Q&A Dec 19, 2022

Using Creativity, Inclusion to Enhance the Liveability of our Communities: A Q&A with Vibha Suri

Vibha talks about finding solutions to everyday challenges and how our Cities & Places team has embraced tomorrow by taking on breathtaking, futuristic and extremely challenging projects in the Middle East.

Vibha Suri headshot in Q&A banner

From a young age, Vibha Suri’s creative and innovative mind wanted to pursue a career in architecture. It’s a profession where creative thinking can influence the design of our cities and places and enhance the lives of the people in our communities. Providing this value to communities was her passion.

Vibha believes that through self-motivation and hard work you achieve your goals and dreams; along with a great mentor to continually guide and influence your career path.

Let’s get to know Vibha:

What are you most excited about your job in the Middle East?

I’m excited about finding solutions to everyday challenges, however small or large they may be. I bring a positive “can do” attitude which influences everything I do and spurs innovation.

I’ve also loved organically growing the team in Cities & Places here in the Middle East. We have such a diverse background of people — not just from different professions, but different countries, beliefs and experiences. It adds a buzz and dynamism to the office that’s truly exciting.

What’s one initiative you’re focused on right now?

Inclusivity. I believe that social value is a vital component to create inclusive, sustainable, more livable and integrated cities. In our report Rethinking Sustainable Cities, we highlight how the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a greater imperative to unify efforts and change our cities for the better, so they protect not only our planet, but people too.

We integrate social value and design by increasing global public spaces that encourage social and cultural interaction through the use of technology, infrastructure and aesthetically appealing architecture. These are key to the development of cities. However, our aim should be harnessing and humanizing the power of natural infrastructure and repurposing the existing urban infrastructure for multipurpose use. A major component of this is to make cities safer for women, children, senior citizens, minorities and people who are differently abled.

Our focus on social value is aligned with key global and national frameworks as well. Globally, it’s aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, which emphasize making cities inclusive, safe and resilient. Locally, we’re proud to be able to create more natural areas and reserves, and increase national housing and public spaces. These outcomes endorse the importance of social value to create inclusive, sustainable cities.


“Our focus on social value is to make cities inclusive, safe and resilient. Locally, we’re proud to be able to create more natural areas and reserves, and increase national housing and public spaces.”

Vibha Suri

Jacobs Head of Sector, Cities & Places, Middle East

How has your career progressed?

While I loved the positive influence good architecture has, I soon realized I have a talent for interpersonal skills. This encouraged me to make the transition into design and project management roles before naturally progressing into more strategic roles.

How is your team delivering for tomorrow?

The entire journey of Cities & Places has been about challenging today and reinventing tomorrow. Our Cities & Places team has embraced tomorrow by taking on breathtaking, futuristic and extremely challenging projects — we challenge today every day. To do this, we think of new ways to deliver projects. Whether it be digitization, automation, artificial intelligence or integrating these for a seamless and more efficient delivery.

What do you enjoy most about being part of #OurJacobs team?

At Jacobs we work very well as a unified team, which is amazing and exciting as it means that any challenge that may come up in a project can likely be solved by one of our subject matter experts in some part of the business, whether it be near or far.

When you’re not working, you can be found…

Outside of my professional working life I’m a single mother to two beautiful young adults who make me so proud and keep me busy. If I do find some spare time you’d probably find me curled up with a good book — mostly fiction, but I also enjoy autobiographies. 

People would be surprised to know that…

  • I’m a keen painter.
  • I’ve just started to learn how to play the piano.
  • I have a real travel bug. Sometimes I think I’ve taken on this role to keep my travel bug in check as I can’t travel as much as I’d like.
  • I would love to learn new forms of dance and wish time could permit me to take this further.

What’s your proudest moment?

While I’m lucky to have been part of a number of exciting projects and teams, the first project I undertook as project manager always stays with me as my proudest moment — it was one of the tallest buildings in the Jumeirah Lakes Tower area in Dubai. It still makes me smile each time I pass by it.

Another highlight was being part of the team working on the largest observation wheel in the world. It was one of the most challenging projects I led.

I faced multiple challenges initially in my career just to be accepted in the traditionally male-dominated construction industry. I was not only different for being a woman, but also an Asian woman. I’m immensely proud to now have a leadership role and be part of the changing perspectives in the industry.

About the interviewee

Vibha Suri is an architect by qualification with experience in the construction industry. She has focused her project and construction management career in the Middle East delivering large projects from tall buildings and master plans to hospitality projects and mixed used developments. More recently, she has been involved with work in the healthcare sector. Vibha is passionate about her work and thrives on complex built environment projects that allow her to grow the business while opening doors to strategic clients and grow a high performing team. Vibha aims to create an industry reputation for Jacobs as a “consultant of choice” for Cities & Places projects and weave Jacobs’ values into the fabric of everything her team creates and delivers.

Join #OurJacobs team

What drives you drives us as we work to build a better world – together. At Jacobs, every day is an opportunity to make the world better, more connected, more sustainable. We’re always looking for dynamic and engaged people to join our team. Bring your passion, your ingenuity and your vision.

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