UCL Careers


Alumni profile: Katherine O'Neil

Meet UCL Urban Design and City Planning graduate Katherine who talks to us about her path from UCL graduate to owner & placemaking consultant of placemaking business Builtfully.

A portrait of UCL alumni Katherine O'Neil

15 November 2022

Degree programme: Urban Design & City Planning MSc
Graduation year: 2019
Current job role: Owner & Placemaking Consultant

Please share a brief introduction to your career path, from graduation to where you are now.  

After I graduated, I decided to grow my Katherine O Creative Community, LLC and start my passion project, Builtfully. This placemaking business showcases the benefits of beautifully built and better places for all. I had previous experience working for a placemaking firm and city planning and housing non-profit organizations. Receiving my Masters at UCL gave me the confidence, skills, and expertise to grow my business further. During the last couple of years, I was Vice President and Interim President of a design museum board and joined a design committee for my local non-profit to improve our main street.

Provide a brief summary of your core duties and describe what skills are important to your role?   

My business revolves around placemaking consultations, community events, and content. I have started a blog, am selling my photography, providing resources, and design consultants. After joining a main street organization design committee in my local town, I co-organize an event series for creatives to build community and connections. My skills come from the background I learned in my programme, experience, and education over the years.

How did your time at UCL prepare you for the workplace?

I learned how to enhance my writing, communications design, and project management skills at UCL. The attributes I discovered about myself were my strength in public speaking and working well with others to form a team.  

I found my study abroad to be so impactful in my life. I got to know and learn from people from all over the world. London is a vibrant and inspiring study place with many resources, history, and beauty. I am writing a book about my year abroad because it was life-changing for me! I hope others choose to do a transformative study abroad year like I was able to do.  

I am so happy there is an UCL Alumni Group in Boston, and I have attended their events. It is so lovely to stay connected to the UCL community! It is also helpful to build connections even after graduation!

Were there any challenges in your job hunt?  

During the pandemic, it was a difficult time doing community events and activating public spaces. People were still needing community, so finding ways to connect online. I started a Mastermind group, led Board meetings, and networked all online. Once I could network in person, I got out there again and connected with people at any networking opportunity including the UCL Boston Alumni event.  

I overcame these challenges by diving into a new community and getting involved. I have found that joining committees, boards, and volunteering is a great way to build relationships, network, and showcase one's skills. This leads to collaborations and work projects.

Top tips for current students: List up to 3 short quick tips that you would like to share with current students.

  1. Focus on your strengths and show up as a good team member for projects 
  2. Realise you can learn from your fellow classmates as well as your books and professors 
  3. Treat London as a place to find inspiration from, because it has so much to offer.

Need help with your job applications or CV? 

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