The Residential Pacesetter
After retiring from her first career as a GB Heptathlete, Phyllis Agbo identified her love of the built environment and entered the world of real estate, becoming a chartered surveyor in 2016. Her career started at CBRE, where she worked in both valuation and retail before specialising in residential, working within the new homes consultancy team. After seven years at CBRE, she recently moved to Crest Nicholson, taking the role of land manager.
She has advised on a number of important London developments, including Barking Riverside, a 10,800-home riverbank masterplan in East London. The new town is an important site for London’s delivery of much-needed homes and will also accommodate commercial uses, a new overground station and a jetty for the Thames Clipper.
Agbo is a proud advocate for diversity in the workplace, and during her time at CBRE, had strong involvement in the company’s REACH Network (Race, Equality and Cultural Heritage), organising events discussing difficult but necessary subject matters such as anti-racism and the barriers to being 100% yourself in the workplace. She is also a committee member for the newly formed Black Business Association within the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and she has been charged with increasing visibility and bringing through grassroots talent. Personally knowing the value of mentorship, she is mentoring a number of junior colleagues to aid their progression through qualification and early career development.
Due to her background, Agbo also believes deeply in the importance of physical and mental wellbeing. She has led many workout sessions and co-created the London Mixed Tag Rugby Property League, combining essential networking with healthy activity. Upon joining the industry and finding out Surveyors 7s was a male-only tournament, she took it upon herself to integrate a women’s tournament into the day, which has grown from strength to strength.
Outside of work, Agbo is a fan of the theatre and loves a good thriller at the cinema. She also enjoys live music and travel, all of which she has missed during the global pandemic.
The Smooth Pandemic Operator
Melissa Baldwin is the director of operations for APAM, the investment and asset manager. During the past 18 months, she has tackled the operational challenges of running an SME during a particularly difficult time and has navigated the APAM team through multiple lockdowns, focusing on the team’s wellbeing and business effectiveness.
In March 2020, when it became clear the business would be required to shift from fully office-based to home working literally overnight, Baldwin was ahead of the curve, having already managed an upgrade of all IT infrastructure and security. She oversaw the set-up and training of 45 APAM team members with new communication platforms, system access and ways of working two weeks before the government announced the UK’s first lockdown.
During lockdown, APAM continued to grow, recruiting and onboarding 16 new staff. Baldwin mobilised the operations team through change management improvements, ensuring new joiners quickly felt part of the APAM culture and that all APAM team members were supported and received frequent communication.
APAM launched Bankfoot APAM during the pandemic, a development management partnership, for which Baldwin manages the financials. More broadly, she is responsible for the day-to-day operating of the APAM business and oversees financial management, risk and compliance, people and talent, IT and systems, and office management disciplines.
Baldwin loves to travel (during normal years, of course), snowboard and reads to relax. Her favourite thing in the world is sitting in a lovely square somewhere in Spain, with her husband and a glass of white wine.
The Green Finance Expert Extraordinaire
Leah Barnes is the sustainability manager at CEG, with a focus on business strategy and reporting and engagement to minimise environmental impacts.
Barnes was previously employed as a sustainability consultant, working with a variety of clients across multiple sectors, including commercial, industrial, healthcare and education, helping clients to understand their environmental impacts and improve performance.
In 2020 and 2021, she has focused on engaging people in the sustainability agenda to drive awareness and, ultimately, improvements. That has meant a considerable focus on green finance, working on several sustainability-linked loans to help assist improvements across the portfolio.
Out of work, Barnes loves spending time with friends and family and being active, getting outdoors as much as possible.
The Valuation Vanguardista
After 17 years at Knight Frank, Caroline Bathgate was delighted to be appointed global head of Valuation & Advisory in April 2021. The role involves working alongside colleagues across the company’s global network, and growing and promoting Knight Frank Valuation & Advisory as the trusted partner in property for clients.
Over the past 12 months, the team has provided financing valuations to Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and Crestline for a range of PRS, data centre and student property assets across five continents, demonstrating a truly global presence in these markets.
When not in the office, Bathgate loves to travel and looks forward to planning trips once Covid restrictions allow. She also skis, although not as well as she would like to. Otherwise, she enjoys a good book, and she is hoping to perfect the art of making a good sourdough loaf — a challenge taken up during lockdown 1.0 that she has not yet mastered.
The Activist Architect
Zoë Berman is an architect, university lecturer and founder of Part W, an action group founded in 2018 that campaigns for gender equity across the built environment sector. Berman is director of Studio Berman, which operates as a network of designers, makers and engineers who work collaboratively on a project-by-project basis on installations, cultural and educational projects.
She advocates design as a tool to engender positive social, political and economic change, and is a member of the Oxford Design Review Panel as well as a Design Council Specialist Expert.
Part W is driven by a desire to see places and spaces designed and delivered in a manner that is fair and beneficial to all. In 2019, the group launched a campaign raising awareness of the disparity in global architecture prizes, which are disproportionately awarded to male designers. That campaign led to a key moment of change, and featured in the press, including The Guardian, The Observer and Dezeen.
Berman has been a guest on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour and lectured extensively on design and equity. She has written for the RIBA Journal, Blueprint magazine and Architecture Today. Berman is writing a book profiling women who are shaping the design of cities and is an avid urban wanderer and walker.
The Community Engager
Michelle Buxton is founder and CEO of proptech company Toolbox, the creator of real estate community engagement and management technology Mallcomm and global placemaking and destination marketing agency Toolbox Marketing. Toolbox Group is 21 years old and currently provides products and services in 22 countries.
With more than 20 years’ expertise in engaging real estate users in the changing ways they live, work, shop and play, Buxton is a leading expert, innovator and influencer in the proptech arena. She leads the company’s ESG strategy and works with local charitable organisations to support their efforts, enabling them to maximise fundraising and meet their own objectives. Toolbox Group has supported Bardfest, Mind Charity, Cars On The Green and more.
Buxton spent her early career in retail real estate in South Africa, voted Cape Times Business Person of the Year, before setting up her innovation agency in the UK in 2000.
In her free time, Buxton loves to unwind with regular yoga sessions and taking relaxing countryside walks with her Cockapoo, Bodi. If she isn’t focusing on her health and mindset, you’ll find her enjoying a glass of fizz, making memories with friends and family.
The Regent Street Regina
Leanne Catterall works at the Crown Estate where she led the curation of one of the world’s most famous shopping destinations, Regent Street, before recently being appointed as retail customer partnership director.
Whilst having to work through the challenging conditions Covid-19 presented for the retail sector, Catterall still managed to secure a host of new names for the portfolio, including Moose Knuckles, Bally and new immersive restaurant Park Row.
Catterall is also one of the co-creators of the podcast series Retail is Dead, which despite the name, explores the positive stories of the retail and hospitality world in an ever-changing and challenging environment.
Before joining the Crown Estate three years ago, Catterall co-directed a restaurant-focused team at CBRE within its central London advisory team. During her time at CBRE, she successfully acquired Eataly’s UK flagship in British Land’s Broadgate development and worked with key clients such as Derwent, Selfridges, Great Portland Estates and Arab Investments.
Catterall is currently on maternity leave, so spare time is hard to come by, but she enjoys trying out new restaurants, riding her Peloton bike, and she started to learn the piano two years ago.
The ESG Exemplar
Shuen Chan leads ESG and supports Legal & General's strategic objective to embed sustainability in all areas of its real assets business, focusing on the LGIM Real Assets real estate equity and private credit business, which covers corporate, alternative, infrastructure and real estate debt.
Just over a year into her career at LGIM Real Assets, Chan has played a key role in both defining and activating LGIM Real Asset’s net-zero-carbon roadmap, which details its commitments and delivery plans to decarbonise its entire 76M SF real estate portfolio. Chan brings more than 25 years of experience in sustainable investing, capital markets and asset management, with expertise in ESG, climate change and impact investing. Most recently, she co-founded a purpose-driven ESG advisory firm, helping institutional investors build a case for sustainable investing in the transition to a low-carbon economy.
Chan serves on the CFA ESG Advisory panel and is also a co-author of the CFA ESG certification. She is a trustee of The Lightbulb Trust, a foundation that supports literacy, equality and social inclusion through grant giving and impact investing.
Chan enjoys cooking, reading and spending quality time with her young daughter.
The Student Startup
After hearing countless rental horror stories from her friends at university and landlords she interviewed, Hannah Chappatte launched HYBR after graduating from the University of Bristol in 2019. HYBR is a student accommodation platform that supports first-time renters and works to improve the relationship between students and landlords.
Since the launch, Chappatte has won funding from the Prince's Trust, the New Enterprise Competition and picked up a Montagu Evans Me100 Award for young entrepreneurs disrupting the real estate industry. On top of this, HYBR was voted the No 1 lettings agent in Bristol, was a Bristol Property Award Finalist for several categories, including “Best Residential Agent", and was named Rising Star of the South-West. In addition, Chappatte featured on BBC Radio 4 discussing how she went out of her way to help students during Covid-19.
HYBR has helped students who were previously outcast by the rental industry, such as those with no contact with birth parents or guardians to act as their guarantors. HYBR is growing fast, with six full-time employees and the platform is scaling to support thousands more students across the UK.
Outside of work, Chappatte enjoys speaking weekly to an elderly member of the community who has suffered from loneliness as a result of the pandemic. She is also a keen skier and tennis player.
The Kind Leader
As BRE Group’s chief executive, Gillian Charlesworth is responsible for the organisation’s strategy, culture and performance. She is passionate about the importance and potential of the built environment in supporting sustainable, vibrant and productive life on the planet. She aims to be a responsible leader, choosing to work in purpose-led organisations, and has held roles in the UK civil service and various professional bodies.
Listed in Kind Leadership 50 Leading Lights UK 2018, Charlesworth believes that leading with kindness — by which she means respect, honesty, empathy, inclusivity and fairness — motivates people to do their best every day and strive for results, producing long-term success for both organisations and individuals. She joined BRE in May 2019 and has led the organisation in turning around its financial performance, with two profitable trading years achieved, enabling major investment in digitising BRE’s flagship Breeam benchmark and upgrading the organisation’s testing facilities near Watford. In addition to leading BRE, she regularly mentors women in the construction and real estate sectors, as her contribution to achieving a more diverse and successful industry.
When not at work, Charlesworth can often be found pursuing her love of good food. She once trained as a chef at Dame Prue Leith’s school and still loves to master new dishes and techniques in her cooking.
The BTR Innovator
Ailish Christian-West is responsible for managing Get Living’s £2B build-to-rent neighbourhood portfolio and current development pipeline of circa 6,000 homes, working with investors and development partners to drive investment performance and grow the Get Living UK portfolio, targeting 15,000 homes. She leads Get Living’s ESG agenda and supports industry collaboration on a broad range of issues, advocating for a sustainable real estate sector and recognition of social contribution.
In 2020, Christian-West chaired Revo, a national body representing the retail property industry during a particularly challenging time for the 30-year-old organisation due to the pandemic. She took up her current role leading Get Living’s portfolio during 2020, immediately getting to work on building a talented portfolio management team to deliver an ambitious portfolio growth strategy.
She initiated the creation of the Lab E20 at East Village, an exemplar of the future of retail in residential neighbourhoods, where residents and visitors can see and buy sustainable products being designed and created in the store. She has led on investment and operational strategies to enhance portfolio performance, which are already delivering results.
Christian-West has more than 20 years’ experience in UK real estate. Prior to Get Living, she spent 12 years at Landsec as an executive committee member responsible for portfolio management and operations. At Landsec, she led key strategic initiatives including the London suburban residential asset strategy, exiting secondary shopping centres and creating significant value through building a retail outlet portfolio. She spent 10 years in fund management running core-plus and opportunistic funds, including at LaSalle Investment Management, and she has served on the board of a technology startup fund.
Christian-West enjoys spending time with her husband and two young children at home in London and looks forward to travelling again in the future.
The Amazonian Warrior
She is focused on leading Amazon’s last-mile real estate expansion in the UK, where it is growing its delivery station network to help speed up deliveries for customers.
She joined Amazon in 2018. During that time, she has worked across several areas of its real estate team. Starting out in the UK transactions team, she successfully led on multiple transactions through a 12-month period. She then moved to the European mainland team to drive Amazon’s last-mile expansion across EMEA.
Before Amazon, Clarke worked in Sydney, Australia, managing retail transactions for the diversified property trusts Stockland and Charter Hall. Prior to that, she worked for Australia Post acquiring properties and expanding their logistics and retail network.
Outside of the office, you'll find Clarke designing her new-build home in the Northern Irish countryside or playing netball and tennis.
The Driver Of Change
Abigail Dean is the global head of strategic insights for Nuveen Real Estate, responsible for the organisation’s global research, sustainability, proptech and innovation functions. She oversees the Tomorrow’s World Strategy, which uses analysis of demographic, sustainability and technology trends to ensure the investment strategy is focused on buildings that are fit for the future.
Dean has recently overseen the organisation setting a target to achieve net-zero carbon by 2040. The target exceeds by a decade the commitment that the World Green Building Council states is necessary to meet the Paris Accord, and is the largest commitment made by a real estate investment manager to date, based on AUM and geographical diversity. She has also led the organisation’s approach to the integration of physical climate risk considerations into the investment process. Creating a positive and inclusive team culture is also a high priority. Dean sits on the NRE People and Culture Committee and the European Charity Committee.
Dean is passionate about driving sustainable change in the property sector and sits on several industry committees, including the GRESB Benchmarking Committee and the INREV ESG committee. She is also a board member of the Better Buildings Partnership and was a key collaborator in the development of the BBP Climate Commitment.
Outside of work, Dean is an enthusiastic (if moderate-paced) runner and enjoys cycling, hiking, skiing and swimming. She has participated in the JLL Property Triathlon most years in the past decade. She has two children, aged 7 and 10, so is a reluctant player in park-based football games and a more enthusiastic participant in family bike rides, forest walks and competitive board games.
The Acquisitive Chief Exec
As chief executive for Frasers Property UK, a developer, investor and asset manager of residential and commercial property, Ilaria del Beato drives the strategic plan for the business in the UK.
She started her 30-year career in real estate advisory before moving to become a principal in predominantly transactional roles in the UK and across Europe. Prior to her role at Frasers Property UK, del Beato spent 15 years at GE Capital, leading both the UK real estate business and GE Capital Bank, a regulated bank and corporate lender.
Her experience and expertise have helped drive forward Frasers Property UK’s growth and continued success: recent and future highlights include the company’s £170M acquisition of Blythe Valley Business Park, and delivery of The Rowe, a new 162K SF development in London, which is due to launch in July 2021. Frasers Property UK has also recently unveiled its net-zero roadmap, with the commitment to achieve net-zero carbon across its whole portfolio by 2050, which aligns with parent Frasers Property Group’s sustainability objective.
Del Beato is also a nonexecutive director of The Unite Group plc, the student housing owner-operator. Outside of work she enjoys spending time with family and friends and keeping fit, which has included trying to improve her press-ups during lockdown.
The Architect At The Intersection
Hala El Akl is a real estate professional operating at the intersection of design, innovation and sustainability. She is a director at PLP Architecture, where she works on large, mixed-use projects across Europe and the Middle East. She is also the founding member of PLP Labs, PLP Architecture’s innovation group. El Akl is a ULI Global Governing trustee, the recipient of the ULI European Talent Award, and sits on the D&I board for ULI UK and Cambridge Land Economy Advisory Board.
El Akl is a graduate of Sciences-Po Paris, the London School of Economics and the American University of Beirut, with her studies spanning sociology, architecture, urban planning and data science.
When not at work, El Akl loves to hike and practice yoga and she enjoys all things cinema.
The Master Planner
Caroline Foster has successfully championed a diverse range of schemes, the most recent being the new strategic settlement of 6,500 homes at Waterbeach in Cambridgeshire, the largest consent to be granted in England in 2019. Foster led the project for Urban&Civic and the Defence Infrastructure Organisation, working with a diverse range of consultants and stakeholders to synthesise and address a series of complex issues throughout the engagement, decision-making and documentation stages of the project.
Foster has built strong and lasting relationships within Cambridgeshire at all levels and is known for delivering on promises made. Following resolution to grant and completion of the section 106 agreement, she has maintained the team’s pace and focus on delivery throughout lockdown, balancing the demands of home schooling for two young children with a detailed planning and infrastructure delivery programme. That programme will deploy about £60M of Homes England infrastructure acceleration funding by 2023, allowing first residents to be living on-site by autumn 2022.
Foster is passionate about delivering highly sustainable places and took the decision to ensure the first school at Waterbeach would be car-free, accessed by a network of footpaths and cycleways to promote healthy lifestyles from the outset.
Her role leading the delivery of significant projects in Cambridgeshire is set to expand further. Following the acquisition of Urban&Civic by the Wellcome Trust, Foster will assume the role of development manager for the growth of the Wellcome Genome Campus at Hinxton. Plans for the Genome Campus present an opportunity to develop a 21st-century community of academics, scientists, entrepreneurs and innovative companies collaborating on research to deliver positive human impact.
Outside of work Foster loves spending time with her kids and husband, enjoying dinner with friends and travelling back home to family in Ireland as often as she can.
The Toughest Job In Property?
In November 2020, Rita-Rose Gagné took on one of the toughest jobs in property: As its new chief executive, she is responsible for reviving the fortunes of Hammerson, the specialist shopping centre REIT that was once one of the biggest UK real estate companies, but was brought low by the retail apocalypse. It will be her job to help it transition from a retail specialist to one creating mixed-use schemes that reflect how people live their lives in 2021 and beyond.
Prior to joining Hammerson, Gagné was president of Growth Markets at the global real estate company Ivanhoé Cambridge, where she had responsibility for $7.6B of real estate assets across Asia Pacific and Latin America. She joined Ivanhoé Cambridge in 2006 and held a variety of roles from senior vice president, legal affairs and general counsel at Société immobilière Trans-Québec to executive vice president of global strategy, Portfolio Management and Investment Funds.
The Workplace Wizard
Nicola Gillen joined Cushman & Wakefield in 2019 and is an international partner and head of Total Workplace EMEA. She specialises in the relationship between design, behaviour and the built environment.
An architect and author, Gillen is recognised within the industry as an authority on the future of work. For occupiers, she provides ongoing advice and project work with a wide range of global corporates on workplace strategy, the future of work and the workplace pre- and post-Covid-19. On the investor side, Gillen works closely with developers and architects in the UK and Europe to shape new developments from the occupier perspective, pre-planning submission through design development.
Gillen has 25 years of experience delivering workplace strategy, design, change management and innovation internationally. She joined Cushman & Wakefield after 10 years at AECOM, where she served in different capacities, most recently as director, Global Workplace Strategy Lead and EMEA Workplace Sector Lead. Prior to that, she worked for Davis Langdon (acquired by AECOM in 2009) and at DEGW, where she started her career within workplace. In the early stage of her career, she worked as an architect in Singapore and Dublin.
Gillen has two kids and a husband and enjoys Pilates and taking their energetic Golden Retriever for long walks. But like many working parents, she loves sleeping; if sleeping is a hobby, she aspires to that one.
Penny Hacking has more than 20 years' experience in the commercial real estate industry and joined Avison Young at the end of 2018 as principal and European Capital Markets lead, responsible for helping to grow the European capital markets business.
Hacking started her career at Jones Lang Wootton in the West End leasing team before spending time in the central London landlord and tenant team and the City investment team. She moved to Brussels at the end of 1999 to join the Capital Markets team as senior associate, advising international investors in the Belux capital markets.
In 2004, Hacking joined the City Investment team at King Sturge and became the youngest (and one of the first women) equity partners at the company, advising on more than €1B of acquisitions. In 2007, she joined and led the King Sturge Cross Border Investment team, advising on more than €600M of transactions before rejoining Jones Lang Lasalle after the acquisition and merger of King Sturge and JLL.
Hacking has put her considerable business acumen and capital markets experience to good use by running her own business, Victorios Investment Partners, a pan-European capital advisory business, which she founded and ran herself before joining AY.
During her career to date, Hacking has advised on more than €6B of transactions across the UK and continental Europe and is a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.
When not working and being mother to two young daughters, aged 11 and 9, she is an avid horse rider and loves her sport, playing tennis, running and also watching all sports. She has an event horse and competes herself when she can fit it in with work and kids.
The Cross-Sector Innovator
Vanessa Hale is head of Insights and Residential Research for BNP Paribas Real Estate UK. In a 20-year career as a cross-sector specialist in the built environment, she has played a leading role in complex strategic projects with cross-disciplinary teams, addressing innovation across a wide range of geographies and sectors, including build-to-rent, industrial, offices, retail, retirement and residential.
Alongside her role at BNP Paribas Real Estate, Hale is an active industry leader. She is a global governing trustee of the Urban Land Institute and the immediate past chair of ULI UK, having served as chair since July 2019.
During her chairmanship in 2020 and 2021, ULI UK transitioned from mostly in-person events to a complete online offering for members, delivering more than 20 events over a three-month period that showcased the experience and global reach of the organisation while maintaining membership at pre-pandemic levels for the largest of the European National Councils. She established the first committee focused on Real Estate Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (REDI) within ULI Europe and raised corporate sponsorship to enable conversion of ULI’s flagship outreach programme, Urban Plan, from being entirely in-school to a digital offering. This enabled its continued delivery to 45 schools across the UK, at no cost to them, despite ongoing Covid-19 restrictions.
Hale is a board member of Property Week’s Diversity and Inclusion Editorial Board, chair of the nonexecutive board of DRUM London. She is a past board member of the Property Industry Alliance and a commercial property board member for the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government. She is also a passionate advocate for developing the next generation of real estate professionals and is a mentor for both CREW UK and ULI UK.
When not working, Hale takes every opportunity to travel, enjoying great food, art and culture whilst practicing her photography and likely being the world’s best ‘spectathlete’ in support of her husband’s triathlon endeavours. During lockdown, she took up meditation, became a novice gardener and spent quality time riding her Peloton spin bike.
The Scandi With Big Ambitions
Jenny Hammarlund has more than 20 years of experience as a real estate investor, spanning two continents and both private equity funds and special situations-focused hedge funds. She previously worked at Lehman Brothers in New York as well as KKR and HIG Capital in London. She has participated in transactions totalling more than €20B of value across multiple asset classes and geographies. She recently joined Cadillac Fairview, the direct real estate investing arm of Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan with more than £126B assets under management, as the head of Europe. Hammarlund is now in the process of building out a local team and an ambitious investment portfolio for Cadillac Fairview.
Hammarlund is originally from Sweden but has lived in seven countries and speaks four languages. In her spare time, she enjoys travel (preferably far and hot), kickboxing and spending time with her family. She is also a nonexecutive director with Seaforth Land.
The Guiding Light Of King's Cross
As Head of Assets, Anthea Harries directs the overall management and curation of King’s Cross, the 67-acre mixed-use quarter. Prior to leading King’s Cross, Harries was at the Crown Estate, where she was responsible for creating and delivering the strategic vision that transformed St James’s. She sits on the RICS UK and Ireland World Regional Board and is a governor of King’s Cross Academy.
Harries’ highlights for the year include leading the estate through the pandemic, including working closely with King’s Cross occupiers throughout the pandemic — with King’s Cross being the first landlord to give a rent-free quarter to its retail and food and beverage when the first lockdown was announced. The estate’s Covid-19 response also included supporting NHS testing programmes by hosting them on-site, providing parking and facilities for UCHL and its staff, and leading the way with a Covid-secure estate and buildings.
She also continued the estate’s retail leasing success, with seven deals completed in the past year and a further six currently under offer, as well as welcoming more than 40 new residents to the Luma residential building.
On the development side, there was the completion of the King’s Cross Sports Hall, a net-zero timber-framed building; the completion and leading of 22 Handyside Street; and the completion of Facebook’s 11-21 Canal Reach.
Outside of work, she enjoys running and walking with her dog Harley, watching her boys play rugby and cricket, and, when it is possible to get further afield, snowboarding and skiing.
The Doyenne Of Decarbonisation
An experienced and passionate green finance specialist, Emma Harvey joined the Green Finance Institute in 2019 and leads the Coalition for the Energy Efficiency of Buildings — an industry-led collaboration with more than 320 individual members representing all sectors involved in the built environment. The coalition's goal is to catalyse new markets for financing the decarbonisation of buildings and their construction, promote enabling conditions for market growth, and deliver a scalable model for stimulating financial innovation both at home and internationally.
Harvey previously worked at Barclays Bank where she championed the green finance agenda, supporting the bank’s first green bond issuance and pioneering the Barclays green home mortgage.
Over the past year, Harvey has promoted the role of green finance at more than 40 public events, presented evidence to the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy enquiry on decarbonising heat in homes, and overseen the launch and adoption of the industry-backed Green Home Finance Principles. She continues to advocate the need for a national retrofit delivery authority to accelerate the UK’s transition to the net-zero built environment.
In her spare time, Harvey enjoys exploring restaurants and bars across London, travelling to new cities around Europe, blowing off steam at the gym and supporting her favourite basketball team, the Denver Nuggets.
The Sustainability Savant For The World's Biggest Property Company
Caroline Hill is head of Europe ESG for Blackstone Real Estate, based in London. She is responsible for ensuring environment, social and governance topics are fully integrated across Blackstone’s European real estate portfolio and portfolio companies, covering acquisitions, management and disposals.
An economist by background, Hill has more than 20 years of sustainability experience. She joined the team at Blackstone in 2021, following six years at Landsec, where she created and delivered the property developer’s leading net-zero-carbon strategy and framework, and was responsible for corporate affairs. Prior to Landsec, Hill was part of PwC’s sustainability and climate change team, where she worked with clients across sectors to develop impactful sustainability and responsible business programmes.
When not at work, Hill’s two teenage children keep her busy, as does dreaming of holidays that she might be able to go on again one day. In the meantime, she is undertaking lots of green home improvements.
The Biodiversity Ambassador
Since Jo Holden took the helm as sustainability director of Peel L&P in 2019, the £2.6B landowning regeneration company has been catapulted to the leading edge of ESG, starting with a five-year plan based on the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
In early 2020, Holden created the UK’s first net-zero-carbon portfolio of assets, verified against the UK Green Building Council’s net zero definition, and swiftly set the company on a path of demonstrating its climate resilience by setting a science-based target to reduce carbon emission intensity by 68% by 2030.
Keen to take action on the double-pronged climate and biodiversity emergencies, Holden has embedded biodiversity and natural capital net gain into the company’s masterplanning process, and commissioned climate risk assessments of 25 major assets in the past 12 months. She is currently rolling out a social value framework across the company, to consistently capture the wide range of benefits that Peel L&P projects bring to communities.
Holden is a chartered environmentalist and fellow of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment. She also enjoys giving back through mentoring early career professionals — not only in her own team, but across Peel L&P and beyond.
As a full-time working mum, adventure comes in the form of kayaking local rivers and canals. Lockdown pastimes have included plying nonagenarian neighbours with soup, conversation and friendship.
The Chairwoman In Demand
Penny Hughes had quite the 2020-21, kicking off the period as chair of IQ Student Accommodation when it was sold by Goldman Sachs and The Wellcome Trust — at £4.66B, Britain’s biggest-ever real estate deal.
Hughes next joined Goldman Sachs-backed over-65s developer Riverstone in June 2020. Since then, she has led the launch of the company’s first two luxury developments in Fulham and Kensington, with up to 10 more sites planned in a £3B development pipeline. Hughes has an illustrious history, having been one of Coca-Cola’s youngest senior executives, sat on The Body Shop board with Anita Roddick, and served as chair of Aston Martin and The Gym Group.
Outside work, she is a passionate Liverpool FC fan, is a gym-goer, and loves to kayak and paddleboard.
The Digital Future
Sally Jones is head of Strategy, Digital & Technology at British Land, playing a fundamental role in shaping British Land’s strategic direction and leading the company’s technology effort. She is the executive committee’s sponsor for diversity and inclusion.
Over the past year, Jones has overseen the implementation of real estate technologies across British Land’s portfolio, including at 100 Liverpool Street, and partnering with Equiem to deliver a new digital tenant engagement app at Broadgate. As part of the latter effort, Jones joined Equiem’s board as a nonexecutive director. She is also on the advisory board of WiredScore.
With more than 25 years of experience in a broad range of industries and roles, Jones joined British Land in 2010 as head of investor relations. She previously worked as a strategic communications adviser to Lloyds Banking Group, and in investor relations, corporate communications and finance roles at Cadbury.
Outside of her day-to-day role, Jones’s free time is almost entirely sucked up by four energetic daughters and a lively labrador. She would like to have more time to play the piano and swim.
The Net-Zero Native
Hannah Kershaw graduated from Oxford University in 2008 with a master's degree in engineering, economics and management, where she was awarded a prize for her final-year project assessing the carbon impact of the refurbishment versus redevelopment of a student accommodation building. She then moved straight into real estate sustainability, spending the early years of her career in consultancy, supporting developers and asset managers in improving the sustainability of their portfolios and discharging their corporate reporting obligations, in addition to conducting research and policy development for local and national government bodies.
She left consultancy in 2012 to join the sustainability team at Lendlease, where she provided sustainability support to both the construction and retail asset management businesses. In 2015, she moved into the development business to become the sustainability manager on the £2.4B joint venture International Quarter commercial development project at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. She joined defence and aerospace company QinetiQ in 2017 as its head of energy and sustainability before returning to real estate in June 2020 to take up the position of head of sustainability at CLS Holdings.
Having started at CLS mid-pandemic, it has been an interesting and busy year for Kershaw, with some striking sustainability success stories. Her biggest wins so far include obtaining board approval for a new group sustainability strategy in May 2021 and securing sustainability-linked performance incentives within £215M of new real estate finance with Aviva and Scottish Widows, where CLS became the first such client for both lenders. The new strategy outlines an ambitious plan for CLS to 2030, including a net-zero-carbon pathway and a social value framework, alongside other objectives targeting key areas like climate change resilience, biodiversity and wellbeing.
Outside of work, Kershaw enjoys horticulture, spending time with nature and loves to travel — if she can combine them, she has the perfect holiday. She also enjoys reading nonfiction and keeping fit at the local gym. Her guilty pleasure is watching some questionable reality TV.
The Letter Of The Law
Katy Kingston joined Canary Wharf Group in 2014, initially as the lawyer responsible for financings. During her five-year tenure, Kingston executed £4.8B of debt deals.
In May last year, she was promoted to head of legal and became managing director-legal in December 2020 as well as a member of the executive and management leadership groups. Kingston has recently been appointed a board director of a number of Canary Wharf Group companies.
Notable deals that Kingston has overseen, despite the pandemic and lockdowns, include Canary Wharf’s inaugural £900M green bond issuance, which focused on the sustainable development and management of the Canary Wharf estate.
Kingston is passionate about diversity and inclusion, and she co-chairs the women’s steering group at Canary Wharf. She is also working closely with the ethnicity steering group on exciting new joint initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion at Canary Wharf.
Always looking for the next challenge, Kingston has recently started to learn cross-country horse riding. She also loves to race down ski slopes very fast.
The Webinar Warriors
Anouk Khan and Maria Weidner get a joint spot on this list for their work running RE:Women, a community interest company, which hosted useful and informative webinars during the pandemic. They were quick off the mark, offering interesting content and reassurance the industry had not just dropped off a cliff. They did not charge for content over this period to ensure their events were accessible to anyone who wanted to attend. They also offered networking and learning opportunities to women in the real estate industry, and they held roundtable talks around the Black Lives Matter movement.
Weidner is an entrepreneur at heart, having set up initiatives addressing diversity, equality and social justice in real estate. After setting up RE:Women in 2012, she founded Cambridge Finance in 2016. The training and consulting company focuses on improving the understanding of real estate as an investment class. Cambridge Finance real estate financial modelling training has become well-regarded in the industry, as Weidner shares her experience and knowledge with her delegates.
Khan is chief growth officer at Cambridge Finance, which she joined in late 2020 to scale its training platforms within the UK and globally.
Her career spans across London, Dubai and now Madrid. She has worked for Merrill Lynch, a global private bank in the City of London, and Deacon Capital, an independent financial services group for advising high net worth/ultra high net worth clients in the Middle East. She then switched sectors by setting up her own turnkey consultancy, Oakwood Advisors, for commercial real estate projects in Dubai.
The Pandemic Asset Management Assurer
Abi Labbett is a senior director in asset management at CBRE. As a founding member of the team, she has succeeded in growing the business to represent a number of key landlords across a wide range of asset classes.
With more than 15 years’ experience, Labbett worked overseas in Barcelona, Madrid and Sydney, and held roles across retail agency and asset management businesses.
After a hugely challenging year, the real estate sector has seen significant changes, some of which will remain with the sector post-pandemic. And Labbett, like many others, has worked throughout to ensure her clients continue to be fully supported and guided through the uncharted, volatile landscape, while balancing being a mum and teacher to her three young daughters.
Outside of work, Labbett loves to travel (when permitted), cook for her family (when time permits), is a keen runner, volunteers at her local church, and is reigniting her passion for music by relearning the piano.
The Government Property Seeker
Meredith May is head of real estate strategy and portfolio planning for the Department for Work and Pensions. She joined DWP in January 2020 after leaving Well Pharmacy, where she had worked as head of property for five years.
As head of real estate strategy, May plays a central part in ensuring the alignment of estate strategy and business need, leading a team that brings together data and market insight to develop well-informed estate strategies that maximise value for money opportunities whilst supporting DWP's more than 80,000 employees and millions of customers.
Brought in for her commercial experience and strategic vision, the Covid pandemic meant May had to focus on the immediate crisis response, ensuring services could be delivered and quickly adjusting plans to meet business needs.
May led the Estates programme, providing temporary job centres to house the 13,500 additional work coaches recruited to support the increase in job seekers caused by the economic impact of Covid. So far, more than 130 new sites have been secured across the UK where customer demand has increased.
The response to Covid has taken up much of May’s time over the past 18 months, but when restrictions allow she is a foodie, enjoying wine, beer and cheese tastings, as well as holidays to sample the local cuisine. A huge Formula One fan, she is hoping to make it to a number of the Grand Prix races, which were put on hold last year.
The Creative Dynamo
Hannah McNamara is a co-founder of P-THREE, a progressive real estate company that puts people and communities at its heart. She specialises in using retail leasing to create places with purpose and to transform large-scale mixed-use developments into vibrant destinations.
Previously the youngest female partner at Cushman & Wakefield in the retail team, McNamara has also won the Woman of the Future Award for Real Estate, Infrastructure & Construction.
Recently, McNamara has written openly about her own struggles for Mental Health Awareness Day. She is training as a mental health first-aider and wants to help others in an industry that does not talk enough about people’s feelings, emotions and struggles. Out of work, McNamara loves spending time with her two young daughters.
The Award-Winning Architect
Tracy Meller is a partner at architectural practice Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners.
Currently, Meller is leading a project for the redevelopment of the area immediately around South Kensington Station, a mixed-use development in a conservation setting that will deliver station-wide improvements alongside new retail, office and residential accommodation. She is also leading a Bethnal Green project for the Berkeley Group, which retains and reuses existing gasholder frames to create more than 500 new homes.
Last year, Meller won the prestigious architectural MJ Long Prize for excellence in practice for her role in the Centre Building at the London School of Economics. She is an honorary professor of architecture at Nottingham University, a long-serving member of the RIBA awards group, and this year she will also chair the RIBA Bronze and Silver Medal awards.
Outside of the office, Meller enjoys wild water swimming, paddleboarding and camping with her family and friends.
The Alliance Builder
Ros Morgan has almost 20 years’ experience in delivering successful destinations and is a leading figure in London and the Business Improvement District industry.
Leading successive organisations, including Kingston First and Croydon BID, Morgan joined Heart of London Business Alliance in 2016. Since then, Morgan has produced award-winning teams, driving measurable results and real return on investment for businesses and investors.
In 2020, she secured HOLBA another five-year mandate, with 96% of businesses voting in support, making it the first BID to achieve four simultaneous ballot wins, as well as the first BID in the UK to run a property owner and occupier ballot concurrently. HOLBA now operates four of only five property-owner BIDs within the UK.
Most recently, Morgan’s innovative thinking has seen the development of a series of "first of its kind" strategies for London’s West End, including a place-shaping strategy and economic case for investment, a cultural strategy, and a report on the economic benefits of the West End, the heart of London's cultural sector.
Morgan is co-chair of the London Workplace Recovery Board, formed in 2021 to better understand the drivers and barriers for returning to the workplace and to support the immediate needs and long-term recovery of Central London businesses. She is also a night-time commissioner for the Greater London Authority and recently joined the New London Sounding Board, established by New London Architecture.
As the global economy faces a new set of challenges, Morgan is dedicated to securing the future of London’s West End as a vibrant and economically sustainable world-class destination of culture and commerce.
The Mega Mentor
With a degree in music and no connections to the surveying world, her first few years working in property were particularly challenging. The difficulty of building a network from scratch and the lack of access to senior female leadership was the inspiration behind Mentoring Circle, an initiative that Murray founded and launched in March 2021 to provide free mentoring for junior women in the industry from women in senior leadership roles.
Her ambition is to grow the programme to secure mentorship for any young woman working in the industry who isn’t already part of a structured training scheme.
Outside of work, Murray is an aunt to "two young rascals," and when not chasing them around the garden with water pistols, she enjoys sampling the culinary delights of north London, where she lives. She also enjoys running, squash and playing her viola very out of tune for Central London Orchestra, which haven’t yet had the heart to kick her out.
The Young Leader
Mo O’Connell is a senior cost consultant for Arcadis (UK), an executive committee member for the Urban Land Institute Young Leaders and head of the ULI Annual Mentorship Programme. Additionally, each month she spends one weekend as a volunteer in London and the south east.
By background, O’Connell is a chartered quantity surveyor (MRICS) who studied quantity surveying and commercial management at university. Since 2014, her experiences include the delivery of cost management services, construction market data analysis and benchmarking across multiple sectors.
In the first quarter of 2021, as the UK construction market strengthened, O’Connell was offered a new role as senior cost consultant at Arcadis, where she advises on costs for extensive masterplan regeneration schemes, large-scale accommodation projects, and remodelling of heritage sites across the UK.
She was nominated for the WICE Awards in 2019 and was subsequently shortlisted as one of the top 10 female quantity surveyors in Europe. She has a strong background in business development and is an active member of numerous construction and property networks, such as the BCO NextGen, Roots of Arcadis and ULI Young Leader Executive Committee.
As head of the ULI Mentorship Programme, she helps oversee a scheme to annually connect approximately 100 mentees (young professionals) with 40 mentors over a 12-month period. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, with O’Connell's support, the programme has navigated a purely virtual mentoring approach throughout 2020. For 2021, it is managing two programmes to facilitate a hybrid cohort, with virtual meetings followed by in-person gatherings once restrictions are eased.
O’Connell has recently featured on an Estates Gazette podcast, Bricks and Mortar, to reach more professionals seeking guidance in their careers.
Outside of the office, O’Connell has a passion for running, gardening, and is currently learning how to hit a golf ball and Spanish.
The Human Side Of This Business
Joy Nazzari advises government and multibillion-pound companies on how to create places that meet human — not just developer — needs via her branding and design agency dn&co. Mid-pandemic, she also founded proptech company Showhere, a presentation platform that helps property companies sell and lease buildings. Despite the real estate industry almost grinding to a halt in 2020, she has already managed to sign up some of the biggest names in the industry, including British Land, Argent Related and Stanhope.
Nazzari was born in Brazil and educated in the U.S. She started her career in the Silicon Valley, where she worked in technology equity research at an investment bank, at tech startups and with future leaders such as Amazon, before relocating to London. She is a strong advocate of improving gender and ethnic diversity in the property and tech sectors.
When she’s not working, she’s often sailing or doing triathlons with her husband and two children.
The Flexible Convert
Lynsey O’Keefe is the chief operating officer of Orega, the UK’s largest privately owned provider of flexible workspace. O’Keefe is responsible for running the business and working on the board to set the company’s direction for growth and strategy.
She has spent her career in organisations such as GE, DHL and Compass, with roles in finance, commercial and operations. O’Keefe joined Orega three years ago to bring her hospitality focus and property management to the flex sector.
At Orega, she has overseen double-digit growth in profit. More recently, she led the business through the pandemic with a string of innovations to protect customers and the business. Over the past 18 months, she has maintained customer retention at 70%; collected 97% of due cash; signed and opened four new locations; and overseen the rebranding of the business.
Finally, concerned over the mental health of the Orega team due to the second lockdown, she organised an "I will walk" challenge for all Orega employees and raised a significant amount of money for Mind, the mental health charity.
O’Keefe is a mum of two young girls, lives in the countryside, and focuses on family and friends with lots of delicious food.
The Canary At The Leasing Coalface
Katie Oliphant joined Canary Wharf Group in 2011 and was promoted last year to director of office leasing and a member of the executive committee and management board.
Oliphant has 20 years of experience in the property industry and joined Canary Wharf Group from CBRE where she was a director of Central London Agency. In her new role, she is responsible for office leasing across Canary Wharf’s £8.4B portfolio. Her role encompasses design development, marketing, leasing and asset management.
Oliphant played a key role in the development and leasing of 20 Fenchurch Street (the Walkie Talkie) and was responsible for many of the large pre-lets at Canary Wharf, including those to EY, Société Générale and European Bank of Reconstruction and Development.
Oliphant is married and has a football-mad 5-year-old son, so when she is not cheering on her colleagues at Canary Wharf, she can be found on the side of a football pitch as his chief supporter. She is also a keen skier and having abseiled down 50 Bank Street, now has an ambition to abseil down all the Canary Wharf towers.
The Zealous Investor
Katherine Parker is a partner and head of investment management at Arrow Capital Partners, the investor and operator of real estate in Europe and Asia-Pacific, with 12 offices globally.
Parker has responsibility for stock selection, structuring and corporate, asset performance, debt, and all aspects of investor relations and reporting. As one of the earliest additions to the European arm of Arrow, which was launched in late 2018, she has worked closely with founding partners Martyn McCarthy, Kurt Wilkinson and Christian Bearman to build out the pan-European team across six countries. Those teams are busy investing the €3B SIRE joint venture with Cerberus and asset managing more than €1.7B across three mandates.
In the past 18 months, Parker oversaw more than 90 individual asset acquisitions totalling in excess of 10M SF in six countries and was responsible for €700M-plus of debt financings across Europe. This was made possible by the early creation of the regional teams within Arrow’s platform, whose members were recruited and onboarded into the team mid-pandemic, enabling the uninterrupted deployment of capital, with local teams sourcing and managing.
Highlights of the past 18 months included the off-market acquisition of the £180M UKWP portfolio over four weeks in December 2020, the €270M Axis Portfolio acquisition in June 2021, and the creation of a €250M-plus development pipeline across five countries within the SIRE platform.
Before joining Arrow Europe, Parker was responsible for the UK and European assets at Tesco Pension Investments, and prior to that, was at Valad Europe for 13 years as senior fund manager on a number of European and UK balanced funds.
Outside of work, Parker is a rather overzealous football/cricket mum who frequently lets her competitive nature get the better of her and seems to spend interminable hours driving around the country ferrying her sons to sporting fixtures. Skiing is her passion and she is desperate to get back to the Alps after two consecutive years of cancelled trips. While at home, she continues with the seemingly never-ending project that is renovating her 500-year-old listed farmhouse. She is hoping it might be completed in time for retirement.
The Carbon Rule-Setter
Stephanie Parker leads a policy team in the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy and has been making policy in central government for 12 years. She has been in her current role, which is focused on decarbonising commercial and industrial buildings, for about two and half years, and is working with her team of policymakers, economists, statisticians and legal advisers to develop new laws and financial support schemes to help businesses transform their buildings in line with the government’s net-zero target.
Over the past few months, Parker has led consultations in two key areas: the tightening of minimum energy efficiency standards for rented commercial and industrial buildings and a new policy for the largest commercial and industrial buildings. This scheme, which seeks to learn from the world-leading NABERS approach in Australia, will mean large commercial and industrial buildings would be publicly rated on the amount of energy and carbon they are using for the first time, laying the foundation for future regulation if buildings that do not decarbonise fast enough in the coming years.
Looking forward, Parker’s team will consider where else the government might need to regulate and how to work with the financial and commercial real estate sectors to generate the significant amounts of investment needed into UK building stock — vital to meet climate goals.
Prior to working on climate change, Parker worked on both health and national security policies.
Outside of work, Parker has practiced martial arts for more than 20 years. This training is her favourite way to let go of stress, as well as a glass of wine or two with friends. She lives with her partner in south London, and enjoys watching the England rugby team (though not this year), a bit of video gaming and returning to her northern roots to visit her family in Sheffield and Newcastle.
The Rented Resi Front Runner
It’s been a busy few years for Katherine Rose. In 2019 she left her role as client services director at PRSim, part of the LSL Group where she played a leading role in setting up the BTR offering, to become director of BTR at newly launched Navana Property Group. Whilst at Navana, she led the growth of the BTR business and won a number of consultancy contracts across both the single-family and multifamily homes sectors.
Fast forward to 2021, and Rose is the managing director of VervLife, a new, specialist BTR operating and consultancy business born out of a joint venture between Navana and Homes for Students, the second-largest operator of student accommodation in the UK by beds under management.
An all-around BTR operator, Rose’s expertise lies in undertaking viability assessments, design consultancy, cost modelling, resident experience, mobilisation and property management.
When she’s not thinking about rental accommodation, green-fingered Rose knows her peonies from her petunias, makes jewellery and tries, mostly in vain, to keep the peace between her two cats.
Lending's Leading Lady
Daljit Sandhu is co-founder and chief operating officer of Précis Capital Partners, a real estate lending platform that delivers large-ticket financing solutions to real estate developers for projects across the UK. Sandhu, alongside Précis Capital’s two other co-founders, secured the backing of TowerBrook Capital Partners and launched the platform in March 2021 amid uniquely challenging market conditions.
In her role as COO, Sandhu is responsible for overseeing strategy, people management, marketing, IT and governance, and led the build-out of an experienced team, which has built an active deal pipeline and is well placed to eventually deliver up to £1B of development financing a year. Sandhu led the business’s ESG strategy, which will include B-Corp certification and a range of new lending products designed to encourage sustainable build practises. Those include green loans and embracing innovation through modern methods of construction for residential developments.
Prior to founding Précis Capital, Sandhu served as co-founder and COO of Urban Exposure, building the company over nearly two decades into the UK’s leading residential development financier while extending more than £1.7B in development finance and £3B in real estate finance overall.
Sandhu is a tech enthusiast with seed investments across a number of platforms and acts as a mentor to scale-ups for Second Century Ventures. She enjoys London’s theatre, opera, museum, gallery and restaurant scene.
The West End Officer
After taking maternity leave in 2020, Isabel Thomas was appointed to a brand-new role at Shaftesbury. As head of offices, she is responsible for managing the company’s 400K SF of office space across the West End; overseeing several ongoing office refurbishment and development schemes; and ensuring Shaftesbury continues to adapt its portfolio to meet evolving occupier requirements.
Outside of work, Thomas enjoys exploring new neighbourhoods, eating al fresco and long walks with her family.
The Global Growth Leader
Sophie van Oosterom is global head of real estate, overseeing the growth of Schroders’ direct and indirect real estate business.
She most recently served as CEO and chief information officer of EMEA for CBRE Global Investors, where she was responsible for the oversight of all operations, investment strategy and performance, underwriting, and programme development in the region.
Van Oosterom also served as a member of CBRE Global Investors' global executive committee and global investment committee, and as chair of the European executive committee and European investment committee.
She began her real estate and finance career in 1996. Before joining CBRE Global Investors, she was a managing director and European head of asset management of the Lehman Brothers Real Estate Partners private equity funds (now Silverpeak Real Estate Partners), which held around $20B of assets under management at its peak.
The Affordable Advocate
Octavia Williams is the operations and compliance director at affordable housing developer Dolphin Living and is responsible for the company’s 800-unit portfolio.
This year, with furlough and redundancies meaning many could no longer afford their rent, Williams’ work has been more important than ever. This has involved a constant dialogue with residents who have found themselves in financial difficulty due to the pandemic. Williams has advocated an approach more typical of a social registered-provider landlord, allowing residents to build up rent arrears and putting in place bespoke payment plans to suit residents’ individual financial circumstances.
Williams has been focused on the long-term vision of the sector and recognises the value in investing now to ensure the sustainability of the sector in the future. In the last year, she has conducted a review of EPC ratings across the entire Dolphin Living estate, creating an action plan of quick wins and practical measures to improve energy efficiency on properties with a rating of below C over the next three years.
In addition, Williams has navigated issues around fire safety, successfully securing a grant from the Waking Watch Relief Fund.
Outside of work, Williams is a talented cold-water swimmer, frequently found in the Serpentine early in the morning. She also enjoys all water-based sports, such as competitive sailing, water skiing and scuba diving, plus mountain biking and skiing on land. After four years of study, she recently completed her governance qualification with the Chartered Institute of Governance and is now awaiting her result.
The Engagement Expert In Extremis
Bronny Wilson is a seasoned operator across commercial property, with more than a decade’s experience working in commercial real estate and proptech. As director and regional head of Equiem UK (the world’s largest tenant experience platform), Wilson has led the firm’s UK and Ireland team since its inception in 2017, having headed up client services and on-site staffing in Equiem’s Australian business for five years prior.
She spearheaded the company’s growth when she opened its first international office in the UK (currently its fastest-growing operation), overseeing the platform’s rollout across more than 20M SF of prime commercial space and helping grow platform registrations across the region to more than 30,000 users. Alongside leading Equiem’s growth strategy across the UK and Ireland, Wilson also manages the day-to-day operations of the ever-expanding UK team.
In 2021, Wilson oversaw the acquisition of property maintenance platform Vicinitee from British Land. The purchase doubled the size of Equiem’s UK business, and now serves some of the world's most prestigious buildings, including the Gherkin, The Shard and The Scalpel.
In addition to her work at Equiem, Wilson co-founded the UK chapter of the Women in PropTech association. The leading global organisation for women in proptech is dedicated to promoting thought leadership, tackling diversity issues and connecting brilliant individuals working in the sector globally.
Before joining Equiem, Wilson came from a background in the commercial property industry, most recently with JLL, where she was focused on helping landlords improve the occupier experience by implementing a customer experience strategy. Wilson's understanding of customer service stems from the early years of her career when, she was a chief stewardess for mega yachts stationed around the world.
The Self-Styled Elder Stateswoman
Mickola Wilson is an elder stateswoman of the property industry who has worked in fund management for more than 30 years. Former head of Guardian Properties and CEO of Teesland plc, she now has her own investment management consultancy, Seven Dials Fund Management, and a portfolio of nonexecutive roles.
These roles include nonexecutive director of Palace Capital, a property REIT investing in the regions, and nonexecutive director of KMPT, part of the NHS, which has responsibility for mental health. Wilson is also an active member of the Chartered Surveyors Livery and leads the fundraising for its "adopt a student" scheme, which provides support for students from disadvantaged backgrounds entering the property industry.
The highlight of 2021 has been the launch of the Mailbox REIT, the first company to be listed on the new IPSX stock exchange where investors can buy shares in a single building. Wilson is one of the three nonexecutives directors of the company, which owns the famous Mailbox in Birmingham, managed by M7.
The excitement of the IPO was matched when Wilson became a granny, with the birth of her first grandchild Oliver.
The Homelessness Hero
Josie Parsons is the Chief Executive of Local Space, the charitable housing association with 2,670 properties in nine local authority areas across London and Essex, which specialises in the provision of high-quality, settled accommodation for key workers and those facing homelessness.
Parsons' oversight of a significant portfolio of much-needed homes comes at a time when the massive social and economic cost of the homelessness crisis is taking a huge toll on London, with some 60,080 households now homeless and living in temporary accommodation, according to MHCLG figures.
Parsons assumed this role in late 2019 with a vision to ensure that Local Space delivers its growth strategy and achieves the best possible customer experience as well as being a great place to work by becoming a ‘people first’ organisation.
In addition, she also oversees the company’s partnerships with key local authority partners. Over the last year, Parsons helped secured several deals with local authority partners including a £7M GLA grant to convert 132 homes across the London Borough of Newham to Affordable Rent homes with rents set at the Mayor’s London Affordable Rent Benchmark.
This year, she was instrumental in securing significant levels of funding from MetLife Investment Management, which will enable Local Space to continue to play its role by supporting its ongoing growth strategy and refinancing existing credit facilities.
Her leadership has enabled Local Space to be the only housing association to be awarded the Standard and Poor credit rating of AA- for a unprecedented fifth consecutive year. The rating reflects continued confidence in Local Space’s role as a long-term investor in settled housing for key workers and those facing homelessness.
Parsons joined Local Space as an experienced Finance Director in 2018 to focus on finance and treasury management having previously held broader Resources Director roles.
Outside of work Parsons is a keen yoga practitioner, and also enjoys spending time with family and pets. She has been designing a new garden during the pandemic year, and is also a fan of Star Trek, Star Wars and any other sci-fi works of fiction and film.