I'm constantly available or always have everything under control. Life is messy and complicated, and the more honest we are with each other about that, the more we can support each other when the going gets tough.
The Blue Mountains is my version of paradise. Hiking through the national park in the crisp, fresh air, surrounded by untouched natural beauty, is my perfect way of getting away from it all and recharging. While the hikes my husband and I tackle these days are a little less ambitious with our nine-month-old daughter in tow, we still try to sneak in a quick trip to the mountains whenever there is a long weekend, to spend some time getting back to nature.