The Community Builder
Hanna Afolabi is the founder and managing director of Mood and Space, a development company helping clients manage their development vision, strategy and process to create great urban neighbourhoods that deliver social impact.
Previously, she was at Balfour Beatty Investments as development director for East Wick + Sweetwater. In this role, Afolabi managed the feasibility, business planning, budget, design, programming and planning pathways of the mixed-use regeneration project, which includes more than 1,900 homes and 200K SF of nonresidential floorspace, and is part of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park legacy.
In all of her roles, she brings her skill set as an MRICS-qualified planning and development professional to help achieve the vision for a community-first neighbourhood.
Afolabi founded Black Women in Real Estate in 2019 with the mandate to provide a community in which Black women can effectively network, connect, empower each other and grow in their professional lives. Through her role on the Estate Gazette's D&I Content Advisory Panel she is actively working with the industry to include diversity and inclusion in the workforce.
In addition, she is the vice chair of the University of Greenwich's Construction, Property and Surveying Practices Industry Advisory Board. Previous to this, she sat on the board of E16 CLT, a community land trust in Newham, east London, helping make strategic decisions on the management of newly owned ex-council properties and the feasibility of future opportunities.
Outside of work, Afolabi enjoys trying new things and picking up new skills including pottery, knitting and boxing. She also loves a good book, travelling, great food, art and design, and enjoys live soulful music.
The Public Sector Pioneer
Amanprit Arnold is an experienced international urban strategist and real estate insight/research professional. She recently moved into the public sector through Public Practice — a social enterprise that finds, selects and places built environment professionals into local government place-shaping roles — to improve the quality, equality and sustainability of places.
She is currently a senior infrastructure policy officer at the Greater London Authority where she is proactively engaged in innovative energy infrastructure planning and delivery. She also leads on the Mayor’s London Infrastructure Group EDI programmes, passionately improving diversity and inclusion across the infrastructure, construction and built environment sector.
Previously a senior manager at ULI, she delivered independent strategic urban advice to governments, institutions and companies through an ambitious advisory programme. At RICS, she led global real estate conferences in Sydney and Toronto, bridging academics and practice.
Born Deaf, and discovering her strong Deaf identity in her teens, she is an advocate for accessible and inclusive design, inclusive recruitment, workplace accessibility, and educational and healthcare equity. Arnold is a trustee of SignHealth, a health and wellbeing charity that addresses health inequalities for Deaf people.
When not at work, Arnold enjoys spending time with her two young daughters and husband, exploring new recipes and cocktails, and hosting family, friends and neighbours.
The Multiverse Magician
Chotip Arora is one of the founding directors of Fossey Arora. Over the past two years, she has led her company through the challenges of the pandemic. She has delivered large-scale build-to-rent for Quintain Living as well as experiential educational establishments in London, despite lockdowns and supply chain disruption. Now she is taking on design in both the metaverse and the physical world.
During 2020 and 2021, Arora spearheaded creative design projects reflecting a wide range of styles and influences. Fossey Arora’s work included the completion of a design for the 150 character-packed apartments at Beton in Wembley Park. The firm also delivered a midcentury modern design at Madison; an urban-country concept for family living at the award-winning Canada Gardens’ 743 homes; and a design for the 458 apartments at The Robinson.
In Notting Hill, Fossey Arora has played an active role in taking pre-school imaginations to the next level. The firm created inventive designs at Grand West Pre-Prep and Kingsland Pre-Prep.
Next on the agenda are two further build-to-rent projects, a project in Lake Como and an estate in the Cotswolds.
Outside of work, Arora spends her time travelling and immersing herself in other cultures. She is also active in the virtual world, bringing interior design creativity to the metaverse as well as to the physical plane. She sits on the advisory board of Mesmerise, which develops technology in the virtual world and extended reality.
The Customer Curator
Lois Barton is the head of customer success at Edozo. Joining the team early in the business’s growth, she has spearheaded its customer-centric ethos, helping build a platform that delivers market-leading technology to the CRE industry.
She has put systems in place to ensure that customer feedback is analysed and responded to swiftly and thoroughly. Barton works closely with the product team to make sure product design and the development roadmap genuinely reflect the needs of CRE valuers, agents, lenders and investors.
Beginning her career at Rightmove, Barton quickly discovered her passion for customer experience. Having honed her skills in a variety of roles, she decided it was time to build a team and customer strategy her way, with Edozo giving her its trust and the platform to do so.
Alongside this, she is an advocate for those joining the workplace straight from school and is keen to encourage those from similar backgrounds to realise and discover their potential early on in their careers. Barton has mentored members of her team through apprenticeships and watches with pride as they flourish within their chosen roles.
Outside of work, other than running around, catering to every whim of an exuberant 6-year-old, she is besotted with her dog, Homer. Her furry partner in crime often joins her in the office to keep the team in check. She is an avid collector of trainers and a great lover of music with an impressive, yet self-described utterly useless knowledge of 1980s pop culture.
Britain's Busiest Landlord
As part of her role, Bayless is shaking up the idea of what a landlord should be. She could be described as one of the UK’s busiest landlords, currently leading the team that manages 3,651 homes at Wembley Park. The current portfolio is made up of nine different apartment buildings.
Bayless joined Quintain in July 2020, during the pandemic, moving from California straight into one of Quintain Living’s buildings where she still resides with her dog, Quinn.
Now able to explore the UK and Europe properly, Bayless is always to be found booking fun trips to castles, the countryside, beaches and flower shows. A keen Wimbledon fan, the past few weeks have been her favourite of the year so far. She attended the tournament and was shortlisted for Women in RE to top it off.
The Fresh Queen Of Clean Air
Francesca Brady is chief executive and co-founder of AirRated, the global benchmark for indoor air quality. Since formally launching at the start of 2020, the AirRated portfolio has amassed more than 10M SF of real estate across the UK and continental Europe.
Brady is dedicated to promoting and educating audiences from the property industry about the importance, benefits and management of good indoor air quality. Last year, she was honoured on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for her work with AirRated.
Outside of work, Brady likes to spend her time in the water, either swimming or going for a very cold (very quick) dip. As she had no pictures of herself swimming, or, at least, none that she wanted to share, she's shared her other love — walking up big hills in the soaking rain.
The Sustainability Accelerator
Lora Brill joined Orchard Street in the middle of the pandemic, hired into the newly created role of head of responsibility and ESG to turbocharge the business’s sustainability strategy and launch its net zero carbon pathway.
Under her leadership, the business was able to speedily announce its net-zero carbon targets in January 2021, making a public commitment to becoming a net-zero carbon business by 2050. Brill then oversaw the subsequent significant acceleration of the timeline and scope for these targets, enabling the business to launch an ambitious net-zero carbon pathway in September 2021.
The pathway prioritises the continuous improvement of standing assets through refurbishment, and targets Orchard Street becoming a net-zero carbon business for corporate and landlord emissions and refurbishments by 2030, an acceleration of 20 years. It also aims to become a net-zero carbon business for occupier emissions and fit-outs by 2040, 10 years earlier than originally planned and far ahead of the 2050 Paris Climate Agreement target much of its peer group has committed to.
Orchard Street’s sustainability strategy goes further than focusing just on carbon and energy reductions: Under Brill’s guidance, the business has prioritised the targeting of green certifications, the improvement of biodiversity across more than 40 properties in the last year, and the encouragement of low-carbon travel through the installation of cycle parking and e-vehicles across many of its assets.
Most recently, she contributed to a cross-industry collaborative submission to the Financial Conduct Authority. providing recommendations around the adoption of new real estate-tailored metrics for UK sustainability disclosure requirements.
Outside of the day job, Brill indulges her lifelong passion for walking, as well as enjoying creative cooking escapades with her 8-year-old son and exploring Cambridge’s incredible cycling routes.
The Climate Ambassaor
Tor Burrows has led Grosvenor’s sustainability and innovation team for more than two years. In that time she has created an industry-leading approach to carbon reduction, committed Grosvenor’s UK property business to becoming the industry’s first carbon neutral prop co and been appointed to spearhead a global approach to net zero for the company.
She was also one of four women selected as a UKGBC COP26 Climate Ambassador, encouraging companies to join Race to Zero and championing climate action sector-wide. She was honoured as Executive of the Year at the Business Green Leader Awards 2021.
Burrows also sits on the advisory board of Goldfinger, a social enterprise.
In her spare time, she loves playing and watching sport, particularly tennis, and having fun with her two nephews.
The Biodiverse Builder
Hattie Charlier-Poole is a development manager at Henley Investment Management and has a track record of working on large-scale regeneration projects across the country. Since joining Henley in 2020, she has worked across the business’s varied portfolio, with a particular focus on unlocking complex and underutilised sites for development through placemaking strategy and public realm provision.
Charlier-Poole is currently working on a feasibility study for a new urban centre in Salford, focused on connecting an isolated site to its context through public open space, pedestrian routes and an active ground-floor plane. She is passionate about ensuring new development drives value for the local community from the pre-planning phase to delivery, and her work sees her engage with a diverse range of consultants and stakeholders to ensure developments serve local need for the long term.
One of the key schemes Charlier-Poole has worked on over the last 12 months is Alkerden Market Centre, the heart of a new community at Ebbsfleet Garden City, where Henley is managing one of the UK’s largest residential schemes with planning permission for 6,250 new homes. She is responsible for the delivery of the infrastructure and commercial and community amenities, including four new primary schools.
Charlier-Poole has been instrumental in developing Henley’s ESG strategy, implementing a robust reporting framework that ensures the business holds itself accountable to achieving its ESG goals. The ESG strategy is built on a foundation of robust data, to ensure Henley can benchmark each year and deliver improvements across the portfolio.
She maintained this commitment to delivering vibrant and inclusive places while undergoing six months of treatment for breast cancer in 2021.
Discovering her chemotherapy drugs are derived from plants has reinforced the importance she places on biodiversity and delivering environmental improvements. Charlier-Poole has delivered talks over the last year to emphasise the importance of biodiversity net gain, its relationship with carbon and the importance of a resilient, biodiverse environment.
She is part of CREW UK and is joining the organisation’s committee, a decision she took after benefitting from CREW’s mentorship programme in recent years and wishing to help shape and support the careers other women in the sector.
Outside of work, Charlier-Poole enjoys living in central London and the many fitness, eating and social opportunities it provides, but on the weekends can often be found in the countryside with her dressage horses Raff and Barney.
The Co-Living Conquistador
Sarah Christie is the co-founder and CEO of Balance Out Living, an investor, developer and operator across the purpose-built rental space, specialising in London. This includes a 1,000-unit co-living pipeline in the capital.
Christie has been a force in the co-living sector since the mid-2010s when she was partner and development director at The Collective before moving onto WeWork’s living brand We Live, and finally Balance Out Living, which she runs alongside ex-Blackstone exec Zafar Bhunnoo.
An active force in the equality agenda, Christie’s commitment to change plays out in how she operates in the industry. She is dedicated to building and scaling real estate companies that principally increase the wellness of users and create positive social impact.
In her spare time, she enjoys watching sport and working out.
The Valuable Valuer
Sasha Covington joined the property sector young, at the age of 16, and now has more than 35 years of experience. She worked at property firms, including LSH, before joining JLL in 1998 as a team secretary in the valuation advisory team. She worked her way up to her current position of chief operating officer of UK valuation advisory, leading a department of more than 300 valuers and support staff.
Covington is leading the charge when it comes to creating awareness of the challenges faced by individuals from diverse backgrounds in the wider real estate industry. And she is taking action by implementing policies that ensure JLL hire and promote from a diverse range of backgrounds.
She founded the JLL Apprentice Scheme in 2016 and advocates for increased diversity in the property sector in print, at events and on podcasts. Her message is that ‘"if children who are in deprived situations could see what I and others have achieved, they too would realise that your whole life can change by being given a chance and made to feel like you belong’’. She is a mentor and adviser for the Social Mobility Foundation.
Covington has been shortlisted for Diversity Champion of the Year by Forward Ladies and forms part of CRECF’s DE&I steering group. She has been shortlisted for Burberry’s UK Diversity Champion of the Year award.
Covington’s childhood dream was to be a dancer. Whilst she didn’t have the opportunity to make that dream a reality back then, she has made up for it by pursuing a successful second career as a competitive Latin American dancer since her 30s.
The Construction Leader
At Pocket Living, Sarah Davies is responsible for the delivery of all development schemes for the housing developer and has successfully completed 20 projects during her tenure. In a very busy year for Pocket, Davies’ leadership on the construction side of the business has seen the completion of Pocket Living’s 1,000th home in the capital.
This year, she has taken overall responsibility for five sites in construction, with four more starting imminently, equating to 785 new homes. This comes during a challenging environment for the construction industry in which market forces are not conducive to contracting. But Davies has developed a series of innovative solutions to ensure Pocket homes are delivered to meet the housing needs of first-time buyers priced out of the London market.
Davies joined Pocket Living in November 2015 and specialises in residential refurbishment and development. In 2020, she was promoted to delivery director. With 15 years’ experience in the residential sector, her previous roles include project manager for Grainger and head of construction UK for Akelius Residential.
At Pocket, Davies is a keen advocate and facilitator of women in construction, having successfully recruited, trained and developed a number of team members. Pocket’s development team is now 50% female.
Outside of work, Davies enjoys cooking, photography and interior design. In the past, she has completed several ceramics courses. And, when the opportunity arises, she likes to ride horses as well as being a novice chicken keeper.
The Investment Innovator
Meenal Devani oversees new real estate investments as president and chief investment officer at Aprirose, and she is former head of UK real estate at KKR and head of investment at London and Regional.
She has repositioned the £1.2B family-run investment manager to focus on the industrial, residential, hospitality and alternative markets, acquiring 17 properties and disposing of five. Last year, the business drove attractive returns by selling several long-income assets, including Tesco Corby, Sainsbury’s Edinburgh and Sainsbury’s Ealing, while exiting Holborn Central to focus on higher-growth markets — all sold significantly above valuation.
Devani oversees a strong culture of empowerment, focusing on race and ethnicity and gender diversity. She also sits on the investment committee for St. Catherine’s College, Cambridge, with a significant focus on an ethical investment strategy.
The Founder Lender
She has an extensive background in real estate and corporate lending gained over her previous roles at Citi, HSBC and the Bank of New York. At Citi, Dupont was a lead on more than €2.5B of successful loan restructurings and worked on the distribution of more than €3B of CRE debt to a wide range of investors globally.
Her corporate experience was gained from credit roles in the telecoms and media team at HSBC and the Bank of New York.
Outside work, she enjoys spending time with her husband, her three boys and her dog, and she loves traveling and yoga.
The Hammer Of Homelessness
Home REIT is dedicated to fighting homelessness through funding the acquisition and creation of new, high-quality homeless accommodation whilst targeting inflation-protected income and capital returns. As partner and fund manager at Home REIT, Charlotte Fletcher has played a vital role in driving the company’s strong growth and expansion, which is helping provide a platform to alleviate homelessness across the UK.
Home REIT has rapidly built a portfolio of more than 1,500 homes providing over 8,000 beds. Having played a critical role in launching the fund and building Home REIT’s portfolio to a value of more than £700M in just 18 months, Fletcher’s role as fund manager and head of transactions includes pipeline assembly, negotiating, structuring and implementing property transactions, strategic decision-making, raising equity and debt finance, and board and investor reporting.
In May 2022, Fletcher, together with co-fund manager Gareth Jones, raised a further £263M through a significantly oversubscribed subsequent placing after assembling a £300M acquisition pipeline. Those funds will be deployed in short order, representing hundreds of new homes for some of the most vulnerable members of society.
Fletcher joined Alvarium in 2018 as head of transactions for a private social impact fund before heading up the transactions team for, and helping launch, Home REIT in 2020 and becoming fund manager in April 2022. Prior to joining Alvarium, she trained and practised as a solicitor at City law firm Travers Smith, where she advised developers, lenders and property funds on a range of commercial real estate matters, including commercial and residential development and forward funding, acquisitions and disposal, refinancing, and landlord and tenant work.
Outside of Home REIT, Fletcher seizes any opportunity to be outdoors and is a keen road cyclist. Highlights include ascending Mont Ventoux every summer, taking part in the Étape du Tour and tackling the Chiltern hills on weekends. She has had to tone down her outdoor pursuits recently while she awaits her first child to arrive later in the summer.
The Public Realm Pioneer
Sophie Goddard is director of sustainability for Canary Wharf Group. Sustainability has been front and centre for CWG’s buildings over the last 20 years, and Goddard is further pushing the agenda.
CWG does not concern itself only with buildings, but takes a holistic approach that also focuses on the public realm: The recently announced partnership with the Eden Project aims to create additional space that works for nature as well as people.
Goddard previously led sustainability across the UK for the regional and specialist businesses within Balfour Beatty, the UK’s largest contractor. She has also spent time in the retail industry where she led programmes to deliver sustainable outcomes in the Far East.
With more than 10 years of experience in a variety of roles and sectors, Goddard firmly believes the private sector has a key role to play in responding to the climate crisis in a way that creates healthy and prosperous places to work, live and thrive.
Chenai Gondo has established herself as a leading strategist within the commercial real estate sector. Her appointment in May 2022 to the newly created chief of staff role at tech company essensys followed more than four years at leading UK property and investment company British Land. Prior to that, she was a strategy and management consultant at McKinsey & Company, where she worked on a breadth of strategic studies, including due diligence on target acquisitions, global oncology strategy, talent strategy and go-to-market strategies.
With a strong background of building commercial models for new business opportunities, she has crafted corporate, sector and investment strategy, and was a member of the Technology Council, Sustainability Committee and the Task Force for Climate Related Financial Disclosure Committee.
She is known as a problem-solver, with skills in driving business insights using analytics and rigorous market research. Gondo is on the board of the UKProptech Association and has acted as a startup mentor via REACH UK. She was a member of the Technology and Innovation Working Group of the BPF.
At essensys she is responsible for the delivery of high-priority strategic initiatives relating to business growth, development and transformation, and is driving forward ESG and diversity and inclusion initiatives.
Gondo has successfully created environments where people can come to work and feel fully supported. A core part of how she helps businesses grow and transform is by fostering diverse and innovative workplaces. This has been achieved through her work as the chair of the Ethnic Diversity Committee at British Land and as the founder of BAME at BL, the first employee network for ethnic minorities. She advocated for the interests of ethnic minorities in board-level conversations and helped shape the D&I strategy.
At McKinsey, Gondo was the founder of the European Transgender Inclusion Working Group. Furthermore, she is passionate about economic empowerment and increasing awareness and representation of people from diverse backgrounds in business leadership roles. At McKinsey, she spearheaded and organised the first “Black Executive Masterclass'', a coaching workshop for black CEO-1 level executives based in Europe. She was a trustee for leading global charity in youth enterprise and employment, Y Care International, which supports the world's most disadvantaged young people into work and out of poverty by providing training, business skills and opportunities to deliver long-term impact.
Born and raised in Harare, Zimbabwe, Gondo has worked across three continents and speaks three languages: English, German and Shonda.
Outside of work Gondo is an avid reader, consuming 100-plus titles a year. She also spends her time undertaking an eclectic mix of hobbies, such as writing book reviews, vegetable gardening, enjoying the theatre, baking, hip-hop and queer and feminist theory.
After recognising the lack of diversity in the commercial property sector and how little her peers knew about the built environment, Sarah Hayford created The Land Collective in 2017 whilst studying international relations at the University of Nottingham. She left her role in retail surveying to focus her efforts on the platform full time.
Since its launch, Hayford and The Land Collective have won awards and recognition from the British Property Federation, The Planner and PropertyWeek and EG for their work on social impact and promoting the industry in a positive way.
The Land Collective is a youth-focused organisation that encourages engagement in the built environment sector through showcasing career opportunities, supporting the development of commercial awareness, and providing educational resources and employability programmes. To date, the organisation has launched essay writing competitions and virtual internship programmes, facilitated work experience placements, and helped businesses across the built environment to plan and launch their first early talent schemes.
The Land Collective recently launched its ESG Programme aimed at students from diverse backgrounds interested in learning more about ESG as a business practice, in collaboration with AECOM. Hayford also works with Roots Inspire, a learning and development platform for ethnic professionals that focuses on mentoring and professional development as a community manager.
When not working, Hayford enjoys great food and visiting new restaurants, bars and hotels. She loves spending time with her friends, a good party and live concerts. She is also working on achieving her WSET Level 3 Award in Wines.
The Green Agenda Setter
Julie Hirigoyen joined the UK Green Building Council as CEO in 2015, and has since been credited with transforming its strategy into a more member-focused, holistic sustainability agenda with a strong focus on impact measurement.
Hirigoyen and UKGBC have some important achievements to celebrate, including galvanising industry support for a net-zero carbon legislative target in 2019; leading industry consensus around definitions of net-zero carbon buildings and circular construction; and influencing government policy at both national and local levels on a range of impact areas, including net-zero carbon, biodiversity net gain, climate resilience, and waste and resources strategy.
Hirigoyen is a non-executive director of Wilmott Dixon Holdings Board and a trustee of the purpose-driven charity Blueprint for Better Business. A former Commissioner of the London Sustainable Development Commission, she also chairs the Igloo Footprint Advisory Board and sits on Grimshaw’s Stewardship Group. She is also a member of the government’s Net Zero Buildings Council. She is the recipient of UCEM’s 2021 Property Award and in December 2019 was named one of three best persons of the decade by Property Week.
In her spare time, Hirigoyen can be found running through the woods with her dog, bribing her two sons to step away from screens, gardening, cooking, reading and very occasionally picking up a paintbrush.
The Logistics Luminary
Adrienne Howells joined GLP in 2018 as development director and was promoted to senior development director in 2022. She has almost 15 years’ experience in the property sector, with deep experience in development, leasing and building delivery, and excels in focusing on the customer.
Prior to joining GLP, Howells spent 11 years at Lidl, most latterly as head of warehouse expansion and corporate acquisitions, where her primary responsibility was to acquire new distribution centre sites. Since joining GLP, Howells has been responsible for the acquisition and development of more than 2M SF of space, including some of GLP’s key flagship developments in the UK, and has played an integral part in building out the company’s UK portfolio. She was also instrumental in securing some of GLP’s key customers in the UK, including AO.com, Solidor and MH Star.
Howells has led on a number of diversity and inclusion initiatives for GLP, including the company’s current work creating a Europe-wide D&I strategy; its ESG strategy and how to incorporate D&I into its social impact efforts; and has been an active participant in the GLP mentoring scheme.
When not at work, Howells can usually be found somewhere in Europe combining her love of show jumping and warm weather. A keen equestrian from a young age, she has progressed to competitively jumping on the international circuit as well as being a fully qualified riding instructor. She also enjoys walking her dog and participating in charitable sporting events, including The Great North Run and Royal Parks half marathons.
The SFR Founder
Samantha Kempe is an award-winning entrepreneur with a 16-year career spanning analytics, portfolio management and investment strategies at the intersection of technology and real estate.
She co-founded IMMO Capital in 2017 alongside Hans-Christian Zappel and Avinav Nigam. She is the chief investment officer and has led on brokering partnerships with institutional investors looking to invest in the single-family-rental sector via IMMO’s unique platform. To date, IMMO has raised $2.5B of capital commitments from leading investors to secure its position as the largest residential investment platform in Europe.
Kempe has been instrumental in joining the dots between the company’s automated valuation model and talented personnel. Her strategic vision has also ensured that SFR investment better aligns with investors’ ESG goals as it significantly cuts the carbon emissions of its real estate portfolio. IMMO upcycles pre-existing housing stock, significantly reducing embodied carbon levels that are associated with building new homes.
Working with progressive organisations, such as RICS The Women of the Future Awards, and as a co-president to the Women in Business Club at London Business School, Kempe supports female voices within financial, real estate and technological sectors.
Outside of work she enjoys travelling and adventuring with her young family.
Audrey Klein co-founded and is a board director for Women in Real Estate, a networking and educational platform that has grown to 400 professional women in real estate.
Klein holds various non-executive board roles and is the chair of the ESG Committee for Planet Smart City and SFO Capital, and is a senior adviser to McKinsey in real estate. She also recently completed the Cambridge University qualification in ESG/sustainability in real estate.
She has been an adviser to two funds on their ESG strategy and has helped both set them up. Klein has held various head of fundraising roles, but she is best known for starting the London-based European business for the Park Hill Real Estate Group, a division of Blackstone, which she ran for nine years.
She has been on the corporate board of Great Ormond Street Hospital for 12 years and sits on the board of The Academy of Real Assets, on the future of financing committee at GRI, and on the ULI technology and sustainability committees.
Prior to joining Park Hill, Klein ran her own business for five years marketing alternative asset funds across all asset classes, including private equity, real estate and hedge funds to European investors composed of pension funds, banks, family offices and high net worth individuals.
Klein enjoys skiing, tennis, golf and flyfishing. She has travelled the world looking for good rivers to fish and has visited to Iceland (yearly), Greenland, Norway, Scotland and Alaska. She also enjoys Mayfly fishing on the River Test.
The Legal Leader
Rakhee Kotecha is the head of legal disputes at Countryside Partnerships. She has more than 18 years of legal experience and commercial acumen in supporting business delivery, and she works closely with the executive team at Countryside to review legal and regulatory risks.
Recently, she has been involved in complex material construction disputes and developer negotiations with the government on its approach to building safety. Kotecha has led the legal strategy on buildings safety and has influenced policy in the sector through her work.
Kotecha has proven expertise in all aspects of building safety, including under the Defective Premises Act, Building Safety Act and under contract law. She pioneered Countryside’s response to the new legislation, including coordinating work on the developer pledge.
In her previous role as head of legal for a large housing association, Kotecha set up and led a large team of housing and disrepair lawyers, and oversaw the team as they reached the finals of the national Housing Heroes award in 2017.
Kotecha is passionate about making a positive impact on the environment and in her spare time, enjoys trying out new vegan recipes, spending time outdoors growing organic fruit and veg in the garden and hiking with her family.
The Festival Flex Founder
A pioneer in the festival world, Katrina Larkin co-founded The Big Chill Festival in 1994, establishing leading lifestyle trends, brand partnerships and creative concepts. All this came whilst manufacturing an internationally recognised brand, launching and operating three award-winning bars and a record label, and attracting some 40,000 visitors annually — spawning an entire industry of similar events and boutique festivals across the UK.
Larkin sold The Big Chill festival to Cantaloupe Group in 2008, remaining as creative director until 2010. In that same year, she was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at The UK Festival Awards and organised The Haiti Benefit Gala in London, supporting ActionAid and Médecins Sans Frontières humanitarian aid efforts following the 2010 earthquake.
In March 2013, Larkin began working with Brockton Capital Fund II L.P. on the long-term curation, brand repositioning and redevelopment of Camden Lock Market. She successfully led all tenant negotiations and communications on the proposed planning application before joining Market Tech, the buyer of Camden Lock Market, in 2014, as commercial operations director.
In 2015, Larkin co-founded flexible office operator Fora with Enrico Sanna, opening its first workspace in Clerkenwell in 2017. Since then, the brand has grown to include 15 locations across London and Reading, with plans to expand into Oxford and Cambridge in the coming months. Larkin was instrumental in fine-tuning the Fora experience to create the flexible, consciously designed and sustainably minded workspaces that exist today. Earlier this year, Fora and The Office Group agreed a merger that will see the creation of a UK flex office business valued at £1.5B.
Outside of work, Larkin is an avid art fan, frequently immersed in culture and exploring new creative outlets. She also likes swimming in the sea, yoga and music gigs.
The Thought Changer
Rose Lewis is head of property management for APAM. During the last 12 months, she has taken on the challenge of growing the property management team across offices and improved the service lines offered to clients. This included motivating staff and helping them navigate out of lockdown measures while also recruiting additional staff and welcoming new team members — the company almost doubled in size during the same period.
The APAM team successfully won and onboarded large mandates throughout the pandemic. Lewis played an active role in a large pitch win and contributed to many others throughout the last year.
Having a passion for all things ESG, Lewis is an active member of APAM’s in-house ESG strategy team and featured in a company video on ESG matters, encouraging property professionals and investors to consider the impact of their actions on the environment. This video sits on the APAM company website. She also highlighted ESG awareness at a recent company town hall presentation, given to all employees.
Lewis is committed to bringing about change of thought within APAM and among other property professionals, who up until recently were mainly focussed on profit and returns.
Outside of work, Lewis enjoys pottering around the garden, meeting up with friends and family to enjoy great meals and travelling to new places.
The Regeneration Riser
Faith Locken is a chartered commercial surveyor and residential development and regeneration specialist. As development manager at Countryside Partnerships, Locken manages the delivery of a 1,000-plus residential unit regeneration scheme in north London, working in partnership with the local authority to upgrade the estate and deliver much-needed affordable and private housing.
In 2021, Locken founded We Rise In, a business initiative whose mission is to inspire, elevate and develop the careers of Black professionals whilst promoting inclusion, equity and diversity in corporate industries. We Rise In provides mentorship and leadership programmes that help mid-senior-level black professionals hone the tools and skill sets they need to aspire to achieve positions of seniority in their career. This in turn helps improve the retention rate of diverse talent within the industry.
We Rise In also works with corporations to address and improve the lack of diversity at senior levels via initiatives such as inclusion workshops and reverse mentoring programmes for corporate senior leadership teams. We Rise In’s clients include Montagu Evans, the real estate consultancy, and Derwent London, the commercial real estate developer.
In 2021 Locken won the ME100 Awards, securing £10K in grant funding for We Rise In, enabling her to kickstart the business. Since winning, she has grown the We Rise In network from zero to 1,000-plus members and affiliates, and she has successfully run mentorship and leadership programmes, events and corporate training workshops that are leaving a lasting positive impact on the real estate sector.
Throughout her career in real estate, Locken has shown dedication and commitment to improving diversity, equity and inclusion in the industry. She has received recognition for her efforts in this space, including making the Financial Times’ EMPower Ethnic Minority Future Leaders List, becoming a NED at a housing association and being invited by the Prime Minister to 10 Downing Street to celebrate her contributions to improving inclusion in corporate industries.
In her spare time, Locken enjoys dancing, especially traditional Ugandan dance, Kizomba, an Angolan dance, street dance, and general Latin and ballroom dances. She sings in her church choir and volunteers to support children's choirs. She also enjoys mentoring and speaking at events to motivate and inspire others.
The Fund Strategist
Nicole Mitchell’s career has been spent at the intersection of legal, strategic and operational considerations in the real estate funds market. She is currently head of real estate strategy and policy at Macfarlanes.
She has more than 15 years of experience developing real estate funds and structures, gained both from her experience as a solicitor in private practice and in legal and product development roles with a number of leading real estate investment managers. Those include PGIM Real Estate, Schroders REIM, Aviva Investors and Nuveen Real Estate, where she was co-head of the European product and solutions team.
In her present role at Macfarlanes, Mitchell supports the commercial real estate team in strategy and policy through horizon scanning, developing thought leadership, and fostering and building key client relationships.
In her spare time, she enjoys interior and garden design. She is presently renovating a grade II-listed property in Wiltshire.
The Community Champion
Olaide Oboh is a director at Socius, one of the UK’s specialists in town and city centre regeneration.
Socius was spun out of First Base in December 2021 and is bringing forward its £1B pipeline of projects in Milton Keynes, Cambridge, Brighton and Bristol whilst expanding its pipeline across the south of England.
Oboh, who previously worked for Hackney Council, has more than 15 years’ experience in development and community and stakeholder engagement.
She is passionate about "people-first development", and as director for Partnerships, played a vital role in shaping Socius’ projects to ensure they meet local need and deliver socioeconomic benefits throughout their life cycle. Over the past two years, her work with local communities has been vital in Socius securing planning consent for its £175M regeneration of the Soapworks site in Bristol and for MK Gateway, the repurposing of an office building in Milton Keynes and a cutting-edge live-work destination.
Oboh is also leading Socius’ application for B Corp status and serves as a mentor to people from Black and ethnic minorities pursuing a career in real estate.
She loves theatre, art and live music, and particularly enjoys culture that reminds her of her background — Africa. As such, you will find her this summer exploring Africa Fashion at the V&A, visiting the Black Chapel at the Serpentine Gallery and getting into music festivals with lots of Afrobeat on the list.
The Residential Revolutionary
Bella Peacock is a key member of Greystar’s European leadership team and ultimately responsible for the stewardship of its growing European residential portfolio as managing director–Investment Management & Operations. Her purview currently comprises over 34,000 operational owned and managed beds/units across seven markets equating to £6.1B of equity under management.
Peacock manages one of the largest teams in Greystar, which is an essential component of the company’s vertically integrated platform in Europe. She oversees a diverse range of disciplines, from asset management and operations to marketing, branding and insights, and health and safety, with the full team composed of more than 500 employees.
Peacock was one of the first employees to join Greystar’s new European business in 2013 and played an integral role in establishing the UK and, latterly, the European business. She was initially tasked with setting up the asset management function, but her role quickly expanded to incorporate capital projects and marketing, and then operations. Peacock helped redefine the approach to residential operations by driving an ownership mentality at the asset level, bringing together the various asset disciplines and instituting dynamic pricing to drive value.
Outside of work, Peacock enjoys family time with her 2-year-old daughter as they get settled into countryside life after moving out of London during the pandemic. At some point, she is looking forward to getting back on her bike and back to the slopes, but for now, it is baby dancing, going to feed the ducks and home renovations.
The SFR Savant
Katy Ramsey is senior legal counsel at Sigma Capital, and has been instrumental in growing one of the largest build-to-rent portfolios in the UK within a company that pioneered the now increasingly popular suburban single-family-rental housing. Sigma, through the PRS REIT and its development partners, has now delivered more than 10,000 units to the UK marketplace, having recently moved into Scotland as well.
Ramsey leads on all acquisitions, being dual qualified in both Scottish and English law, and has done so for a number of years single-handedly, only recently being supported by a new recruit in September 2021. She has also been heavily involved in securing funding for sites in the portfolio, both completed and still being developed, from institutional lenders such as Barclays, Lloyds and NatWest.
She provides a hugely important role of interface between the development team at Sigma and external legal advisers, and has in-depth knowledge not only of the legal issues facing properties, but also of practical and commercial development issues, too.
Ramsey is a prime example of a woman in the property industry who goes about her business in an ultra-professional and effective way, but, as a result, her accomplishments and innovative approach have remained under the radar.
Outside of work, she enjoys running, Pilates, reading and spending time with her husband and two children in the South Downs.
The Kick-Ass Climate Campaigner
As CEO of the Better Buildings Partnership, Sarah Ratcliffe has been responsible for positioning the not-for-profit business as a leadership organisation within the commercial real estate sector, championing an ambitious and pragmatic approach to sustainability.
In this role, working collaboratively with the BBP's members, Ratcliffe has led a number of groundbreaking initiatives including the BBP Climate Commitment, with 33 signatories covering more than £400B AUM; the BBP ESG training programme responsible for upskilling more than 600 industry professionals in its first year; and NABERSUK, a rating scheme for disclosing energy performance in use for commercial offices.
Ratcliffe has more than 20 years' experience working with board and senior management across the commercial real estate sector, first as a co-founder and director of the consultancy Upstream, and then as a European director at JLL, where she headed up the firm’s sustainability consultancy services.
Ratcliffe serves on the IPF ESG committee and the Green Property Alliance, and is also a director of the Sustainable Development Foundation, a thinktank focused on exemplary sustainability practices in the built environment that has helped create a number of leading nonprofit organisations.
Outside work, Ratcliffe loves to spend time with her three children, take long walks, play tennis, garden and look after a growing menagerie of cats and ducks.
The Economic Influencer
Sabina Reeves’ influence in the sector has grown exponentially over her more than 20 years in economics and real estate research. As chief economist and head of Insights & Intelligence for CBRE Investment Management, she is responsible for the firm’s 30-member real assets research team and has a specific role in selecting the economic scenarios and macro risk assessments that power the firm’s proprietary real assets forecasts. In addition, Reeves has executive responsibility for the firm’s 20-member analytics and risk measurement team.
Reeves is excited by the enormous pace of technological change in real assets research, providing unprecedented access to new datasets and insights. She believes curiosity, ingenuity and creativity are vital to data analysis, and enjoys working in a field that can have a tangible, positive impact on the built environment and the communities where people live and work.
In her free time, Reeves is a test match cricket obsessive, often flying around the world to watch England lose catastrophically. She is also a passionate cineaste and a regular fixture at the BFI London Film Festival. Other than that, she reads a bit, podcasts a bit and recently dropped the inherited disability of being a Spurs fan to become a Gooner alongside her husband. Reeves also teaches at the University of Oxford and serves as council member of Marlborough College.
The Healthcare Hero
Sam Rowland has specialised in the healthcare and senior living sectors for 20 years, and she is now head of healthcare and senior living at BNP Paribas Real Estate. While this is a booming sector today and on course to be worth £55B by 2023, there are few operators who can be considered pioneers of this now rapidly growing market. Rowland is one of them.
She is an adviser to both private and institutional clients, and has worked closely with the likes of L&G, Abrdn, Aviva, Inspired Villages, Audley, Auriens, Investec, PegasusLife, Citi, Assura, BlackRock and Octopus Healthcare for a number of years. Her breadth of experience covers advisory and transactional together with valuation of healthcare property assets, including annual portfolio valuations.
The healthcare market represents the ultimate life cycle sector and the UK’s demographics will ensure it continues to attract significant investment from some of the leading names in the commercial real estate sector.
Her spare time is inevitably spent with equines, either riding her own, or judging and training. She has now retired from dressage stewarding after being fortunate enough to be part of London 2012, Europeans (Denmark) 2013 and World (France) 2014 as an FEI technical official in para dressage. On home turf, she is usually found in a similar role at both national and international competitions.
Non-equine-based activities include paddleboarding, abseiling, learning to sail and walking the dogs, Ronnie and Reggie.
The Multifamily MD
Based in London, she is responsible for overseeing the finance, tax, human resources, technology and corporate departments for both the multifamily and student platforms across the region. Russell works with her team to ensure effective local execution in each of Greystar’s seven European markets against the company’s global vision and framework.
Russell has gained extensive experience in both private and listed property companies in the U.S. and Europe. Prior to joining Greystar in 2016, she was group financial controller of listed REIT Primary Health Properties, where she oversaw the finance function for its £1.5B portfolio. She previously spent 10 years working in the real estate practice at PwC.
Russell is a mentor for CREW/LIRE and participates in various industry panels. Outside of work, her joy comes from spending time with her two young children, Chloe and Brody. She also loves playing sports and has recently taken up tennis. Although she claims to still be rusty, she enjoys the social aspect and the concentration that comes with keeping your eye on the ball.
The Business Builder
Candice Sammeroff has been leading business development for real estate finance advisory business BBS Capital since early 2019, bringing together interesting and definitive deals in the market at any given moment.
Stand-out deals Sammeroff has recently worked on include the completion of a complex short-term loan of £25M that was completed in just three weeks; a value-add regional office portfolio in excess of £75M; and a high-profile 380K SF London development project set to deliver a landmark sustainable office, commercial and community scheme.
After being accepted to the University of Glasgow at the age of 16, Sammeroff initially trained as a lawyer and practiced law within commercial real estate for 10 years. She was headhunted by Marsh, the world’s leading insurance broker, where she ran the real estate business development team, before being sought out to build a boutique real estate insurance business backed by M7 Real Estate. The resulting business was sold to Lockton after just two years.
In addition to her day job, Sammeroff is the co-chair of the PROPS, the real estate arm of children’s charity Variety, and has been instrumental in organising the annual fundraising awards lunch and breakfast, The most recent edition of the lunch in May 2022 saw her co-chair the event with the founder of the PROPS, Palace Capital’s Neil Sinclair. That event went on to raise £350K and counting.
Sammeroff may well be the only person in the entire industry to have graced the ballroom of Strictly Come Dancing. She was a professional dancer for many years and appeared on the popular programme as one of the extra professional dancers on the opening show of the 2016 series. Her signature dance moves include the pendulum and MJ swivel.
The Tech Transformer
Anika Scott brings more than 13 years of experience and an extensive network in her role as managing director, head of capital formation at A/O PropTech.
She leads all strategic issues and business development related to capital formation, and is in charge of establishing investor relations with some of the most respected and experienced investors globally.
Scott is passionate about capitalising and enabling a more forward-thinking and sustainable real estate ecosystem, and is focused on ensuring A/O is understood across the industry by investors, corporates, peers and entrepreneurs. She also advises and supports A/O portfolio companies on capital raising activities.
Before joining A/O, Scott was head of investor relations at Financial Services Capital and head of investor relations and ecosystem development for Europe at Anthemis.
She has held senior-level positions with YFM Equity Partners, where she was responsible for overseeing investor relations and fundraising, and with the Tilney Group, where she drove business development, sales and marketing of the firm’s investment management business. Scott started her career in investment banking at Goldman Sachs in London.
The Life Sciences Leader
Abby Shapiro leads Oxford Properties' European office, retail and life sciences businesses, which currently have about $5B (£3.2B) of assets under management. She is accountable for these segments’ strategies, capital deployment, strategic asset management, platform set-up, strategic stakeholder relationships and total returns.
Shapiro started at Oxford in 2011. Since joining, she has contributed to the formulation and execution of Oxford’s investment and asset management strategies across the UK, Paris and Berlin, including developing and maintaining strategic relationships to build Oxford’s profile within these markets. A rising star at Oxford, she was promoted to senior vice president and assumed her current role in 2021, taking a seat on Oxford’s European senior management team.
In line with the acceleration of its global life sciences strategy, Shapiro has spearheaded Oxford’s expansion into the sector in Europe, kickstarted with the acquisition of 310 Cambridge Science Park in May 2021 for £45M. More recently, alongside Reef, Oxford was selected by Guy’s & St Thomas’ Foundation to develop the Snowsfields Quarter site in central London, which will see Oxford and Reef invest approximately £350M to create a 300K SF life sciences hub.
In May, Oxford announced a long-term strategic partnership with Novaxia to invest in and develop much-needed new supply of life sciences real estate in France, targeting approximately €1B of investment over the next few years.
Shapiro has also been instrumental in championing Oxford’s ESG efforts, leading on the creation of decarbonisation plans for all European assets under management; ensuring ESG data sharing and monitoring is included across third-party agreements; and building the foundation for a data-enabled ESG approach.
She sits on the Women in Leadership Advisory Board of OMERS, Oxford’s parent group, which is an initiative to get more women into leadership roles throughout the organisation. She is a mentor with ReachOut, a charity that gives young people from economically disadvantaged communities weekly one-to-one support from a volunteer mentor. Shapiro is a member of Ladies in Real Estate, or LiRE, which aims to provide informal networking for women at all levels working across the sector. She is also on the board of the Westminster Property Association and takes on additional mentoring duties within Oxford and externally across the industry.
While she's been on hiatus during the last eight months owing to her pregnancy, she loves to run and hike, particularly as a way to explore new places, and was proud to complete the Paris marathon a few years back. She loves to travel and eat, and invests a lot of time researching and trying out new restaurants, coffee shops and bars. As a result, she has developed a reputation amongst her friends as a go-to person for F&B recommendations for various cities across the world.
She is currently getting ready for her life to be turned upside down once her firstborn arrives in a few weeks’ time.
The BTR Badass
Rebecca Taylor has been with real estate firm Long Harbour for seven years and is managing director of the UK Multi-Family/BTR business. Since joining, she has created one of the strongest and most dynamic teams investing in the UK BTR sector. The team has raised £1.4B in equity and deployed more than £850M.
Under her leadership, Long Harbour demonstrated resilience throughout the pandemic, overcoming challenges in the construction sector, maintaining performance of operational assets and maximising investment opportunities, strengthening assets under management by £500M.
The strength of the BTR proposition was clearly demonstrated in August 2021 with the raising of an additional £650M of equity to establish a new 20-year joint venture between Long Harbour, Public Sector Pension Investment Board and Cadillac Fairview, the real estate arm of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. The Long Harbour Multi-Family JV enables Taylor and her team to ramp up the delivery of quality assets, with operations delivering strong returns and an additional £1.5B to invest.
Having helped set up Long Harbour’s operational business Way of Life in 2016, Taylor worked with WoL to launch two assets in the summer of 2021: The Gessner in Tottenham and The Kell in Chatham.
Taylor is ensuring her division is contributing to Long Harbour’s strong focus on ESG, transitioning the BTR portfolio to achieve WELL certification and net-zero carbon within the next 24 months.
Taylor is a well-known commentator in property and a regular panellist. She was appointed as vice chair of the BPF BTR Committee in January, sits on the steering group for the UKAA Best Practice Guide, and is a member of the ULI UK Residential Council.
Outside of the office, Taylor enjoys travelling near, far and wide, anything musical and spending time with her young family.
The Knightsbridge Ninja
Sarah Waller heads the asset management team at Chelsfield and brings her experience of managing large complex mixed-use assets to the running of the 3.5-acre Knightsbridge Estate. Working with owners The Olayan Group, she has helped the estate evolve its offer across all sectors over the last decade and position it as a London destination to live, shop, eat and work.
Under Waller’s management, and working closely with Chelsfield’s development arm and the real estate team of the owners, one-third of the estate has recently been comprehensively redeveloped. The new development sits behind the retained period facades and delivers a large mixed-use building offering seven retail units, 67K SF of offices, 33 luxury apartments to rent and a rooftop restaurant. British luxury merchandiser Burberry was the first retailer to open in the development at 1 Sloane Street last year. More openings are due to follow shortly.
Prior to joining Chelsfield in 2012, Waller was with the German real estate group IVG and BNP Paribas Real Estate.
In her spare time, she enjoys cycling and travelling, as well as thinking about one day learning Spanish.
The Digital Disruptive Developer
Ella Walter-Pavlou is innovation manager at GPE, responsible for sourcing and implementing new technology across the business to address specific problem statements. Her work focuses on three key areas: building smart sustainable spaces; enabling a best-in-class customer digital experience; and looking ahead to future disrupters.
Walter-Pavlou has a collaborative approach to solving challenges in the industry with technology, especially sustainability-related projects requiring a transparent approach between property and technology companies. After moving to London from Hong Kong in 2021, she has enjoyed getting to know the proptech community in the UK, and regularly joins and speaks at industry events, especially on implementing technology in real estate.
She was previously in the new ventures team at Swire Properties in Hong Kong, working on tech implementation for office and hotel portfolios in Hong Kong and China.
Outside of work, Walter-Pavlou is a bit of a travel junkie. After spending eight years living in Asia, she now enjoys exploring the UK and Europe at the weekends. She also loves trying anything creative and spending as much time outdoors as possible.
The Flex Legal Eagle
Sarah Walters joined WeWork in 2017 as real estate counsel — she was one of four lawyers in EMEA (and the first female lawyer hired in the UK) — to help support business growth as the company expanded in the EMEA region.
As head of the UKI & Emerging Markets WeWork real estate legal team, Walters is responsible for driving global real estate initiatives and streamlining processes with stakeholders across the business.
Since joining WeWork, Walters has played an instrumental role in major deals in multiple markets and was a key player in the optimisation of WeWork’s real estate portfolio, which commenced in 2019. She is now focused on the company's UK, Ireland and Emerging Markets territories (which includes South Africa and the UAE) within WeWork's international region and leads on advising real estate deals.
Walters has completed more than 30 deals, equating to more than 2M SF, including WeWork Aviation House in London, WeWork Dublin Landings in Dublin and WeWork 50-60 Station Road in Cambridge.
Prior to WeWork, Walters joined BCLP (then BLP) in 2007, working on a wide range of commercial real estate transactions, specifically acquisitions and disposals of commercial property, leasing (acting for landlords and tenants), development and financing.
When not working, she enjoys travelling, reading, and enjoying the outdoors with her family and dog, Simba.