Aparna is the Programme Analyst in the Programme Management Office within Estates Development. She is also Co-Chair of Astrea alongside Ferdouse Akhter and Pip Jackson.
What is your role and what does it involve?
I am a Programme Analyst in the Programme Management Office within Estates Development. My role is to support Project Managers from inception through to completion in the construction project lifecycle to ensure they run smoothly, adhering to UCL’s policies and procedures and governance. My main responsibilities are to quality assure and critically review project proposals and to produce performance data. Last but not least, I prepare dashboards for senior management and school boards to advise the progress of approved projects.
Since June 2021 I have been a Culture Champion for Estates. With the help of Culture Pledges, we focus on creating an enabling culture where all staff can thrive and be their best at work. Recently I have become the Co-Chair of the Astrea Network which is a privilege and an opportunity to serve the wonderful community. Astrea is for women in professional services roles at UCL. It is open to all self-identifying women and non-binary staff members, whether you’re at the early stages of your career, or already well established. It’s a community where we can share experiences, build on skills, and support each other. So, join us or get in touch!
How long have you been at UCL and what was your previous role?
I have been at UCL for over six years. My previous role was within the central timetabling team as Timetabling business partner where I enjoyed working with Institute of Education and Population Health Sciences, to deliver a seamless timetable. There were many challenges, but I am grateful for the support I received from the faculties, which helped me to build collegiate relationships across all levels of management benefitting both staff and students.
What would it surprise people to know about you?
In my previous life, I was a television producer and entrepreneur in New Delhi, India. Looking back at those 16 years, I produced/directed all types of television content including entertainment/ reality, sports shows and documentaries. I was fortunate to work with leading television channels including MTV, ESPN and Discovery Channel.
What working achievement or initiative are you most proud of?
I founded my second company WMC (We Make Careers) a Film Editing institute, to create a talent pipeline for television editors. A structured journey for new talent from institute to sector, including placements. I created a practical curriculum which taught sought-after skills required by employers and helped them create an impressive showreel for their very first job interview. The idea worked and was very successful. Some of my ex- students are Heads of Department with leading broadcasters and that makes me very happy and proud!
Tell us about a project you are working on now which is top of your to-do list?
I am part of the team responsible for the implementation of the UCL Estates Strategy 2022-27 and the change in project delivery in Estates from Programme Management to Portfolio Management. Exciting times!
What is your favourite album, film and novel?
I cannot choose one so it would be:
Album : Bryan Adams, Eric Clapton and Carpenters.
Film: Curious case of Benjamin button (a good idea well executed), Shawshank Redemption (all colours of life) and Yamakasi (2001) French film (real parkour experts not professional actors).
Novel : I like non-fiction so I would choose Success vs Joy – Geet Sethi with Sunil Agarwal
What is your favourite joke (pre-watershed)?
I was asked to choose a password with 8 characters. I chose “Snow white and Seven Dwarfs.”
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t let limitations define you, “Where there’s a will there is definitely a way”.
What is your favourite place?
Where my family is…
Who would you most like to have a conversation with at an Astrea Happy to Chat bench and why?
My Mum, I lost her at a young age, so we have a lot to catch up!