Tania Adir is co-founder and chief executive of Uncommon, an owner-operator of design-led and experience-focused flexible office spaces in London.
With £250M of backing from the Carlyle Group, Adir at the age of 28 has grown Uncommon to five locations across London with its most recent 140K SF acquisition of Templar House in High Holborn, which it purchased for £80M in September.
After qualifying as a solicitor with leading international law firm Allen & Overy, Adir turned her passion for real estate and design into developing award-winning residential schemes across London before founding Uncommon in 2015.
With a planned growth to 1M SF in London and soon to expand to the continent, Uncommon has focused on activity-based working and has established itself as a flexible office brand designed for productivity and wellbeing, helping its members to thrive.
May Al-Karooni is the founder of Globechain.com, a reuse marketplace that connects corporates to charities and small and midsized businesses to reuse and redistribute unneeded items, particularly construction and building fit-out materials, and generates social impact data for its members.
Globechain has gained huge momentum, growing to 10,000 members, securing contracts with some of the world’s largest brands as well as growing a large network of charities internationally. Globechain works within the retail, commercial and construction industry and in 2019 launched in Spain and UAE, joining forces with Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, the Ministry of Climate Change and the Ministry of Community Engagement. It is launching in New York City in January.
The company was named among the Forbes startups to watch in 2019 and Al-Karooni was named Barclays Regional Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2019.
Al-Karooni previously worked in the investment banking and asset management industry for 10 years, raising more than £120M in equity for venture capital, property and hedge funds. She set up Globechain in 2013 after seeing demand for a new online circular economy in the waste management industry after her own employer expressed a need to reuse items in a more collaborative way.
Beyond Globechain, scuba diving is her passion, as it brings another dimension to a holiday and is really therapeutic for her. She also loves hiking up mountains and climbing trees, and dinner with friends.
Lucy Arthur joined AshbyCapital when it was founded and has played a key role in its expansion. As head of asset marketing, she has been particularly involved in developing Ashby’s workplace offering through major schemes in Farringdon, Fitzrovia, Birmingham and Slough. This year she was heavily involved in the launch of One Bartholomew in the City, and the acquisitions of Charterhouse Place, The Kensington Building and Abbotsinch Retail Park.
Arthur’s efforts have enabled Ashby to bring wellness, community and service to traditional office buildings. At The Colmore Building in Birmingham, for example, she helped create a comprehensive amenity offering, with a gym, treatment rooms, a coffee house, a private general practitioner, a yoga studio and cycling facilities — the success of which was reflected when the building became fully let earlier this year.
Out of the office, Arthur can usually be found undertaking a sporting activity — she is a keen sailor, skier, runner and tennis player. In 2019, she competed in the MIPIM Tennis Classic, which she won the previous year with colleague Simon Osborne, and she has been instrumental in Ashby’s support of the tournament, which raised in excess of £50K for charity this year.
Tripty Arya is the founder of Travtus, a London-based artificial intelligence research and development company with a focus on automating multifamily residential management. She has evolved the Travtus brand from its roots as a general contractor into a global player transforming the property sector. The company focuses on machine learning and data-driven solutions for automating property operations.
It has offices in the UK, U.S. and Singapore. In 2019, Travtus deployed “ADAM,” its AI property manager, in New York with 11,000 units.
When not working, Arya likes to take walks in the park with her newborn daughter or paint.
Lisa Attenborough joined Knight Frank in 2017 to build and lead the debt advisory business, generating a new revenue stream by arranging finance for corporate clients looking to invest in real estate across the UK and Europe.
She started her career at Barclays Corporate and Investment Bank and subsequently spent more than 10 years originating and structuring development and investment transactions in the student accommodation and healthcare sectors. Attenborough then moved to CBRE’s debt and structured finance team as a director, where she was responsible for debt advisory mandates across specialist sectors.
This has been a big year for Attenborough and the Knight Frank debt advisory team as it has obtained terms for more than £3B worth of property transactions across the UK and Europe whilst building profile in the market and securing appointments with a number of leading investment managers and property funds.
Outside of the exciting world of real estate finance, Attenborough has completed six marathons including Edinburgh and Copenhagen, raising more than £20K for Headway, the brain injury association.
As chief executive of Brio Retirement, Jane Barker is one of the leading figures driving the strategic direction of Places for People’s retirement living proposition.
In a 20-year career as a specialist within the retirement living sector, Barker has played a leading role in the delivery of retirement housing and associated services including care, wellbeing, hospitality and assistive technology.
This has been a year of significant progress and success for Barker and Brio Retirement, including the delivery of Brio’s first rental proposition, Brio Button House, part of the larger New Mill Quarter development at Hackbridge, which opened in September. The development, which offers 80 one- and two-bedroom apartments over four floors, forms part of the growing community at New Mill Quarter that includes a total of 805 dwellings, a food store and six retail outlets, including a medical centre.
Other achievements in 2019 include the Brio Chapelton Retirement Community, which also opened in September. The community is composed of 94 contemporary cottages and apartments and includes facilities such as the homeowner’s club lounge, a hobby room, a fitness studio and landscaped outdoor spaces.
A third delivery is imminent.
She enjoys all types of music, theatre and dance but especially opera; playing the flute, singing and trying to play the piano. She is a keen traveller and foodie, a lover of all things urban, design, architecture, built environment and place. And she is just about to embark on a “busman’s holiday” of designing and building her own home.
Felicity Beasley joined Cain International from CBRE GI at the start of 2019 to build the firm’s client capital and investor relations team. She now leads a team of five, has established a research function and handled the company’s growing operational requirements as it spread its investment strategies in real estate debt, real estate equity and private equity into continental Europe for the first time.
Cain International has invested more than $5.6B since its inception in 2014, and the coming months are set to be busy for Beasley as the company’s growth continues.
Away from the office, Beasley can be found taking on some big sporting challenges, both on two wheels and two feet. Having conquered both the national and Yorkshire “Three Peaks” challenges, as well as scooping her first “Queen of the Mountain” cycling award in the last 12 months, she now has her sights on her first 100km ultra marathon event in May. Beasley has two young children who are quickly adjusting to spending life in the great outdoors.
Patricia Brown established Central in 2008 as her consultancy vehicle to promote and guide positive urban change, advising senior people in the public and private sectors on people-centred real estate development, regeneration and economic development. She is known for her ability to tie together the different elements and people that can shape successful places.
Throughout 2019 Brown has been developing a new initiative called London 3.0, which builds on her earlier work that helped lead to London’s urban renaissance. This is again bringing together the public and private sector to look afresh at London, drilling down into its multidimensional challenges to find innovative, entrepreneurial solutions to address them.
In the mid-1990s she worked alongside Honor Chapman in helping to establish London’s first inward investment body, promoting London as a premier business destination. She became CEO of the Central London Partnership in 1997, leading a cross-sector partnership and agenda set on maintaining the capital’s position as a global world city. At CLP, she led much of the early work to achieve its sustained success by ensuring it is a city people want to be in; a people-focused, liveable city with improved quality of life and built environment.
Brown loves mooching around places, especially as an “urban tourist,” in the UK and abroad. She seeks out art, design, architecture and craft, picking up the occasional piece for her various collections of art, ceramics and glass, maps and books. She spends silly amounts of time on a train to her home at Land’s End, Cornwall, where she swims and walks.
Emma Cariaga jointly leads the development of Canada Water, a 53-acre development project in Central London that received a resolution to grant planning permission from Southwark Council in September. That is no mean feat — it was one of the largest planning applications in London history. She also joined the executive committee of the UK’s third biggest REIT in 2019.
She joined British Land in 2014 from Landsec, where she delivered a number of Central London developments and oversaw its strategic land portfolio. Prior to this, she held development and land management roles at Barratt and Crest Nicholson.
Cariaga is also a board member of Pathways to Property. Outside of the day job, she spends her free time strength training and raising two kids, secretly hoping one of them might consider the built environment as a future career.
Jenny Casebourne is the Howard de Walden Estate’s first dedicated retail and leisure specialist, and as director is responsible for the leasing mix across more than £650M of assets.
A year into her career at Howard de Walden, she has been working to further enhance Marylebone Village as a leading London retail destination. This includes the activation of Marylebone Lane as a new semi-pedestrianised retail destination through wayfinding work leading from the new Bond Street/Crossrail exit into Marylebone High Street. New signings this year have included Luca Faloni, VIU eyewear and SoulCycle.
She has developed a pop-up strategy for the area to keep the retail offer fresh and exciting for visitors whilst testing the impact of new brands. Pop-ups this year have included Misha Nonoo, Vilshenko, The Hour, Stacy Chan, Ally Capellino and Chinti & Parker.
Her career began at boutique retail consultancy Green & Partners, moving to CBRE’s retail team before she joined JLL and rose through the ranks to director in the Central London retail and leisure team.
In her spare time, Casebourne enjoys skiing, travelling, yoga and spending time with her family. She is pregnant and due to give birth in early 2020.
Linda Chandler is a global smart cities advisor, working on a portfolio of projects across the areas of real estate, energy and mobility. She launched Hyperlocal Cities in late 2017 with the aim of making the impact of smart cities felt at a local level. As a relative real estate newbie she discovered the real estate agenda while working in Singapore on a number of smart building projects and was appointed to the RICS Asia Pacific World Regional Board.
Chandler’s recent focus in real estate has centred on two main areas: coworking on the high street and valuing the digital asset. Her passion for the coworking agenda goes back to 2012, where she co-authored a paper called Anywhere Working Cities. She is convinced the future of work is more distributed and has been working to influence local industrial strategy on a vision for smarter working that unlocks a diverse network of physical spaces, especially on the high street. Her work on the value of the digital asset and the idea of a real estate data exchange has moved from a RICS thought leadership blog to planning in conjunction with her associates at LIQUID REI. She is a co-lead for the Tech London Advocates PropTech working group.
Previously, Chandler was the Smart Cities Lead for Microsoft Services in the UK and APAC for 10 years. Prior to Microsoft, she was chief information officer for the London Development Agency, previously a functional body of the mayor of London. When not at work, Chandler can be found playing her violin, sailing in the Solent and, as the picture suggests, is known to be partial to afternoon tea with the family.
Laura Coleman has 17 years of real estate experience in a range of roles including acquisitions, asset and portfolio management, and investor relations. Coleman joined Benson Elliot in 2012 to oversee investor relations, and a recent highlight was her instrumental role in leading the fundraise of Benson Elliot Real Estate Partners V. The oversubscribed, €800M+ fundraise was done entirely in-house, with more than €750M of the capital being raised within the first six months.
Prior to joining Benson Elliot, Coleman spent seven years with O’Connor Capital in New York City where she was responsible for investments in the retail, office and residential sectors for two U.S. domestic opportunity funds of $1.1B. She previously spent time as a project manager for Sciame, a high-end construction management firm based in NYC.
Coleman is a native of Ireland. A former competitive athlete, she tries to find time to stay active, especially through running and yoga. Outside of work, most of her time is spent ferrying her three young children (9, 7 and 3) around to their various activities.
Melanie Collett is responsible for the European asset management team at Aviva Investors Real Assets, a sector-specific team of around 30 investment professionals.
This has been an extremely busy year, in which Collett has been promoted onto the real assets senior leadership team, rebuilt the asset management team processes and strategy, and overseen investment in core tech solutions and performance data across the portfolio.
Prior to joining Aviva Investors, Collett was head of asset management at Round Hill Capital, responsible for the establishment and ongoing management of a pan-European management platform backed by a number of American private equity partners.
Prior to Round Hill, Collett was head of European underwriting for GE Capital Real Estate, where she spent 13 years, with roles including head of debt restructuring and head of European debt asset management.
Collett commutes from the Highlands and spends the week in London. She has trained up and competed two horses in dressage and enjoys country pursuits.
Susan Cooney joined the residential team at M&G in 2017 and is responsible for the active asset management of the entire M&G UK Residential Property Fund including the mobilisation and stabilisation of completed developments. She oversees the property managers and performance of the assets and heads up the design of all future schemes. In 2019 alone, Cooney launched six new assets for the M&G Residential Fund, and brought on board Savills as the new property manager.
Cooney previously worked as head of brand at PLATFORM_, an investor and developer. During her tenure she helped launch the PLATFORM_ private rented sector oﬀering and was instrumental in securing a joint venture for the management of a private rented sector portfolio with Invesco Real Estate. Prior to joining the property industry, Cooney worked in the luxury fashion sector for brands including Marc Jacobs, Victoria’s Secret and Rag & Bone.
Jo Cowen is founder of an award-winning architectural practice, Jo Cowen Architects, as well as an equity introductory platform, Jo Cowen Capital.
The architecture practice has become expert in the BTR real estate arena as well as the PropTech space, with an in-depth knowledge of the digital workspace/commercial market.
Cowen co-founded her architecture and capital businesses, which has the ability to co-invest in projects, in 2012 and now manages a team of more than 40 architects and managers in her rapidly growing practice.
Outside of work, Cowen enjoys travelling as much as possible, though this isn’t always easy given her role of running a studio. However, she most enjoys relaxing at home with her children.
Fiona D’Silva joined Kennedy Wilson as managing director in 2012 and has been primarily responsible for running acquisitions for the European business. She started at Kennedy Wilson soon after its inception in Europe and helped build the European platform focusing on the UK, Ireland and Spain, with responsibility for acquisitions and financing. The firm has undertaken acquisitions in excess of $10B since 2011.
She helped set up Kennedy Wilson’s various European joint ventures, including in 2019 the €2B Kennedy Wilson-AXA IM Irish PRS joint venture.
She was part of Goldman Sachs’ structured finance and real estate financing business for 11 years, after which she was at Deutsche Bank for a year.
When not at work she loves spending time with the family, travelling with them or chasing after her 4-year-old on a bicycle. She enjoys working out, playing music and most of all reading, which she wishes she had a whole lot more time for. She also recently joined the board of trustees of CW +, the official charity of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.
Danielle Drummond-Brassington is a partner at CMS, where she heads up the real estate disputes team, one of the largest in the country. She has integrated three teams into one since the largest legal merger ever in 2017.
In 2019 Drummond-Brassington has led the team on a growth strategy, and there is no sign of it stopping going into 2020. She loves property — as the daughter of an architect she was brought up to appreciate buildings.
Bringing a dynamic and energetic outlook to her work and her team, Drummond-Brassington encourages and demonstrates a healthy work-life balance. She has two children and ensures her diary allows her to get back most nights to read bedtime stories — the one thing that keeps her grounded. Her other favourite pastime is cooking: She loves nothing more than having friends around to share a meal and laughter.
Carolyn Dwyer is one of the leading figures driving the positioning of the City of London. As chief officer of the 280 surveyors, planners, architects, urban designers and engineers in the City of London Corporation’s department of the built environment, Dwyer is spearheading the transformation of the City to continue to grow its appeal to global occupiers, developers and investors. She is a champion of apprentices, supporting the next generation of skilled professionals in the built environment.
The City team is using cutting-edge modelling techniques to understand capacity for future development and to model comfort factors including wind, sunlight daylight and air quality.
In other measures to build climate resilience, the City is undertaking an evidence-based audit of activities across London, measuring embedded carbon and waste, assessing flood risk and analysing green investment and finance strategies. To establish immediate action Dwyer launched the Plastic Free City Campaign and procured the first electric refuse fleet in the UK.
In the last 12 months her team have also led on technology, making the City of London 5G-ready, with the initiative spectacularly launched through a 5G music lesson that saw Jamie Cullum jamming live with young musicians across the UK.
Her team is also playing an important role in advising Central Government and other local authorities on lessons from the Grenfell Tower disaster, with its building control experts the best placed in the UK to give guidance on fire and structural safety in tall buildings.
Dwyer is a keen sailor, mainly off the Sussex coast.
Until 1979, Becky Fatemi lived in Iran, where members of her family worked for the Shah and the Pahlavi Royals. She fled the regime as a little girl with her mother and brother and settled in Putney.
Fatemi started her career interning for various celebrities, and working with illustrious names she learnt the importance of client service and consistent delivery. She took this ethos to Foxtons, where she became a sales director of the Mayfair office and within 12 years became the highest-banking negotiator for the company. Her sales record is unbeaten.
In 2011 she founded Rokstone, the only all-female estate agent in London. Rokstone head of sales Shana Edwards is the only black female estate agent working in central London’s super-prime sector and has been with Fatemi since the start. Rokstone has sold in excess of £1B worth of property in central London over 22 years and 2019, despite a backdrop of political uncertainty, has been a record revenue year. This year the company also forged a joint venture with a Paris agency and started to sell properties in Ibiza.
Aware of the lack of opportunity for teens in central London, Fatemi set up Shadow to Shine in 2017. Shadow to Shine places kids in a corporate environment, giving them confidence and experience in industry. Supporting businesses have included Galliard Homes, the Evening Standard, Converse and Disturbing London.
Cosmopolitan and passionate about everything she does, Fatemi is fluent in four languages and takes pride in her team breaking records and stereotypes.
Jessica Hardman is managing director and head of the UK group for real estate at fund manager DWS. She is head of the portfolio and asset management business run from the UK office, and is responsible for an international client base overseeing European and Global real estate portfolios from core to value-add strategies.
Hardman is a member of the European real estate leadership team, a voting member on the European investment committee and a board member for DWS Alternatives (Global) Ltd.
In 2019 Hardman has led her team to increase inflow and capital deployment to over €2B for the pan-European core fund, Global and European strategy separate accounts and local asset management business. These products have primarily acquired assets in growth sectors such as residential, logistics, student accommodation and emerging office districts within major cities.
She joined the company in 2004 and has overseen more than €9B of transactions since. She was previously head of UK transactions and managed the investment team which covered all real estate sectors, as well as building major separate account relationships with an Asian client base.
Outside work, Hardman would like to enjoy swimming, tennis and a good night out in London, but in reality she happily runs after her 5- and 2-year-old children.
Anna Clare Harper is a co-founder of Anglo Residential, a UK property fund with a mission to deliver strong returns to its investors whilst helping to resolve the shortage of well-managed, affordable housing across the North of England. In 2019, she developed the fund’s strategy and secured seed capital of £6M to build a target £100M+ portfolio delivering income and growth.
Harper also hosts The Return, which has become one of the highest-ranking podcasts in the property investment space on iTunes with more than 130,000 downloads. She has written a book on residential property investing in the current market which is due to be published in Q1.
Her experience includes working with private equity funds, high net worth investors and global financial services firms through her own businesses and as a strategy consultant at Deloitte. She studied a RICS-accredited property degree at Cambridge. Anglo recently received a Stevie Award for startup of the year.
She is a foodie, working through London's amazing restaurants, and loves running, cycling and reading. She has a vision beyond profit to use investing to help 1 million people in line with the U.N. sustainable development goal of reduced inequality. As part of that, this year she signed up to the B1G1 programme and has had about 20,000 impacts in developing countries through that so far.
As part of the original management team of APAM, Sinead Kenny has overseen the growth of the company to a multi-service asset manager with more than £1.5B of assets under management, and leads the day-to-day running of the business and delivery of corporate, portfolio, asset and property management services for pension funds, private equity funds, financial institutions, wealthy individuals and family offices.
She has worked to implement technical solutions across the business using data-driven insights to inform decision-making and automate real-time reporting. She is a member of the firm’s investment and sales committee and leads the firm’s steering committee. In March she joined the board as a director.
Over the course of 2019 Kenny championed two new business lines: debt advisory, connecting investors to more than 50 capital and hedging providers in the UK; and tenant advisory, helping UK retailers reduce their occupational liabilities.
Kenny joined APAM from the U.S. where she managed a multi-sector debt and equity portfolio totalling $500M in value for Hudson Realty Capital, a U.S. private equity fund.
When not rallying the team in London, Kenny challenges herself to hiking, cycling and sculpting masterpieces in the ceramics studio and champions many of APAM’s charitable giving initiatives, participating in the recent APAM trip to Zambia to support Conservation Lower Zambezi and leading the team for the Atlas Foundation 100-mile bike challenge.
Katrina Kostic Samen is the founder of London-based workplace consultancy and design studio KKS, which she built over a number of years before it was acquired by Savills in June. Kostic Samen now heads up workplace, strategy and design at the international real estate advisor and has already been instrumental in securing global business.
Kostic Samen has more than three decades of experience within commercial property, and was appointed BCO president in 2018. Her tenure saw some significant changes to the organisation, including an increase in female membership following a push on diversity and a focus on the next generation. Implementing mentoring programmes and encouraging young people to participate, she won the Inspirational Leader of the Year at the 2019 BCO NextGen Awards. This year Kostic Samen also picked up the Best Woman Commercial Interior Designer at the WICE Awards.
Outside of work she loves to spend time with her family, watching good cookery programmes even though she never gets time to cook, photography and travel. Although not strictly an interest, she also can’t live without Maltesers white truffle.
Félicie Krikler is an architect and director of Assael Architecture, and has been instrumental in the creative development of the practice. She is a strong believer that research is vital to innovation and growth and she has been at the forefront of a number of Assael's research initiatives, most recently designing for wellbeing and the social benefits of intergenerational housing. She was one of the experts on Lord Heseltine’s National Estate Regeneration Panel, bringing her knowledge of housing design to the table.
This year she has worked closely with the Royal Institute of British Architects and a group of practices to design and pilot a social value toolkit for architects to measure the impact of design on social value, which she believes is an essential part of the too often overlooked post-occupancy evaluation stage. Her main project achievement of 2019 is a commission to prepare a master plan for an important health charity organisation, which will deliver wellbeing at all scales of the proposals through a person-centred approach.
Originally from Paris, Krikler has lived in London for the past 20 years and finds it an incredible city to live in, work and raise her three boys. Her favourite handbag items are a watercolour sketchbook and pens, the best way to relax and actually see and remember places properly, she says. In 2020, she hopes to re-establish her local south London property network, which she set up a few years ago with her neighbour and friend Chris Langdon, the UK and Ireland development and investment director at Engie.
Alexandra Lanni is head of investments for CBRE Global Investors’ EMEA debt investments team, responsible for leading CBRE GI’s push into European real estate lending.
Lanni was instrumental in the sale of Laxfield Capital to CBRE GI in November, marking the highlight of her 13 years in commercial real estate.
She rose from an associate director to become a board member and shareholder at Laxfield Capital in four years, where she led the investment team and oversaw in excess of £2B of commercial real estate lending whilst maintaining Laxfield’s zero-loss track record. Lanni also played a pivotal role in the fundraising and launch of Laxfield’s £750M flagship fund Laxfield LLP.
Prior to her time at Laxfield, Lanni qualified as a chartered accountant and spent five years at Bank of Scotland, latterly working in European real estate and operational asset restructuring.
Outside of work she participates in horse and carriage driving (a mad one, she knows), is a keen Sheffield United fan and loves sausage dogs.
Katherine Laurenson is head of new product development, client solutions and legal at LGIM Real Assets. In this role she is responsible for advising the platform’s board of directors, fund managers and asset managers in property, and the debt specialists in the corporate, infrastructure and commercial real estate lending team.
Over the past 12 months, Laurenson and her team have focused on putting LGIM Real Assets in the best position to face the rapidly changing political and regulatory environment.
She has been instrumental in spearheading the complex structuring of a number of large real estate investments transacted by LGIM Real Assets. Of particular note was Legal & General’s flagship BTR deal, announced in May. This scheme will deliver 1,000 new homes for elective renters in Wandsworth across two adjacent commercial sites. It represents Legal & General’s largest BTR scheme to date with an anticipated gross development value of £500M.
As LGIM Real Assets strengthens its focus into ESG initiatives, Laurenson has also overseen a number of socially motivated deals such as its innovative partnership with Croydon Council. This is providing 167 homes for homeless families in Croydon, offering much-needed stability to local residents, many of whom have been living in emergency accommodation. Estimates have shown this could create around £20M worth of savings for Croydon Council.
Laurenson enjoys playing tennis at the weekends, going to art exhibitions and spending time with her two daughters. She is also a board member and trustee of the Woman’s Association of Networking and Development.
As commercial director of BizSpace, the UK’s largest flexible workspace provider, Emma Long has been instrumental in the company’s rapid expansion over the last 17 years, both as a listed company and under private equity ownership. She leads the culture and value within the company and rebranded it.
With responsibility for sales, communications and interior design strategies, Long has had a busy year. She oversaw the acquisition of 16 new sites and the launch of 18 new centres following significant refurbishments, brought coworking to a number of out-of-town regional locations and launched digital 3D Matterport site tours for potential customers.
Out of the office, Long can often be found competing in triathlons for cancer charities, due to her own experience of cancer over the last nine years; walking the dog near her Cheshire home; or enjoying good food and wine with family and friends.
After graduating from Cambridge University, Benedetta Maisano spent a year working at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, financing and advising small and midsized businesses in emerging economies. Looking to invest in new technologies in the sustainability sector, she joined the research team at Wheatsheaf, Grosvenor’s Agri/Food Tech fund. Once her research project drew to a close in February, she joined Concrete VC, a PropTech-focused investment platform working with real estate players to support innovators transforming the built environment.
At Concrete she is leading the effort to create a central hub for the PropTech industry, to try and further catalyse the sector. She has sat on various PropTech panels, including a roundtable with the Minister of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, and as a judge for a startup competition. She is hoping some of the deals where she carried out the due diligence will be joining Concrete’s portfolio of companies in the coming weeks.
She describes herself as a bit of a music nerd, and loves spending long evenings cooking. The sea is where she is happiest and triathlons, windsurfing and tennis are her outdoors top three.
Candice Matthews joined DTZ — which merged with Cushman & Wakefield in 2015 — as a graduate in 2006. She rapidly rose through the ranks to become head of residential in 2015, managing teams across the UK and Asia. In 2016 she became the firm’s youngest international partner and in 2019 she became the firm’s youngest member of the UK & Ireland Executive Committee, when she took on the role of UK chief operating officer.
In this role, Matthews has worked on a number of key projects this year including launching a new service line structure across the UK and rolling out an agile working pilot. In her chair of residential role, a major highlight was recruiting a new residential standing stock investment team to significantly bolster Cushman & Wakefield’s capabilities in this space, as well as making two senior hires to lead functions in residential development.
In 2017 Matthews established a charity partnership with Habitat for Humanity and a personal highlight of 2019 was leading a team of 19 volunteers from the residential agency community on a volunteering trip to Guatemala to build housing and install stoves and latrines for 16 families.
Samantha McClary has been a journalist for more than 20 years, the last 15 of which have been spent at EG, where she has worked her way up from reporter to editor, a post she took up in March.
McClary is passionate about the role of real estate in the world at large and at helping it to be seen as an attractive sector in which to work. Over the past few years she has played an active role in helping to promote diversity and inclusion in the industry.
She launched the REWIRE network in 2014 and this year launched the EG Future Female Leaders project, a project that brought together 12 women from across the built environment and put them through an intense, professional public speaking course, culminating in an event that saw them deliver 10-minute TEDx-style speeches (with no notes, no PowerPoints) in front of an audience of more than 400 property professionals. The programme, born out of frustration at the number of women not putting up their hands to speak, transformed into a movement that not only provided loud, intelligent and witty voices to industry, but created a club of women who now have the power to pay it forward and inspire a new generation of women (and men) in the built environment.
McClary’s interests outside of work are running up and down mountains, riding her bicycle and trying to climb, or as she puts it, generally being outside, playing and pretending she is not the wrong side of 40.
For many people, The Crown Estate is known as the owner of Regent Street and little else. However, the organisation holds a portfolio worth £2.5B across the UK, making it one of the largest owners of retail destinations, with 13 retail parks, three shopping centres and one leisure destination, as well as office and industrial assets. The strategic direction for this portfolio comes from Hannah Milne. As director of the regional portfolio, Milne has the challenge of ensuring The Crown Estate’s assets remain relevant and resilient in a rapidly changing world.
This year, under Milne’s leadership, work commenced on the next phase of development at Fosse Park. The destination, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2019, is one of the UK’s most successful shopping parks, attracting over 11 million shoppers each year. The £168M investment will deliver a 140K SF retail and dining extension to the centre.
Milne joined the Crown Estate in 2011, having previously spent five years as a partner in the Knight Frank Central London Capital markets team, and before that, 17 years at Weatherall, Green & Smith.
Milne, her husband and their dog combine weekday city life with weekends in the beautiful countryside of Northamptonshire (chosen not just for its proximity to the Crown Estate’s Rushden Lakes scheme). She is also an avid tennis player.
Professor Sadie Morgan is a founding director of RIBA Stirling Prize-winning practice dRMM Architects, alongside Alex de Rijke, Philip Marsh and Jonas Lencer.
Over a 25-year career, Morgan has played a key role in the advocacy of exemplary design and architecture, through her professional practice and advisory roles. Her achievements in 2019 include being appointed as an independent non-executive director of U+I to oversee delivery of its commitments to community engagement in public-private-partnership projects and being appointed as a member to the Homes England board, the UK government’s housing accelerator, which works to improve neighbourhoods and grow communities.
Morgan also founded the Quality of Life Foundation, a new independent body aimed at raising people’s quality of life and wellbeing through the improvement of the built environment; and was instrumental in setting up the National Infrastructure Commission’s design group which will place design at the heart of all new major infrastructure projects and ensure designers have a seat at the table at every step in a project’s life cycle.
Within her role as a design champion, Morgan occupies several other ongoing advisory positions, including chair of the Independent Design Panel at High Speed Two, commissioner for the National Infrastructure Commission, design advocate to the mayor of London and professor of professional practice at the University of Westminster.
This year, Morgan won the inaugural Female Architectural Leader of the Year award at the BD Architect of the Year ceremony, as well as the AJ100 Contribution to the Profession award, voted for by the members of the AJ100 list.
Charlotte Morphet is a chartered planner with 10 years of experience working across the private and public sector. She works in Waltham Forest Borough Council’s newly created economic growth and housing delivery directorate as a principal policy planner in the spatial planning team where she works on the borough’s new and ambitious Local Plan.
Morphet is best known for her advocacy work for greater diversity, equality and inclusion in the built environment and real estate sectors. In 2012, she co-founded Women in Planning and is now a national co-chair with Alison Mackay and Mary Fortune. Women in Planning is a network which champions for greater equality, inclusion and diversity within the planning profession. Over the course of 2018, Morphet led the network’s research into women working in leadership positions for which she was awarded the British Property Federation’s 2019 Tomorrow’s Leaders Award for Diversity and Inclusion and overall Rising Star Award.
Starting her professional life in the recession, when jobs were scarce, Morphet has dedicated much time to fostering networks for planners early in their careers. From 2013-2015 she was the Young Planners’ Trustee for the Royal Town Planning Institute and is now a trustee for the Planning Officers’ Society and chair of its early careers network NOVUS, and has recently joined the Academy of Urbanism’s Young Urbanists steering committee.
Karen Mosley became managing director of HLM Architects’ 185-strong practice two years ago after joining the practice as a 17-year-old in 1985 as part of the Government Youth Training Scheme. She worked her way to director via a number of roles including corporate administrator and company secretary before joining the board, becoming an equal shareholder after a management buy-out. She puts her early progression down to the support of a number of mentors at the practice over the years.
She is keen to provide a similarly nurturing environment at HLM, and also carries out a great deal of outreach work at schools; she believes “if you can see it, you can be it.” The practice was also part of the Trailblazer Group, which developed two architectural apprentice standards, and seeks to achieve gender balance from the most junior level upward to give the best prospect of more women advancing throughout the practice. The practice operates an HLM Academy to provide tailored training and career progression and has introduced the opportunity for nine-day fortnight agile working for all staff.
As a result of the progress made within HLM, 30% to 40% of architects are female and four out of five studios are led by women. Also, 25% of the operational board are female and 12 women have progressed internally into management positions in the last two years.
Ayesha Ofori is founder and chief executive of three real estate businesses: Axion Property Partners, PropElle Network and Black Property Network. In 2019, she was named one of Management Today's 35 Women Under 35, one of Business Leader's 30 most inspiring entrepreneurs and winner of the Women of the Future Award for Real Estate, Infrastructure and Construction.
An experienced real estate investment specialist and wealth manager, Ofori has previously held roles in Morgan Stanley's real estate investment team and at Goldman Sachs, where she was a private wealth advisor to ultra high net worth individuals, managing more than £500M of client assets. She was promoted to executive director and became one of the most senior black women in a client-facing role at the bank’s European hub.
Ofori continues to work with high net worth individuals seeking to invest in property, but she is also on a mission to empower historically underrepresented groups, by supporting them to achieve financial and lifestyle independence through property investment. In 2019, she launched PropElle Network and the Black Property Network, property communities that focus on women and minority groups, respectively, across the UK, democratising property investment and making it open, accessible and relevant to all. Both networks have seen membership grow significantly in a short amount of time, and Ofori intends to roll the networks out further in 2020.
As well as being a mother to a mischievous 2-year-old, Ofori enjoys public speaking about bridging the gap between women and financial savviness and female financial empowerment. She is also a mentor for the charity BelEve UK.
This year Kitty Patmore became chief financial officer at Harworth Group, a listed developer, investor and manager of land and property in the North of England and Midlands, transforming sites into sustainable new places where people want to live and work. That puts her among the small group of C-suite executives at listed UK real estate companies.
Prior to joining Harworth, Patmore was the director of finance and operations at Harwood Real Estate, which managed one of the largest private rented housing investment portfolios in the United Kingdom. She led the finance function, investor relations and capital markets.
Patmore started her career in banking at Barclays, specialising in structured real estate finance before moving into real estate mezzanine debt finance across the UK and Europe for the private debt fund DRC Capital.
Having been a director of the Investment Property Forum for the last six years, and a founding member of the Next Generation initiative, she now chairs the IPF Finance Group.
In her spare time, Patmore is vice chair of the Big Brum Theatre in Education Charity and enjoys horse riding, walking and skiing.
Kari Pitkin is Allianz Real Estate’s head of business development for Europe, and this year helped the company establish its first office in London, a market where it is establishing a foothold through significant debt and equity deals. She is responsible for driving origination and partner management for more complex cross-border equity deals in Europe. Pitkin has 20 years of investment banking experience in the EMEA region: She joined Allianz Real Estate from Bank of America Merrill Lynch where she held the position of head of EMEA Real Estate & Lodging.
Pitkin has a keen interest in music, and practises classical piano in her spare time. Her favorite pastime is watching live sport, most importantly rugby.
After a decade in real assets advisory, spanning transactions and fund formation worth more than £4B, Neha Puri chose to disrupt herself — and others — by becoming senior manager for disruption at PwC in mid-2019. In this role she applies her international deal experience to advise senior executives on future-proofing their business.
Her background in advising investors on developing practical investment strategies across a range of emerging technologies means she is well-placed to walk the fine line between hype and reality. Puri's sectoral experience spans electric vehicle charging infrastructure, low-carbon energy, life sciences and fintech, but she counts working on the first UK spaceport as a career highlight.
From attending her first climate protest to home-brewing beer and taking up virtual gaming, this has been a year of many firsts. Puri plans to be prime minister of India in her second or third career.
Uma Rajah is the chief executive and co-founder of CapitalRise, a finance platform that provides capital to property developers with projects in prime London and the prime home counties and provides investment opportunities for institutional and individual investors.
Rajah has more than a decade’s experience in fintech, having launched and developed more than eight consumer-facing digital lending products.
She has transformed CapitalRise, growing it from startup to scale up. In the last 12 months it has quadrupled its lending and seen huge demand from borrowers, having screened more than £3B of loan applications. CapitalRise has recently returned more than £17.5M to its investors, at an average interest rate of circa 10% a year with zero losses or defaults since inception.
Outside of work Rajah loves spending time with her two young children and finding creative ways to keep them busy and off their screens.
In 2004 Jane Riddiford co-founded Global Generation, an environmental education charity providing nature connection for people of all ages with a particular focus on creating the conditions to unlock imagination and intuition in children and young people so they can create a just and environmentally sustainable world. Riddiford and her colleagues have worked with local young people, businesses and families, using land-based activities and experiences to foster a sense of community in the middle of urban development schemes in London.
Flagship projects in 2019 have included a gantry garden in the middle of the 1 Triton Construction at Regent’s Place, in British Land’s Regent’s Place campus; and The Story Garden at the British Library in collaboration with the British Library, Stanhope and UAL/Central St Martins.
It also created the original Skip Garden on the King’s Cross Estate which moved three times, winning awards in each location.
In all of the above projects and many other smaller ones, young people, local residents and business occupiers are involved in co-creation of design, build and maintenance, so they are often referred to as “gardens of a thousand hands.” Approximately 70% of materials are donated and bring with them a plethora of stories and connections about where they come from.
Riddiford loves fungi and all other forms of natural nutrition. She looks forward to the winter thanks to outdoor cold water swimming in the Parliament Hill Lido followed by a sauna and if she is lucky a walk in the woods. Her two other favourite things are storytelling and community singing.
Sophie Ross is director of strategy and business transformation at Hammerson, with responsibility for the company’s long-term strategic vision, a role she took up this year, and in which she will play a key part in helping the company adapt to the challenges facing the retail sector. She works across the group to identify opportunities to improve and grow the business. At the end of 2019 Ross’ remit was expanded to include IT, and she was promoted to Hammerson’s group executive committee.
Ross joined Hammerson in 2013 as group head of multichannel, to enhance customer experience and engagement across the company’s retail portfolio.
She knows retail well. After completing her MBA in the U.S., she joined Home Depot’s leadership programme, where she was involved in the opening of the company’s Manhattan stores. On her return to the UK, she joined Home Retail Group, where she held various strategy, trading and multichannel roles.
Vicky Skinner is chief financial officer and board member at London-based student housing developer and operator Urbanest. She joined the company in 2016 from Urbanest’s investor M3 Evergreen, where she had worked between the real estate private equity investment and advisory teams since qualifying as a chartered accountant at EY in the real estate team.
This has been a significant year for the Cambridge neuroscience graduate. Urbanest marked its 10th anniversary with the opening of its seventh zone 1 operational building, the business’ first refurbishment project, and work began in earnest on-site at the eighth scheme, near Aldgate, which will bring Urbanest’s beds developed and under management to around 4,000.
Among Skinner’s focus areas, the optimal capitalisation of Urbanest’s business is central, and she works closely with a range of traditional and nontraditional real estate lenders to achieve this. She also wears a risk and compliance hat, and partners broadly with colleagues focusing on growth, the customer experience and preserving and enhancing the value of the estate and the team and culture.
Skinner feels very strongly about encouraging a diverse intake of talented individuals into Urbanest and the real estate sector more broadly and, since it was founded in 2011, she has served on the Investment Property Forum’s Next Generation committee. This included a spell as chairperson of the group, which provides a 400+ member network for the next generation of professionals working within the UK property investment industry.
When not at work, Skinner is a keen competitive sailor (bow is best …), cyclist and triathlete, including representing Great Britain at the Amateur World Championships in Albi, and conquering various Tour de France peaks on the bike. She has scaled Kilimanjaro with CBRE’s Chiara Zuccon, another talented female real estate professional, and is wedding planning with fellow sailor and BA captain Dave Robinson.
She firmly believes life begins at the edge of your comfort zone, and the motto “per ardua ad astra” (through adversity to the stars) resonates firmly with her.
Stephanie Stafford is the founder and director of SLS Consult, a multidisciplinary private-rented-sector consultancy specialising in land, operation, design and planning rooted in big data. Stafford worked for one of the UKs leading residential, commercial and mixed-use management consultancies and after growing her skill set decided to set up SLS Consult this year, which has provided a platform for her to bring her expertise to the industry.
Her interest in PRS stemmed from an exposure to mismanaged, underperforming and overpriced rental stock whilst studying for her bachelor's degree and master's of science degree, and fostered a desire for a better rental product. She wrote a paper on the viability of build to rent in the UK. Stafford has set her sights on driving sustainable standards of living which foster communities, encourage learning and increase efficiencies in BIM systems, while improving transparency for investors.
Stafford is a member of WiPT and promotes female celebration, gender, race and sexual equality, and is a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. She has always been cosmopolitan in her social life, a cross-sphere matchmaker and doer.
In her spare time Stafford organises an annual cross-industry ski trip for her peers and she is an avid cook in which she borrows elements of French, German and Japanese cuisines.
IPSX exchange head of market regulation Lisa Walker has been a key part of the executive management team since mid-2018 and was instrumental in obtaining FCA approval for IPSX as a Recognised Investment Exchange earlier this year, the first dedicated real estate exchange to do so.
Walker is an experienced financial services professional with a strong regulatory and compliance background in financial markets and banking. Prior to joining IPSX, she spent five years at ANZ Bank, both in the UK and New Zealand, latterly as head of compliance UK and Europe. Prior to that she spent seven years at the Financial Services Authority in a senior markets supervision role.
Walker came originally from the civil service where she worked at HM Treasury, Ministry of Justice and various NZ government departments and agencies, including the NZ Treasury.
She is a mother to two children for whom she is the extracurricular “chief commuting officer.” Her hobbies are triathlon, cycling, walking and swimming.
Bridget Wilkins is director of community engagement at Built-ID, which she joined this year to lead the team scaling the Give-My-View community consultation platform. That move saw her leave the world’s largest real estate services business to work for a PropTech company driven by purpose, not profit.
She has more than 10 years of international real estate experience, having worked at CBRE in the UK development team and Asia Pacific capital markets division advising on more than 4M SF of mixed-use accommodation.
Wilkins is a leader in the global PropTech sector and the wider real estate industry, through her previous role on the CBRE UK Innovation Board and as a founding member of the Urban Land Institute UK Tech Forum. She is also a passionate advocate for developing the next generation of real estate professionals across London, with a focus on skills evolution into the digital age, through her role as a steering member of the City Property Association Next Generation Committee and as a co-founder of the Peer 20 networking and social impact programme.
Her other interests and activities are weekly swimming in the Hampstead Heath pond, even in the winter; playing the sax, in which she is hoping to debut on stage in February; hanging out in her hood in Hackney, trying (and failing) to be cool; weekly volunteering with Hackney Women’s Shelter; dancing in the street (non-negotiable) every day; getting people together for a good time; and getting off the grid and travelling solo through Italy to improve pasta-making skills with an 80-year-old nonna. One of her proudest days was putting a group together and joining forces with the UK Green Building Council to take part in the recent Climate Change Action march.
As chief design officer, Sylvana Young is a build-to-rent design guru, turning Get Living’s operational experience into brilliant design across its 8,000-home portfolio. Young works collaboratively with the whole design team to ensure the Get Living experience, knowledge and brand values are immersed into all elements of the projects, from facade to landscape, from structure to IT.
Young’s design intelligence has been applied to a wide mix of development schemes and public realm projects spread geographically across the UK and at various stages of design and construction. She also leads on the procurement of furnishing for mobilisation of new sites and the long-term planned refresh programme of existing buildings.
Her involvement is evident in the 800+ new homes Get Living launched this summer: at Victory Plaza, further growing East Village; and at New Maker Yards, Manchester, Get Living’s first neighbourhood outside London, with improvements in areas such as storage and product differentiation.
Young has more than 20 years of residential property management experience. Prior to her role at Get Living, she was a founder of Young Group, providing strategic consulting advice to institutional investors and housing associations on their PRS activity, as well as being a director of Young London, a multi-award-winning letting agency.
Outside of work, Young is a regular at her local Park Run and spends her holidays travelling the world with her family.