The Manager's Manager
Cherine Aboulzelof is the head of Europe for Metropolitan Real Estate, the real estate multi-manager platform of Carlyle. She is a senior member of the investment team and sits on the global investment committee of Metropolitan.
In the two years since she joined, she participated in the largest ($2.4B) landmark secondaries transaction since 2015, completed a number of fund and direct co-investments, and expanded the reach of Metropolitan in Europe. She has extensive direct real estate experience, having been a fund manager herself operating in the European investment space since 2006.
Prior to joining Metropolitan, Aboulzelof was a partner and head of Europe at 90 North Real Estate Partners, and before that, director and head of European real estate at Arcapita, a global private equity firm, where she helped create and sell logistics giant P3.
Aboulzelof speaks five languages. Outside of work, she enjoys travelling (35 countries and counting), spending time with her two energetic boys ages 8 and 8, skiing or playing tennis and taking her beloved dog on long walks. She cherishes her summer breaks in Menorca and wine tasting with her husband.
Brookfield's Business Builder
Natalie Adomait is a vice president at Brookfield Asset Management, where she has a leading role in Brookfield Property’s portfolio management team in Europe, reporting directly to the head of Europe.
Adomait sits on the boards of CenterParcs, International Campus, Student Roost and SACO. As part of this role, she led Brookfield’s sale of Gazeley, managed CenterParcs’ capital refinancings and played a key role in building Student Roost, transforming a small portfolio of independent assets into the fourth-largest integrated student housing business in the UK.
Adomait relocated to London in 2014 as part of the investment team that established and built Brookfield’s renewable power business in Europe. Prior to this, she was part of Brookfield’s North American renewable power group, which she joined straight from university.
In her spare time, Adomait enjoys travelling to far-flung locations where she can be found hiking with wildlife.
The Shopping Centre Savant
Vasiliki Arvaniti is the director of asset portfolio at Capital & Regional, the UK-focused REIT with eight shopping centres under ownership. Part of the senior leadership team, she leads the asset management team and delivers the community shopping centre master plan strategy across the portfolio.
Each master plan focuses on remerchandising, operational standards and associated capital expenditure investment for each site, to ensure it is fully aligned to the company’s core focus of meeting local community needs in order to drive income growth.
Arvaniti has more than 15 years’ experience working for major property companies including Landsec, Hammerson and Lambert Smith Hampton. During her six years at Landsec, she created and implemented strategic plans for major assets such as Piccadilly Lights, 1 Sherwood St. and 123 Victoria St. At Hammerson, she managed several prime assets such as the Bullring in Birmingham, the Oracle in Reading and Highcross in Leicester.
Originally from Greece, Arvaniti moved to the UK in 2000 to qualify as a chartered surveyor but stayed on after falling in love with the dynamism of the UK property market. In her spare time, she enjoys travelling the world with her husband and 10-year-old son and keeping up a five-day-a-week exercise regime. Unsurprisingly for such a busy lady, her alarm clock often goes off at 5.30am, so that she can fit everything in.
The Borrower And Art Lover
Belinda Chain is partner and head of asset financing at Europa Capital, responsible for all borrowing activity and the hedging of all Europa’s investments. A key member of Europa’s senior management team, Chain has arranged and managed more than €5B of borrowings across 15 countries for the business.
Prior to joining Europa in 2006, Chain worked for 10 years in real estate investment banking at Deutsche Bank, Babcock & Brown and Schroders Property, in both the UK and Australia. She started her career as an accountant for Price Waterhouse.
She is an active member of Women on Boards in the UK and a Virgin Startups mentor.
Away from the office, Chain is a keen art lover and supporter, even braving the elements to be painted blue and participate in Spencer Tunick’s “Sea of Hull” human installation. She is also thoroughly enjoying being a London tourist all over again through the eyes of her 2-year-old daughter, Lily.
The Determined Developer
Alex Chitty is a development manager at Landsec and has been involved in some of its largest developments in London including Nova in Victoria and 21 Moorfields in the City.
As a graduate she was seconded to Landsec, where she discovered her love for the world of property development. After qualifying as a chartered surveyor, Chitty returned to Landsec permanently in 2014.
Chitty is the chair of the employee forum at Landsec, and is passionate about ensuring her colleagues’ voices are heard. She is involved in mentoring programmes and is proud to be at a company with so many talented role models.
She was the recipient of a We Are the City Rising Star Award in 2016 and a finalist in the Duke of Gloucester's Young Achievers Award in the same year.
The worst advice she has been given was in sixth form where she was told not to pursue a career in property.
Chitty recently took up weight training to boost her strength and determination. She also likes to be outdoors — recent adventures in New Zealand and overlanding in British Columbia have been particular highlights.
The Discreet Dealmaker
Kelly Cleveland is head of investment at British Land. She is never short of a deal; her team does £1B to £2B of transactions a year, buying, selling and creating joint ventures for London offices, all types of retail, sites including for mixed-use development, and most recently bidding on private rented sector assets.
Recent deals have included the sale of 5 Broadgate for £1B to CKAH, the Cheesegrater sale to CC Land for £1.15B, and the purchase of the Woolwich Estate for £103M. British Land has also been selling its single-let long-lease assets including superstores and department stores, which are are not strategic long-term holds; and buying assets adjacent to its campuses, which are going from strength to strength.
This is Cleveland’s third position at BL in completely different disciplines — the company encourages these moves to broaden experience. She spent time in strategy, helping to set the strategic direction for the company over the coming five to 10 years. Before that it was corporate finance doing structured deals and financing, including a 2011 $480M U.S. private placement.
Prior to British Land, Cleveland was at Grosvenor in corporate finance doing things like gearing, capital allocation and property derivative trades. Grosvenor was her first property position — before that she was at Burberry, preparing for its partial initial public offering.
She lives in Camberwell, which she loves, and said it is helpful that it is one of the least “property” places in London: She can run or walk to work taking calls and have no risk of anyone overhearing her talking about a deal (she is still discreet). She is from New Zealand and has spent 16 years in London (without losing the kiwi accent) so she tries to visit different places in Europe — albeit she did end up visiting Japan three years in a row because there is so much to see, do and eat there. Her house is full of her own paintings but she describes her artistic approach as more volume than quality.
The Big Data Big Hitter
Joyeeta Das is an entrepreneur who has built a career in the technology sector. Her early work was defined by progress in the engineering and program management ranks in Fortune Ten tech companies. She founded and exited two successful startups, one in the tech sector and one nonprofit.
Along with fellow Oxford graduate David Kell, in 2015 Das founded technology company Gyana AI. Gyana is a self-service data science platform that enables insights around locations and people, using big data and artificial intelligence technologies. The platform is designed to be used without any technical background, so that a client can access customer insights and advanced big data intelligence within seconds without any training.
Das is in the MIT 35 under 35 shortlist, is a TEDx speaker and is an ambassador for Innovate UK’s Women In Innovation programme. She volunteers with numerous charitable organisations and has been selected to be a diplomatic representative at UK-Brazil/Canada/USA trade delegations.
The Co-Living And Build-To-Rent Badass
Adina David is a vice president of co-living company The Collective's investment team, responsible for new acquisitions, investor relations, transaction management and growth strategies, leading the group's global expansion alongside Jill Ju with a focus on the UK and Ireland.
Previously she was on Greystar Europe’s investment team, focused on the acquisitions of new build-to-rent, student and alternative housing investment opportunities across London and the UK. The tallest modular building in the world, under development in East Croydon, is among her notable deals. She started her career in commercial real estate with Knight Frank in Bucharest, Romania, in 2010, setting up the group’s local investment sales team and working on office leasing transactions.
She is the founder and host of a monthly breakfast club, LiRE, for women in real estate in London. To continue promoting gender equality in the property industry, the organisation has created the 50/50 Dinner which seeks to bring men and women together in equal representation to celebrate each other’s contributions to the industry. The inaugural event is scheduled around International Women’s Day in March 2019 at City Hall, with proceeds to be donated in aid of the London Homeless Charities Group.
The Reigning Sovereign (Wealth Fund Investor)
Deepa Devani is a vice president at GIC Real Estate. Her current role includes investment management across various asset classes in the UK which involves sourcing potential investments and managing them through to exit.
She is responsible for managing GIC’s investment in Broadgate and her most significant recent deal has been the sale of 5 Broadgate to CKAH.
Over the years at GIC, Devani has worked on several asset classes including retail, office, student housing, mixed use and senior living across several Western European jurisdictions.
Prior to joining GIC in 2007, Devani worked at PwC where she trained as a chartered accountant.
Devani is a qualified yoga instructor and will find any opportunity she can to practise yoga and meditation, although her attempts to meditate on the tube always end up with her falling asleep.
The BTR Vanguard
Jennie Fojtik helped launch Quintain’s first residential lettings business, and became head of leasing when Quintain moved into the build-to-rent market in 2016 with the launch of its dedicated BTR brand Tipi.
As head of leasing, she has gained experience working across all aspects of the business but her current focus is on new business channels, partnerships and helping bring new developments to life.
Having always strived to improve the rental experience, Fojtik is passionate about the core of the Tipi offering: providing residents with their ideal home with effortless, quality living and exceptional customer service.
Among Fojtik's other passions are the sea, architecture, weightlifting, yoga and refurbishing her Edwardian flat, even if the latter means camping at a friend's house whilst the work is underway — it is a labour of love.
The Entrepreneur Extraordinaire
Rajdeep Gahir has spent her career at the intersection of real estate, consumer tech and financial market innovation across Europe and the U.S. Her drive and passion lies in tackling big problems, challenging root philosophies and helping dynamic companies grow and scale.
She is the co-founder and chief executive of Vivahouse, a co-living operator that uses rapid prefabrication systems to reduce the time and cost of construction by 50%. It will begin rolling out sites this year.
Alongside Vivahouse, Gahir founded CoCreations, a consultancy and venture builder focussed on the changing nature of the real estate industry. Over the last two years, CoCreations has led the rollout of an innovation hub for a top-tier investment bank, advised on the launch of new operating businesses for private equity firms and asset managers, and incubated its own disruptive work and live concepts. She also advises and sits on the board of Humble Works, which creates ergonomic study furniture, and charity Macintyre.
Gahir joined WeWork as an early employee and led the European rollout from 2014, playing a pivotal role in taking WeWork in London from inception to eight buildings, more than 6,000 members and a team of 40 people in just 18 months. She also built the brand in the Netherlands and oversaw the first site there.
Whilst at WeWork she was able to fit all her possessions into two suitcases and a handbag — the max airline carry on — a great way to learn about minimalism in life. She has visited more than 40 countries, often spontaneously.
Her first entrepreneurial real estate venture was at the age of 20 when she converted a one-bed flat into three rooms through building a temporary ceiling structure, enabling her to live on Fleet Street next to her university, the London School of Economics, for student rates. That set the scene for Vivahouse eight years later.
The Network Builder
As chief executive of the coworking hub Runway East and chair of the International Conclave of Entrepreneurs List, Natasha Guerra’s core interests lie in nurturing high-growth startups and building collaborative tech communities.
With more than 1,500 members and 140 companies spread across six locations in Bristol and London, members at Runway East include ClassPass, Monese and Streetbees, with a community that has raised more than £300M in funding to date.
The ICE List is a community of more than 300 entrepreneurs and investors, striving to improve the professional and personal life of members, as well as embolden the UK tech scene as a whole.
Guerra has contributed to the success of leading companies across Silicon Valley and London, as well as launching TaskFirm — providing on-demand, vetted freelancers to startups and entrepreneurs.
Guerra is a keen cook and avid traveler who enjoys exploring different cultures, meeting new people and trying new cuisines.
The Oxford Don
Leia de Guzman began her property career in Toronto in 2013 when she joined the investment and finance team of Oxford Properties, the real estate investment arm of Canadian pension fund OMERS. During this time, she executed C$1.8B of transactions across Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, and completed a six-month rotation with Oxford’s global finance and strategy team, where she assisted in the firm’s C$50B global strategy and capital deployment plan.
In 2016, de Guzman moved to London and joined Oxford’s European and Asia Pacific investments team, where as an investment associate she has executed C$8.4B of transactions across the UK, France and Germany and also worked on a transaction in Singapore. Transactions that have particularly challenged her and have been a highlight in her career include Oxford’s foray into Berlin with the acquisition of the Sony Center, the sale of the Cheesegrater tower in London, and follow-on opportunities associated with the newly formed Delancey Oxford Residential multifamily co-investment platform in the UK.
Outside of the office, de Guzman is involved with a committee planning the 50/50 Dinner, an event aimed at celebrating diversity, inclusivity and the progress made toward gender equality in the UK property industry, to be held in the days leading up to International Women’s Day in March. She also volunteers in a couple of wards of the UCL hospitals playing piano.
De Guzman loves traveling, hiking, yoga and scuba diving, having now done dives in Nicaragua, Thailand, Philippines and Bali. She was born in the Philippines and is grateful her family had the opportunity to emigrate to Canada.
The Luxury Retail Leader
Rebeca Guzman Vidal is the group head of retail at international investor and developer Chelsfield, where she works on retail strategy across a global portfolio that spans gateway cities including London, Paris, New York and Hong Kong.
Chelsfield is redeveloping 1 acre of the 3.5-acre, retail-focused Knightsbridge Estate in London. Guzman Vidal is heavily involved in bringing new retailers to the development and leveraging relationships that cross over into the Paris and New York portfolios.
In Paris, Guzman Vidal is working on projects on Avenue Montaigne that will significantly change the retail landscape of the Triangle d’Or. In 2019, she will be spending more time in New York working on the retail strategy for the redevelopment of 550 Madison Ave., a Philip Johnson-designed tower with a new garden in Midtown.
Prior to joining Chelsfield, Guzman Vidal worked at CBRE where she was part of the London retail advisory team working for some of London’s major landlords including Grosvenor, The Crown Estate, Cadogan Estate and Great Portland Estates. She specialised in luxury assets and worked on a number of high-profile placemaking schemes including Regent Street, Sloane Street and Mount Street. She started her career in the Barcelona office and subsequently moved to London and later Hong Kong.
In her free time, Guzman Vidal enjoys travelling and is a real foodie, so will travel for food, a neat combination. She is an architecture geek and will often be found on weekend breaks getting lost in a new city admiring its architecture. She is also a gym enthusiast and can be seen at Barry’s Bootcamp or her favourite gym pretty much every day.
The Engineer Of Argent's Operations
Morwenna Hall is the chief operating officer of developer Argent Services. She joined the firm in 2011 and in addition to her corporate leadership role has led the design and delivery of several major projects at King’s Cross, including Coal Drops Yard, a new shopping and cultural destination for London with 60 retail units in the repurposed Victorian coal sheds. The scheme opened to the public in October.
A chartered mechanical engineer, Hall started her career at Arup as a mechanical building services engineer, where she gained seven years of experience working in building design teams. During this time she was the lead mechanical engineer for the Sainsbury Laboratory in Cambridge, designed by Stanton Williams architects, which in 2012 won the RIBA Stirling Prize.
Hall has a passion for all aspects of design and was one of the 27 women showcased in the 2014 Women Fashion Power exhibition at the Design Museum, alongside Princess Diana, Dame Vivienne Westwood and Dame Zaha Hadid.
The Woman You Call When You've Got A Special Situation
Victoria Hall is responsible for the special situations transactions team, which is part of AXA IM - Real Assets’ European transactions team. Her responsibilities include overseeing the sourcing, selection and execution of pan-European and other complex acquisitions. She is also involved in the structuring, sourcing and negotiating of debt financing.
Hall joined AXA IM - Real Assets in 2007 and during her time there has had a number of roles within the fund management team including as head of corporate finance in the UK.
She has worked on some of the firm’s biggest and most complex transactions including the acquisition of a €1B European logistics portfolio from Gramercy Property Europe and the acquisition of the 22 Bishopsgate office development, a 1.4M SF office development in the heart of London, due for completion in Q4. Hall worked on the creation of a 50:50 joint venture with Kennedy Wilson to invest in private rented sector developments and operating assets across Ireland, targeting Dublin and other large urban centres.
Your Woman With The Ear Of Government
Ghislaine Halpenny has been director of external affairs at the British Property Federation, the representative body for the commercial real estate sector, since 2015. She joined the BPF in 2009 as part of the policy team, and led the BPF’s work on planning and development, before starting the now well-established industrial committee and the regional programme.
As director of external affairs, Halpenny established the BPF’s partnership with the Department of International Trade at MIPIM, and the body’s extensive diversity and inclusion programme, including BPF Futures, a network of 1,100 junior professionals. She also leads the BPF’s work on reputation, and manages the strategic relationships with Government.
When not at work, Halpenny is a director of a small social enterprise, running music programmes in the community. She would like to spend more time playing proper music, rather than wrestling the 2-year-old away from the piano. She spends her spare time keeping said child out of mischief, travelling when possible, cooking, eating and wishing for more hours in the day.
The Sustainability Sage
Emily Hamilton is senior sustainability manager at Grosvenor Britain & Ireland, part of the Duke of Westminster’s property company.
She works with both internal and external stakeholders to influence staff, suppliers and customers to adopt sustainable practices across the company’s £5.2B property portfolio. Most recently she has worked with Grosvenor Britain & Ireland’s senior leadership team to develop a business-wide supply chain charter and ambitious time-bound goals to enable the company to respond to the climate crisis and the many environmental challenges facing the world.
Hamilton is a mentor with Heart of the City and an alumnus of the UK Green Building Council Future Leaders Programme. She sits on the steering group for the Wild West End and on the board of the Better Building Partnership, and is part of the UKGBC’s Future Leaders programme. She also recently took part in the Climate Leadership Programme led by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore.
Her interests include wildlife photography, swimming and hiking. She was lucky enough to combine all three with a trip to Antarctica in 2015.
The Ultimate Urbanist
An experienced urbanist and researcher, Kat Hanna has worked in London politics, planning and policy for the past seven years. Her research interests include urban economies, transport and the relationship between technology and the built environment.
As an associate director for urban change at Cushman & Wakefield, Hanna focuses on long-term, mixed-use development projects in London and trends in how we live, work and move around in cities. She regularly serves as a commentator on urban affairs. She previously worked at the Centre for London — the capital’s only dedicated think tank — the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and as a researcher in the office of a London MP.
Despite, or perhaps because of, this focus on all things London, Hanna loves travelling, and spent three weeks cycling across Thailand last year.
The Retail Revolutionary
Since joining Ellandi in October 2015, Isabelle Hease has risen from an analyst without prior property experience to head of research and analytics.
After a year in that job, she has not only overhauled the business’ approach to putting data at the heart of every decision and process, but initiated innovative research pieces and projects with a focus on analysing, understanding and forecasting the UK’s much-maligned retail sector.
Prior to joining Ellandi, Hease worked in investment banking for Barclays, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank.
Hease was part of the board of professionals who established the BPF Futures network in 2017; in her second year in the role of chair of learning and development she is passionate about helping to promote diversity, inclusivity and accessibility in real estate amongst young professionals.
As part of her role on the board she was invited, along with a number of other board members, to No. 10 Downing St. to advise the housing and planning advisor to the Prime Minister on initiatives both the Government and industry could implement in order to achieve diversity in planning and property, as well as accessing young talent in the industry.
Harri John is a consultant working within Cushman & Wakefield’s global occupier services EMEA business and co-founder of CREation Property Network, an organisation which runs free events for people starting out in the property industry.
John joined Cushman in 2016, initially supporting the award-winning healthcare advisory team before joining the strategic consulting team in GOS EMEA which helps international corporations align their real estate to their wider strategic business objectives. Since joining the team, John has worked across a wide variety of sectors and clients, including involvement in large-scale portfolio optimisation and strategic development projects.
Having herself come from a family with no property industry contacts, John recognised the challenges people can face entering the industry. She has championed her profession, speaking to school and university students about careers in property through the RICS Matrics school and university sub-committee, helping to increase the visibility, diversity and accessibility of the profession for young people.
John has won a string of awards and accolades, beginning with the Women in Property National Student Award in 2015, while studying BSc Real Estate Management at Oxford Brookes University. In 2018, she won the BCO NextGen Graduate of the Year award which recognises a graduate who has recently entered the commercial property industry and has made a significant contribution both within their own organisation and in the sector more widely.
In her spare time, John enjoys climbing and travelling — especially where she can combine the two with sun, sea and good food.
The Co-Living Conquerer
As investment director and group executive at The Collective, Jill Ju is responsible for the firm’s fund raising, acquisitions and strategic growth. The Collective has enjoyed fast growth since Ju joined the business 15 months ago: It now has offices in London, New York and Berlin, and the team has acquired a £2B global development portfolio, including a $450M co-living development in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The Collective also completed the refinancing of Old Oak, the world’s largest co-living building, with Deutsche Bank and Catalina.
Prior to joining The Collective, Ju worked for Greystar in the U.S. and UK on the formation of its student housing platform. She also worked for UBS in Asia on cross-border mergers and acquisitions.
Ju was listed by Forbes as a 30 Under 30 person to watch in European Finance in 2017. Other than property investment, she is passionate about writing and promoting understanding between different cultures.
Blackstone's Smooth Operator
Gemma Kataky joined Blackstone in 2015 and is a managing director in its European real estate asset management team, based in London. She oversees the day-to-day operations of more than €7B of complex portfolios in the mixed-use, flexible office and affordable housing spaces, most notably The Office Group, Sage Housing and Obligo. Over the last three years she has also transacted on €4B of asset and portfolio sales in the Nordics, Germany and UK.
Kataky started her career at Bank of America in the general European mergers and acquisitions team. She then went on to spend seven years at Carlyle focusing on UK real estate acquisitions.
When Kataky is not at work she enjoys spending time with her family, especially her energetic 2-year-old son, as well as playing the piano and violin in a local orchestra.
The Energy Explorer
Lois Kay is a development surveyor with Peel Environmental, part of Peel Land & Property, where she is part of the commercial and development team for the Protos development in Cheshire. The scheme is focussed on energy generation and energy-intensive industry in North West England, and Kay has helped consent and deliver more than £170M of investment in the first phase of the 130-acre site.
Having created a strong master plan for Protos, and with ambitions to further develop her role managing stakeholder relations, the marketing strategy and commercial delivery, she has some big plans for the years ahead.
Kay sits on the advisory board for BPF Futures, a networking and development group for junior professionals working in all areas of UK real estate, making sure the industry keeps in tune with new and emerging ideas and supports the development of junior professionals.
After teaching English overseas for a year, Kay started her career in property in the infrastructure team at the East London-based Olympic Park Legacy Co. — now the London Legacy Development Corp. — providing an opportunity to be involved in a transformational project on the world stage.
Kay is happiest when discovering new places and cultures — she is a true geographer; give her a map and she is off. These experiences help her to manage the balance of commercial, environmental and human elements of the projects in which she is involved.
The Magic Circle Legal Eagle
Angela Kearns is a partner in the London real estate practice at Clifford Chance. She advises a full range of market players on complex, high-value real estate developments and investments in the UK.
Kearns' recent high-profile deals include leading the £1.46B sale of Network Rail's arches portfolio, Canary Wharf Group's bid to be the master developer of Euston, Blackstone's acquisition of The Office Group, the acquisition of Strutt & Parker by BNP Paribas Real Estate and the acquisition and development of The Peninsula London for Hong Kong and Shanghai Hotels.
Kearns is part of a growing number of female partners at Clifford Chance. The firm has a publicly stated ambition to have at least 30% women in the partnership and since it introduced this ambition, the proportion of women in the partnership has increased to 18.1%. The firm has also recently launched Accelerate>>>, a global gender parity group to drive greater gender equality.
When not advising on big deals, Kearns runs, runs (even faster) after her two toddlers, tries to get back to her native New Zealand as often as possible and does her best to keep up her Japanese.
The Self-Styled Pocket Rocket
Natalie Lelliott is a director of the City leasing and occupier advisory team at Colliers International. She has risen from a graduate at CBRE to setting up a new City transactions team at Colliers International in just seven years.
She takes a forward-thinking approach, always pushing the boundaries in everything she does, but ultimately loves chasing down a deal. She has been described as “hungry like the wolf”. She encourages wellness at work, incorporating team challenges in her weekly schedule. Recent activities include jogging, Steptober, running up The Gherkin, yoga, Pilates and karate.
Outside work, you can often spot her carving up the slopes and enjoying some après ski in the winter or water-skiing in the summer months.
The YOOth Of Today
Rosanna Lawn’s life motto is “never do anything by half, always put in 100%”.
After graduating in real estate and achieving the highest grade in her year from University of Westminster in 2016, Lawn started working for Cushman & Wakefield as an assistant surveyor. After a year at Cushman, she decided to follow her dream of becoming an entrepreneur within the property industry. Since then, she has set up a number of successful businesses both in and out of the property sector.
YOO Living is a new venture by the branded residence specialist YOO Group, set up and managed by Lawn and her business partner. At YOO Living, she invests in and develops residential property in prime central London.
At the same time, Lawn and Harri John co-founded CREation, a national networking organisation providing free events and opportunities for those at the start of their career in property.
It doesn’t stop there for Lawn, as she also can’t sit still in her personal life. In her spare time, she volunteers regularly at KEEN, a charity determined to bring one-to-one fun to children with disabilities. She also co-founded Sanniaskia Sessions, a monthly vegan supper club in London that combines her passions for cooking and sustainable living. The club is aiming to raise awareness for veganism and conscious living whilst creating an environment for open-minded discussion. Lawn has started her training to be on the board of trustees for the East London branch of the RSPCA and will be managing event delivery and fundraising.
Emma Long is head of corporate strategy for Legal & General Real Assets, responsible for driving the growth ambitions of the business through strategy development and execution. This means identifying opportunities for organic and inorganic growth as well as working on wider group initiatives with strategic implications for Real Assets, such as L&G’s recent investment in WiredScore.
Long joined L&G in 2010 from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in New York and was previously responsible for capital raising across a range of L&G Real Assets’ investment solutions, including its flagship open-ended core and long-lease property funds, and more recently its UK Build-to-Rent Fund, securing more than £420M of equity since launch.
Since picking up a bicycle in 2016, Long has completed more than 3,400 km of riding through Europe and the UK with Club Peloton, raising money for the UK’s oldest children’s charity, Coram. Long has a passion for dance and the creative arts, though her own endeavours are yet to truly deliver the masterpiece she had envisaged.
The Hotel Head Honcho
Bumjoo Maclennan is a transactions director at Invesco Real Estate, the global real estate investment manager, specialising in hotel investments. Since joining the team in 2015, she has bought and sold more than €1.4B of hotels across Europe, including the 2017 acquisition of a portfolio of 13 hotels from affiliates of Apollo Global Management for €530M.
Her experience in the hospitality and real estate transaction industry includes a period with IHG working on the acquisition of Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants for $430M, and the sale and manage back of the InterContinental New York Barclay hotel for $300M to a Middle Eastern investor, with a strategic repositioning package plan of $175M.
Prior to her career at IHG, Maclennan had stints with the Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong and JLL in the U.S.
As an antidote to her busy work schedule, she loves to practice yoga, watch tennis and rugby, make shortbread for her friends and co-workers, and shake off her stress by enjoying live music from Metallica to opera.
The Alternative Investor
Sadie Malim sits on the operational board at private equity firm Moorfield and as head of special projects and legal is responsible for alternatives asset management, legal, compliance, corporate affairs and ESG. She has worked at the coalface of its alternative investments since joining 11 years ago, and her experience spans student accommodation, build to rent, pubs, youth hostels, senior living and equity release.
At Moorfield she has led the charge in shifting perceptions away from traditional real estate management norms toward creating customer-facing, tech-enabled real estate products with an emphasis on customer satisfaction and retention. She is passionate about social impact investment and is working closely with Landaid to create a new investment product to appeal to the sector’s corporate social responsibility agenda.
Prior to joining Moorfield, Malim was a private equity lawyer at Clifford Chance, where she advised international PE clients on management buyouts, auction sales and initial public offerings.
Malim lives in London and has two children and two dogs and in her spare time she enjoys politics, keeping fit, sunny holidays and Legos.
The Innovative Urbanist
Alexandra Notay is build-to-rent fund director at PfP Capital, the fund and asset management arm of Places for People, tasked with raising a £550M fund to deliver 3,000 BTR homes across the UK. She is also an internationally recognised voice on build to rent, placemaking and sustainable urban development, with 15 years strategic advisory experience to public and private sector clients across four continents.
Notay is a published author and editor of more than 30 books and reports on real estate, including the ULI UK Best Practice Guide on Build to Rent (2014, 2016).
With a reputation for being ‘abnormally energetic’, Notay is passionate about enabling tangible social impact, innovation, collaboration, and mentoring for greater diversity in the real estate industry. She is a member of the new LandAid SouthWest Board and a vice-chair of the ULI UK Residential Council.
Beyond BTR, Notay’s career highlights include leading an international masterplan review for the Mayor of Moscow, creating an affordable housing strategy for Nantucket island in Massachusetts and being part of an official UK delegation in Chengdu for the UK:China Dialogue on urban innovation.
Notay is a keen rugby fan and runner, usually after her active four-year-old, and as a former chorister has sung around the world as a member of the National Youth Choir of Great Britain and as manager of Chantage, a London-based choir and previous winner of BBC Choir of the Year.
The Advisor To The Resi And Mixed-Use Titans
Kemi Oguntoye is an award-winning residential and mixed-use management expert. She is a consultant at SAY Property Consulting, an independent advisory business providing management consultancy to landlords, investors and housing associations.
Drawing on her international, cross-sector experience gained in policymaking and finance, she operates best with complex, fast-moving developers. She has worked with a number of high-profile clients, who are delivering London’s leading new neighbourhoods, including Argent, Ballymore, Brookfield, Canary Wharf Group, the City of Westminster, Concord Pacific, Finchatton, Grainger, Great Portland Estates, London Newcastle, Oxford Property, Places for People, Telereal Trillium, Tesco, U+I and Westfield.
Oguntoye sits on the BPF’s Diversity and Inclusivity advisory board and is an avid reviewer for cancer support charity Macmillan.
The Fourth Industrial Revolutionary
Ilna Patel is senior portfolio manager in Nuveen's (previously TH Real Estate’s) European office team. Based out of its London office, she advises the business on its exposure to the office sector whilst devising and implementing asset and investment strategies.
Creating world-class working environments and responding to evolving consumer needs is central to her skill set, and examples of her work include 1 New Oxford St., The Steward Building, 40 Leadenhall and the acquisition and management of Devonshire Square in a unique operating structure with WeWork. Recently Patel has been active in the work being undertaken by Nuveen on the impact of fourth industrial revolution on its business model and the assets under its management.
Patel is passionate about increasing diversity and inclusion in the workplace, particularly at the decision-maker level. This includes gender diversity as well as an added focus on increasing the range of educational backgrounds, personalities and historical experiences of all those influencing material decisions, which she believes is particularly important as we move toward a consumer-controlled world.
Outside of work, Patel enjoys spending time with her family and friends, film and popular culture, travelling and painting. She has recently been commissioned to create art pieces for charity auctions and would like to focus on those for social justice causes.
Her favorite quote is: “We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back.” — Malala Yousafzai
The Transatlantic Multifamily Maestro
Tracy Peacock is director of build to rent at Native, the BTR and aparthotel brand. As a leading U.S. multifamily expert, she was brought to the UK by Native to establish the company as one of the pioneers of the UK’s BTR market.
Native is trying to transform the world of renting with a passion for design, vibrant community focus and outstanding customer service. Its BTR business comprises 1,500 apartments, either in operation or under construction, across the UK.
Peacock has more than 20 years’ experience in residential leasing, working at the forefront of the multifamily sector in Chicago in the U.S. She joined Native from Lennar Multi-Family Communities, where she spent three years bringing 2,100 units to the market, which included liaising with the development team and overseeing operations, budget forecasts, marketing and asset management.
Her expertise in property management has delivered top line returns for investors including Dorrington, Aviva, LaSalle, CBRE Global Investors, Woking Borough Council and Ares.
Outside of work, Peacock is an adventurous and active traveller, something which can be summed up by her recent trip running along the equator line in Ecuador.
The Tenant-Mix Innovator
Tracey Pollard is co-founder and managing director of leading niche retail firm Bruce Gillingham Pollard, and a leading authority in retail and leisure leasing across London.
Pollard specialises in the creation of bespoke tenant mixes and advises key landlords across London, including at St Christopher's Place, Canary Wharf across its entire portfolio, Grosvenor's London Estate, Landsec and Shaftesbury. She is passionate about the way consumer trends shape our society and influence the retail landscape. With 25 years' experience, she said she instinctively recognises how best to future-proof clients’ assets in an ever-changing market.
Pollard and her husband, James, have one daughter and an energetic 3-year-old English Pointer. Living in the heart of the Chilterns, she combats everyday stresses by long walks, cycling, yoga and renovating a 400-year-old village pub into their family home.
The London Leasing Leader
Emily Prideaux became head of leasing at Derwent London in April 2017, having joined the company in 2010. Her responsibilities include managing the leasing team, advising on and implementing leasing strategies across the portfolio, and managing transactions in respect of the company’s letting activity.
Significant transactions she has been involved in include the Publicis relocation from Charlotte Street to Turnmill, EC1 and 40 Chancery Lane, WC2; Capita’s pre-let of Berners Street, W1; and more recently the pre-let campaign at White Collar Factory, as well as current pre-lets at Brunel Building, Paddington.
In addition to this role, Prideaux is an active member of Derwent London’s executive committee, contributing to the group’s overall business strategies and playing a wider managerial role across the business.
Prideaux began her career at Knight Frank where she became a key member in the West End offices team. Following this, she was a director at CBRE in Vancouver, Canada.
Outside of the office, Prideaux enjoys time with her young family, and is a keen skier.
The Born-And-Bred Hotel Expert
Sheima Salloum is a director at Eastdil Secured, and heads the European hotel transactions team. She has more than 10 years of experience in the real estate and hospitality sector in both investment sales and corporate advisory services, and has sold more than $8B worth of real estate across Europe.
The career path was perhaps not surprising; Salloum was basically raised in hotels, with her family owning a hotel business since she was born.
Key deals she has led include the sale of the Principal Hotels real estate and operating platform to Covivio for $1.1B; the purchase of the HEBV portfolio for Blackstone, including the Sheraton Amsterdam Airport, Sheraton Frankfurt Airport and Sheraton Brussels Airport; and the sale of the Interhotels portfolio for around $1B on behalf of Starwood Capital and Brookfield. She is working on more than £1B of hotel real estate and M&A deals at the moment.
Prior to joining Eastdil in 2017, Salloum headed the German hotel real estate team at JLL and formed an integral part of the European capital markets team.
Her interests include skiing, hiking, ballet, and wining and dining. She speaks six languages: German, French, Arabic, English, Spanish and Italian.
She is a foodie and is a living and breathing guide to the best restaurants and bars in most European cities, and can sing along to every '90s hip-hop song in existence.
The Woman Using PropTech To Empower Communities
Savannah de Savary is the founder and chief executive of PropTech company Built-ID. Powered by the Built-ID platform, which showcases more than 30,000 projects and 180,000 project images, development teams and local authorities can utilise a series of visually engaging public consultation tools to connect with people that are disenfranchised from the planning process.
De Savary is passionate about enabling developers to invest in communities, not just their bricks and mortar. She has ensured that through the Built-ID platform, residents can influence the built environment projects that matter to them, and be rewarded for their engagement with donations to local charities within their community.
As a testament to her work, de Savary has won numerous awards and accolades including Young Personality of the Year at the 2018 Property Week Awards, and being named one of the Top 30 Female Entrepreneurs in the UK to Watch in 2018 by About Time.
Outside of work, de Savary is passionate about boxing, eating too much UberEats and smothering her dog with unwanted attention.
The Woman Defying The Headlines In Retail
Sophie Shannon is an associate director at retail specialist NewRiver, covering the asset management of eight shopping centres across Scotland, north-east England and Northern Ireland. Over the last year, occupancy levels across the northern portfolio have increased by more than 2%. The next year is also set to be a busy one, with a few development plans coming to fruition for the company.
Prior to joining NewRiver in 2015, Shannon qualified as a chartered surveyor in the professional team at Ryden in Edinburgh, after completing her master's degree in the evening.
In her spare time, Shannon likes to keep fit to keep up with her colleagues on the regular NewRiver 170-mile Way of the Roses charity cycle across the country. She also transfers her property skills to her home life, with a renovation project always up her sleeve.
The Planter Of Seeds Of Change
Seeds Managing Director Claire Shepherd was practically born on a brick and weaned on mortar, with innovation and entrepreneurship in her veins due to her roots in a Scottish family that traded commercial and residential property in the UK and U.S. She followed in the family tradition, but in a far from traditional way.
While leading prison and homeless services for Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust, where she won several awards, she researched the impact of the built environment on health and wellbeing.
What she discovered is that what makes us happy and well is universal — and that though wellbeing is talked about, it is rarely an explicit design consideration in the real estate world. This led to her teaming up with architect Karl Lenton to design Seedpods, a wellbeing pod creating sanctuary wherever it is needed.
The first Seedpod was planted in the wings of Her Majesty’s Prison Leeds in 2015, and gained international attention from design brands like Dezeen and academics. In its first year of trading, the company’s clients include British Land, Universal Records, the NHS, the Youth Custody Service and the National Trust of Scotland.
Shepherd’s vision is that everyone can flourish and that through Seeds she will create the conditions within real estate for wellbeing and happiness for everyone.
When she is not making her dreams a reality she practices meditation and is completing a master's at Bangor University in teaching mindfulness. She also has a master's in management and leadership. She loves galloping her race horse as fast as it can go, swimming wild in seas and rivers, or skiing down double black runs, mindfully of course.
The Intrepid Researcher
Rachel Peirce Shone joined Principal as a research manager based in London in 2018 and is responsible for helping develop a commercial real estate research and strategy platform for Principal Real Estate Europe.
Previously base in Nairobi, Shone was a partner and director at Spearhead Africa, a real estate advisory firm delivering alternative sources of capital and innovative financing structures to developers and investors in the East African region. She developed strategic, cross-continental partnerships and provided project structuring services to improve the quality of collaborations and to facilitate development projects in the Kenyan market.
Prior to this role, she worked for Pan African Capital managing international fund marketing and business development services for the Novare Property Fund II, an investment strategy focused on commercial retail property development in Nigeria, Angola, Mozambique, and Zambia. Rachel started her career at Jones Lang LaSalle in Washington as a financial analyst delivering strategic advisory services for U.S. government-led real estate projects and initiatives. Serving as a consultant, she provided transaction assistance on state and national Private Public Partnershipsto assess risks, develop appropriate solutions, and optimise stakeholder results.
Originally from Philadelphia, but overseas for over six years, she speaks French and is actively working on her Italian. Shone played football for Georgetown University and still attempts to play for a women’s team in Islington.
Gabriella Sonabend is an entrepreneur, curator and writer working in real estate and the arts. After studying art, exhibiting internationally and working in theatre, museums and galleries, in 2016 Sonabend co-founded The Koppel Project, a cultural centre, coworking space and art gallery on Baker Street, and an artist studio complex in Holborn.
Sonabend is sales director for Oaksure Property Protection, which protects vacant buildings by using them for creative meanwhile projects and affordable living. In 2019 she will be opening Proposition Studios, a new artist studio-centre providing long-term affordable workspaces for up to 300 artists in London. In 2017 she was director of The Gallery of Everything.
Sonabend is passionate about connecting people working in property and the arts, and is fighting to help save London's creative community by finding ways to support those living and working in the capital.
Outside of work she has an alter ego as a musician, writes fiction and spends as much time as possible dancing.
The Asian Investment Expert
Associate Director Emma Steele has spent her entire professional working career at Savills, having joined the firm as a graduate in August 2011.
After completing her two-year professional qualification programme, she spent two years in the City investment team, and three years ago moved to be part of the global cross-border investment team.
Her current role is two-fold: assisting overseas investors with their buy-side
strategies outside of their home markets, and the sale of assets globally. Her specialism lies in working with Asian capital, in particular from Korea and Singapore. From the time spent with international investors she has built a good understanding of global capital flows, drivers for investment, areas of active demand and an appreciation of changing global sentiment.
Notable transactions she has worked on include around £400M of acquisitions for Ashby Capital, as well as the recent sale of 200 Aldersgate for more than £300M; the purchase of the More London Estate for around £1.7B on behalf of a sovereign wealth fund; the sale of a significant stake in the King’s Cross Partnership; and most recently the sale of Cannon Green on behalf of Ocubis for £120M.
She loves to travel and is a keen netball player. The most exciting news of 2018 was that she got engaged to be married.
The Lady Who Launches
Emma Tattersall is a director in JLL’s EMEA retail capital markets team, based in London.
As part of the pan-European team at JLL, Tattersall works with local colleagues to provide advice to a broad range of domestic, regional and global investor clients across the Continent. She joined JLL in September after four years at Cushman & Wakefield where she was most recently an associate director in the EMEA retail capital markets team. Prior to that, she spent time in Paris with Knight Frank’s French capital markets team.
She has negotiated the sale of a €900M pan-European real portfolio for IKEA; the sale of the Wien Mitte mixed-use scheme in Vienna, Austria, on behalf of Bank of Austria for €500M; and the sale of a 50% stake in the Ruhr Park shopping centre in Germany for Perella Weinberg Real Estate for €330M.
Tattersall is active in diversity groups as the founder of Ladies-Who-Launch, an active member of Women Talk Real Estate and chair of the ICSC NextGen Group.
The West Midlands Warrior
Victoria Turnbull is the joint managing director of Opus Land, the property investment company with offices in the West Midlands and London which has assets under management approaching 3M SF, more than 550K SF of that being speculative development.
Turnbull is responsible for procuring new opportunities and delivering projects for Opus. The company has more than 280 acres in the development pipeline and she has been responsible for delivering several speculative schemes in the industrial sector over the last couple of years.
Previously Turnbull was based in London where she worked as an associate director for Palmer Capital, the real estate fund manager and venture capital backer of companies including Opus. Before that, she was a senior surveyor at King Sturge, now Jones Lang LaSalle, in London where she specialised in commercial investment and business recovery.
Outside of work, her hobbies include keeping fit, dog walking, skiing, spending time with friends and meeting new people. She has also never been known to turn down a spa weekend.
The Social Justice Pioneer
Having joined on the graduate scheme a decade ago, Lorna Walker has worked her way up at CBRE spending time in real estate finance, and both UK and EMEA Capital Markets before taking on her current senior role within the strategic projects team, focussing on large, structured transactions with a development bias.
At CBRE, Walker has worked on transactions as diverse as the sale of London’s Madame Tussauds, a £500M Travelodge portfolio and the sale of the OPEC headquarters in Vienna. Most recently she played a leading role in CBRE’s multi-service line team advising a client on the prospective acquisition of the £1.5B Network Rail Arches portfolio.
Walker cares deeply about social justice, gender equality and innovation. She was a co-founder of CBRE’s first BeyondMe charitable team and continues to be a passionate supporter of their work. She set up CBRE’s UK Innovation and PropTech Board and leads its strategic relationship with PI Labs. She has been part of CBRE Women’s Network advisory board for almost 10 years, working toward gender equality for men and women.
Walker founded Peer 20, a cross-industry organisation that aims to connect, encourage and inspire the next generation of young professionals as well as use their skills to help make the world a better place. She is also vice-chair of the Tollington Parish PCC in Finsbury Park.
Walker’s favourite place in London is the Ladies Pond on Hampstead Heath and you can find her there throughout the winter, breaking the ice if necessary! She loves climbing mountains in all their forms — whether on a bike, hiking with her little girl in a rucksack or ski touring through the Alps.
The Digital Prophet
Cassandra Wheeldon is the director of partnerships at WiredScore, the world's first digital connectivity rating scheme. Since joining the company in its early days in 2016, she has been instrumental in establishing the business in the UK and Ireland, and creating the partnerships team to meet the demand of connectivity transparency with commercial landlords.
The impact she has made in a small space of time has seen her shortlisted by WeAreTheCity as a rising star in the property sector in 2017, and promoted to director at WiredScore in 2018. Prior to joining WiredScore, she worked at CoStar — first in its U.S. HQ before moving to work with the major accounts team in its London office.
She is a self-proclaimed pizza aficionado, which she tries to balance with the occasional tough mudder, and takes every opportunity to visit her hometown of Philadelphia and put her German to good use at any variation of Oktoberfest in Munich.
The Ace Acquirer And Asset Manager
Safi Zakaria joined Crosstree Real Estate in 2013 and works on the acquisition of new investments and ongoing management of several of its assets. Prior to this she was in the Real Estate Investment Banking team at Rothschild.
At Crosstree, Zakaria has worked on a number of high-profile transactions including the acquisition of Camden Town Hall Annexe, which is being converted into The Standard Hotel; the office-led Bower development in Shoreditch; the former RE Hotel Shoreditch, which is set to become a Mama Shelter; and the mixed-use Berkeley Estate in Mayfair. She is particularly interested in projects that require extensive, granular asset management initiatives to help drive returns.
Zakaria is passionate about a wide range of social issues from responsible farming practices to the many types of inequality the world faces. More light-heartedly, she is also an avid cook who loves throwing over-the-top dinner parties and has an alarmingly large back catalogue of World of Interiors magazines, which despite years of lobbying she refuses to throw out.
The Way Of Life Warrior
Sowgol Zaringchang is the managing director of Way of Life, Long Harbour’s in-house property management platform. She oversees its portfolio of private rented sector developments in the UK, including the winner of Bisnow’s competition to find the scheme with the best amenities in Britain, Skyline II in Manchester.
Long Harbour has more than £1.8B of assets under management and has invested £355M in the UK build-to-rent market with sites in London, Manchester, Leicester and Birmingham. The firm created Way of Life as a point of difference, to ensure customer loyalty through efficient building management and exceptional service.
Zaringchang was previously the director of serviced apartments at JLL, where she oversaw operational activities and advised residential and serviced apartment operators. She believes a personal touch is crucial in managing BTR properties to provide attractive lifestyle choices to customers.
She is a member of Women in Property and is on the PRS committee at the British Hospitality Association.
Outside of work, Zaringchang enjoys spending quality time with her family, loves to travel and has her sights set on India as her next port of call.