By Martin Christiansen
From Montevideo to Berlin. Meet Yolanda Arias Jiménez. A process and post-it aficionado working with stakeholder involvement and urban development from our Berlin office.
What do you work with?
My work as a Senior Consultant focuses on urban and regional development strategies which include different patterns of collaboration and hands-on public participation services. I’m also working on issues within sectors like social welfare and transport.
Currently, I’m involved in a project which aims to improve the impact of collaboration of different government agencies on municipality level in the North of the country.
I like to work in a multi-professional context to improve the physical environment, to strengthen social cohesion and development as well as to optimize positive impacts of sustainability.
What made you want to join Ramboll Management Consulting?
I believe that policy-makers have an increasingly need of integral solutions that enable them to combine the benefits of several sectoral issues, like technological innovation with emphasis on sustainability and social development. I wanted to join Ramboll Management Consulting because I believe that this organization raises to this challenge trough an integral “360 degree” approach of consultancy.
On an organizational level I wanted to benefit from a cross-company collaboration and an international knowledgebase which the Ramboll Group provides.
What is the most significant professional experience you have had so far?
In Montevideo, South America, I worked with the Uruguayan Federation of Mutual Help Housing Cooperatives which establishes solutions for social habitats that allow low-income citizens to have adequate housing despite being surrounded by severe poverty. Each affiliated cooperative received user-oriented support from the Federation and a technical advisory team. The cooperatives also interacted with many local authorities.
I observed that it was not easy for a group of people to independently develop a project and to make decisions based on democratic principles, but once they got involved and with the right user-oriented support, the dynamic created a cultural change in people and helped the individuals to act as responsible citizens.
What are the most exciting development within your field of work?
Cities and municipalities in Germany are increasingly developing locally binding guidelines for citizen participation processes. They are almost developed in a participatory manner with a wide range of stakeholders. The aim is to define principles and regulations on which future participation procedures can be based.
Clear communication of content and timings, the creation of spaces for action and resonance of different perspectives, as well as the definition of the limits of participation - all these elements creates a constructive basis for balancing and negotiating a good process of collaboration.
In projects with a high level of communication and participation strategies, project costs can be saved - and maybe more importantly - the participants’ engagement with the project can decisively be increased.
How are you planning on bringing this to our clients?
Cities will become more attractive, if they increase their competitiveness considering factors like better mobility, healthy environment, digital networks and improved social and economic infrastructures in a collaboration process which is based on binding guidelines and trust.
By combining our many services, we can contribute to realizing resource-efficient societies with improved growth opportunities for businesses and better living conditions for people.
How do you define the higher purpose of what you do?
In my professional career, it has always been important to me to have an empathetic and appreciative communication as a basis for good collaboration. My focus lies on how to connect technical challenges in growing cities with inclusion needs in order to improve people’s quality of life. That’s the end goal for me.
At my desk I always have…?
… at the beginning of the day: nothing!
The desk must be completely empty in the morning so that I can freely develop my ideas. I start the day with nothing but my laptop, post its, moderation cards and thick pens on my desk. I like to visualize my current work results on a wall near by my desk.
At the end of my working day, the wall is full of varicoloured post its. However, the desk turns to be completely empty again. That’s how the day concludes positively.
If I had the skills, I would love to be…?
… a violoncellist!
I love the sound of this instrument, which is the bass member of the violin family. I admire the 12 Cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and I would love to travel around the world and perform on the highest imaginable level with them.
Facts about our recent joiner:
Yolanda Arias Jiménez
Yolanda joined Ramboll's Management Consulting department “Social and Economic Impact” in Berlin in September 2018 as a Senior Consultant.
Graduated as an engineer of urban and regional planning and pursued a career in Berlin's Neighbourhood Management Programme (the implementation of the National 'Social City' Initiative). After 12 years, she went on to lead public participation strategies at a landscape design and planning company prior to joining Ramboll Management Consulting.