Introducing our New Team Member: Ara Shikhalislami

Introduction, background studies and experience

My name is Ara and I recently joined Carbon Architecture as a Business Development Executive. I am originally Kurdish; my parents fled the war in Iraq back in the 80’s, then I was born and raised in North-West London. I went on to study Mechanical Engineering at University of Warwick.

Unlike most of the team in Carbon Architecture, I have no professional experience within the energy or sustainability industries. What I do care about, however, is social impact and environmental causes. I also have a talent with people and a passion for sales, so what better way to do that than to join an energy consultancy who is helping companies become sustainable?

I have previously worked for tech start-ups, where I helped in the delivery of projects and growth of the business from as early as working out of the Founders’ kitchens. In my first two years of professional work, I helped raise funding from one of the largest technology companies in the world and I managed a multi-million-pound SaaS project that revolutionised how disabled passengers travel across the UK rail industry. I have also pitched in front of 1,000 people in China, presented to MPs and Ministers at Houses of Parliament, and been invited to speak on BBC Breakfast with Victoria Derbyshire.

What do you believe Carbon Architecture will offer?

I am excited by the opportunity to learn about what is an entirely new industry for me. After just two weeks at Carbon Architecture, I have already learned so much about the sustainability industry. I look forward to seeing my industry knowledge grow rapidly. The team have a huge amount of experience between them, so I will work closely with them all to develop my knowledge and career even further.

What do you hope you will be able to achieve in the next 3 years?

I joined Carbon Architecture with a vision to leave an impressive and successful business development record behind. I want to combine the skills and experience I have gained so far to demonstrate my ability of finding opportunities for growth. That being said, I will only consider myself as ‘successful’ if my efforts have made an impact on the companies that I work with. I want to ensure that I have enabled companies to realise the importance of their carbon footprint, as well as contributing to the collective fight against today’s climate crisis.

What are your hobbies?

I used to love playing football and tennis, but my main hobby now is playing polo. I joined the polo club at University of Warwick without ever sitting on a horse before. I then went on to become President of the club and was even chosen to represent England in a tournament where we beat Scotland and Ireland – all within 3 years of picking up the sport. I also enjoy travelling (sometimes by car) and making TikTok videos – my most recent TikTok has 30,000 views, which is one of my biggest achievements.