Yvonne Ambo joined Legal & General Investment Management Real Assets in 2018 and is the senior transactions manager working with the head of annuity transactions on long-income real estate investments for pension funds. Her brief is sourcing and executing suitable acquisitions whilst embracing sustainable development initiatives through responsible investing and forming strong collaborative partnerships.
Ambo has been engaged in more than £1B in transactions at LGIM Real Assets, including some key landmark pre-let development fundings involving regeneration, income strips and sale-and-leaseback structures. She has worked with developers and with public sector and corporate partners. Prior to joining LGIM, she held the position of investment manager at M&G and began her property career at Knight Frank.
Ambo is a Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors ambassador and an advocate for talented young people, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds entering the property profession.
She is also co-chair of LGIM Real Assets' gender balance committee, helping to inspire and bring together ideas from the team and working in collaboration with other diversity, equity and inclusion groups to progress policy and change.
In her spare time, she enjoys long hikes and attending sporting events with her son, and she is interested in classic cars. She mentors young people interested in property professions, providing guidance and support. This has included the LGIM Mentoring Programme with Kingston University, the Beyond Barriers mentor scheme and the 1,000 Black Interns scheme.
The London Youth Leader
Sue Asprey Price leads the work dynamics business for JLL in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and sits on the unit's global executive board. Asprey Price and her team deliver professional services that help businesses adapt and add value to the changing workplace. The division’s range of services has increased to include everything from workplace strategy and design to transaction and account management.
Asprey Price started her career in Canada, and she has worked in international roles throughout her career. She once ran her own business in the data centre sector, which she then sold to Digital Realty Trust.
She lives in London with her husband and two children. She is heavily involved with supporting diversity and inclusion in the workplace and sits on the Global Institute of Women in Leadership board. She is also a trustee for London Youth, an organisation focused on improving the lives of young people. She loves outdoor life and activities with a competitive spin, having played rugby for Canada. Asprey Price continues to push extremes with long-distance swimming.
The Investment Innovator
Alexa Baden-Powell is the senior investment manager working in the investment team at GPE, the London-focused real estate investment trust. She has a strong interest in furthering diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in the industry, particularly getting more women into investment.
Internally, she co-chairs two GPE employee impact groups: one for women and another for parents and carers. Externally, she last year co-founded the Women’s Investment Network with Ella Johnson at CBRE. The forum offers a specific capital markets focus and the opportunity to share ideas and experiences, upskill and grow networks.
The launch event was held in September 2022 and featured an interview and Q&A session with Helen Hare, GPE’s director of projects, followed by drinks and canapés. The group held a more informal Christmas lunch in December and another networking dinner in April. In June, the network held an event at CBRE’s offices, interviewing Ilaria del Beato, CEO at Frasers, who spoke about her career. The network is about 30 strong, including agents and clients, and it is growing.
In her spare time, Baden-Powell loves skiing and snowboarding, as well as spending time at her house in the Portuguese countryside.
The Legal Leader
As general counsel, Sarah Birchley leads the Quintain in-house legal team, overseeing legal matters and advising the directors and senior management team.
As chair of Quintain’s gender equality network, Birchley launched a pilot mentoring scheme across the business. Taking advice from companies with a more established programme and calling upon her own experience as a seasoned mentor to young lawyers across the real estate industry, the programme has been a success over its first six months. Quintain has now opened the opportunity for the second cohort of mentors and mentees.
Before joining Quintain, Birchley was a director in development and investment at Gowling WLG specialising in real estate development and financing. She has worked in the real estate sector for more than 20 years and has a range of experience across the residential and commercial sectors, advising developers, investors and lenders.
When Birchley is not at work, she can be found on the netball court or embroiled in complex negotiations with her 7-year-old daughter on the appropriateness of crop tops and bubble gum.
The Progressive Pioneer
Sue Brown is managing director for Real Estate Balance, a campaigning organisation working to improve diversity and inclusion in the real estate industry. Brown has four decades of business, property and economic development experience.
Brown joined Real Estate Balance in April 2020 from London First, where she was executive director with responsibility for property, planning, the environment and development since 2016. She started her career in government, serving as a senior adviser in a variety of high-profile roles before going on to establish her own real estate consultancy.
Brown was a driving force behind the launch of MIPIM, the world’s largest real estate investment conference that takes place each year in Cannes, and she was the co-founder and co-chair of REWIRE, the network for women in property. She has been an ally for other diversity and inclusivity organisations in the space, including Black Professionals in Construction, Freehold LGBT and Pathways to Property.
In her spare time, Brown is a very frustrated (at the moment) Chelsea season ticket holder. She loves spending time with her grandson and is looking forward to her second grandson being born very soon.
The Network Builder
Anna Budd is co-head of legal at Hines, overseeing a global team of more than 40 people. She joined the firm in 2017 and now has prime responsibility for all legal operations outside of the U.S., spanning Europe and Asia-Pacific, as well as overseeing legal support for Hines’ global investment management business.
Budd has significant experience in real estate investments, developments, financing and corporate transactions, as well as with real estate funds and joint ventures.
Budd plays a key role in Hines’ diversity, equity and inclusion efforts, most notably through her role as co-chair of the One Hines Women’s Network. She has been instrumental in expanding the network and delivering long-lasting change, with a focus on developing a formalised long-term structure to aid inclusion, establish dedicated knowledge-sharing committees and drive other activities to expand the OHWN and empower women across the business to share stories and achievements.
She is part of Hines’ mentoring programme, mentoring several women inside and outside the company.
Budd strives to be a positive female role model to her two daughters. She lives with her family in rural Hampshire where she enjoys walks in the countryside with her energetic cocker spaniel and spending time with friends and family.
In The Speakers' Corner
Andrea Carpenter is the co-founder of Diversity Talks Real Estate. She established DTRE, then Women Talk Real Estate, with Viktorija Grubesic in 2017 after they became frustrated with the lack of female voices onstage at industry events.
The two recognised the power of the stage to raise the visibility of women, both for their own career progress and to provide more role models, challenging stereotypes about what women do in the industry. Event organisers have used DTRE’s platform to issue more than 1,200 invitations for speaking opportunities to women and other underrepresented professionals.
Carpenter has been integral in training women to get stage-ready, leading courses on panel discussion training, moderating and other leadership skills. DTRE sessions have been attended by more than 500 female professionals. In 2023, Carpenter was awarded the ULI European Trish Barrigan Award for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
Carpenter began her career as a journalist, working at Property Week and as editor of EuroProperty. She then worked for industry bodies like the Urban Land Institute and INREV in Amsterdam. In 2018, her book about the history of the modern European property industry, High Rise and Fall, was published by Routledge.
Outside of work, Carpenter is a volunteer at Surrey Docks Farm, a working city farm and charity on the banks of the River Thames in south-east London. Here, she works in the farm shop and is happy to sell farm produce, jam and animal feed for her favourite goats.
The Real Assets Revolutionary
Jas Chahal has more than 20 years of investment management experience, joining Legal & General Investment Management in 2018. She is head of strategic change in real assets and sits on the real assets management committee responsible for driving business strategy and transformation of the platform, which encompasses real estate, private credit and infrastructure.
Chahal is also chief of staff to the global head of real assets, Bill Hughes, and is chair of its diversity and inclusivity committee, a position she has held since the end of 2021. She also mentors young women who are interested in joining the investment management industry through a programme called Mentorloop.
The D&I group aims to drive better understanding across the platform of how D&I brings both diversity of thought and positive impact. The group is committed to bringing diversity and inclusivity to the real assets industry and promoting the many career opportunities available.
The group includes four subcommittees focused on gender, ethnicity, health and wellbeing, and socioeconomic mobility, with each network raising awareness internally and externally. Among the initiatives happening within each of these work streams are launching a bursary scheme, driving gender balance and opening up the industry to people from socioeconomic mobility backgrounds.
Outside the world of work, Chahal likes to swim and recently discovered the local outside lido, which has had a positive impact on her work-life balance. She also likes to spend time with her husband and two sons, who make sure she is always busy.
The Development Doyenne
Angel Chen is a senior development manager at Get Living, leading large-scale mixed-use projects in and around central London. In the creation of new neighbourhoods, she aims to drive value by instilling elements of sustainability, efficiency, placemaking and connection into all aspects of the scheme, whether it is in the residential accommodation, retail or public realm.
With an education in urban planning, Chen is passionate about the many opportunities and benefits to be leveraged in promoting and integrating principles of diversity, equity and inclusion in the property industry. She uses her platform as a mentor in the University College of Estates Management and DiverseCity Surveyors' programme and as a committee member on ULI Next’s board to ensure other women have a voice and an impact on the future of the built environment, including ethnic minorities and those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Previously, Chen worked at JLL, consulting on development proposals across a range of assets, including education, industrial and residential. She serves as co-chair of the Working Parents Network.
When she isn’t visiting construction sites and compelling investors to fund her proposals, she loves traveling, practicing yoga and spending time with her family.
The Ability Enablers
Vanessa Curtis is a chartered surveyor with more than 16 years of industry experience working with corporate occupiers of real estate, advising on portfolio strategy, transactions, data governance and risk mitigation. She is a fellow for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and sits on its governing council.
At CBRE, Curtis is a senior director in the firm's technology, media and telecoms business and chairs CBRE’s Ability Network, which she founded with a colleague. The network is now over 700 people strong across the UK and Ireland, with new branches in the U.S. and Singapore. She also sits on CBRE’s UK and Ireland DEI steering committee.
Curtis is founder and chair of Ability in Real Estate, or AbilityRE, a nonprofit organisation founded to drive inclusion, awareness and employment opportunities for people with disabilities, neurodiversity, mental health or long-term health conditions within the real estate and built environment sectors. AbilityRE works with organisations and governing bodies across real estate, including those involved in surveying, planning, architecture, construction, facilities management and engineering.
Curtis has ADHD and is the proud parent and advocate for two neurodiverse sons. She was listed as a top "neurodiversity evangelist" in 2023 by neurodiversity advocacy group ND by Design. In her spare time, she serves as the DEI ambassador for the CoreNet Global UK chapter and sits on the DisabilityIn EMEA council. She coaches U7 and women's football, has two dogs and a snake, and loves swimming and scuba diving.
Jennifer Offord is co-founder of AbilityRE and the Neurodiversity in Planning network. Open to all, these groups support allyship, share good practices and grow conversations about inclusive design across the built environment professions.
An AchieveAbility dyslexia advocate, Offord sits on the Olympic Park built environment access panel. She was part of steering groups for the British Standard Institute's PAS 6463: Design for the Mind and the Royal Institute of British Architects' Inclusive Design Overlay. These initiatives are aimed at changing the way the property industry thinks about neurodiversity throughout project life cycles.
In her day-to-day work, Offord is a senior development manager at Enfield Council’s Meridian Water project and a Public Practice associate.
Offord was recognised as an EG Future Leader in 2021 and a Woman of Influence by The Planner in 2022.
Offord completed an MBA in real estate and construction at the University College of Estate Management. Through this, she developed an open model of inclusion for neurodiversity that uses gaming and codesign to foster communication and support sensory and information processing differences within project teams. The model shifts the perception of accessibility, creating an environment in which everyone in the team has a role to play in reducing barriers to inclusion.
The Equality Initiator
Madeleine Davitt is the senior partner and co-founder of Davitt Jones Bould, a national law firm focused on real estate. Since its foundation, it has provided specialist real estate legal advice to governmental bodies, institutional investors, developers and occupiers, as well as supporting other law firms.
Davitt has been an expert property solicitor for over 35 years. Prior to co-founding DJB, she worked as a government property lawyer. She is regularly highlighted by Chambers and Partners and is in the Legal 500 Hall of Fame. Her practice focuses on the firm’s growing government client base, including the UK Health Security Agency, the Office for National Statistics and the Royal Parks.
Davitt is passionate about strategically orchestrating the firm’s special-interest groups, including those centred around environmental, social and governance standards, planning and universities. She is a mentor to both the lawyers and other commercial professionals at DJB.
She has worked hard to achieve a 50-50 ratio between male and female partners at the company, a rarity in the industry. She is also a pioneer of wellbeing in the workplace, enabling DJB lawyers to work from home as standard for over 15 years, creating an inclusive workspace for parents, carers and those with mobility issues — groups that are often left out of the diversity conversation.
In her spare time, Davitt enjoys reading, poetry and has a love of art and art history. She is passionate about people. She loves The Archers but hates the new theme music. She has four dogs — Basil, Berty, Preston and Special Penny. She also has three daughters and a love for life.
The CREW Coordinator
Emily D’Enrico is a development manager and project director at M3 Consulting. With more than 15 years’ experience across both private and public sectors, including residential and life sciences, D'Enrico has worked on projects ranging from Salvation Army church halls and homeless hostels to complex mixed-use masterplans.
Her project experience includes the East Bank cultural and education masterplan at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park with the London Legacy Development Corp.; a 14-acre, residential-led masterplan in Nine Elms with M3 Consulting, on behalf of Royal Mail; and the Whitechapel Road Development, a roughly 1M SF life sciences masterplan on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS Property Services. D’Enrico is the project lead for a masterplanned infrastructure project in Ebbsfleet for the Ebbsfleet Development Corp.
D’Enrico is an integral member of M3’s DEI and ESG committees and has a passion for championing and supporting women in commercial real estate as well as a hunger for learning.
In 2020, she was a mentee in the inaugural CREW UK Connects mentoring programme, which provided an opportunity to meet mentors and expand her network during lockdown. Inspired by her experience, she joined CREW’s mentoring committee in 2021, volunteering her time and using her project management expertise to plan the next three iterations of the programme. In 2022, D’Enrico stepped up to programme lead, managing the team of CREW UK.
Outside of work, D’Enrico is a keen hockey player, having played through every winter for nearly 30 years. Whilst retirement is frequently mooted, it’s one thing that she’s not followed through on — yet.
The Awareness Raiser
Claire Ezekwe is a senior associate director at Apache Capital, responsible for providing legal expertise to support the company’s growing platform of multifamily and single-family housing assets as well as project-managing transactions from acquisition to financing and disposal.
She joined Apache in 2021 from Trowers & Hamlins, where she spent more than eight years leading a range of real estate-backed transactions in the private and public sectors and negotiating multimillion-pound financing arrangements, including investment and development loans, private placements and bonds.
Ezekwe is passionate about diversity, equity and inclusion and champions the S in Apache’s ESG initiatives, including promoting international days and awareness. She acts as co-chair of the firm’s charity committee. During her time in private practice, she was a member of her firm's diversity committee and chaired its race, ethnicity and heritage network for six years, championing strategies to promote diversity and inclusion as well as celebrate the rich cultural heritage of people within the business.
Ezekwe has mentored numerous young women pursuing law careers, acted as a foundation governor at a sixth form college in south London and is a trustee of a UK charity supporting a children’s home in Tanzania.
The Family-Friendly Fund Manager
With nearly 20 years of real estate experience, Christina Forrest joined CBRE Investment Management five years ago and is a managing director and head of its Europe, the Middle East and Africa value-add strategies unit. Forrest is responsible for the day-to-day management of value-add fund portfolios with a peak value of €3.2B across Europe. She leads strategy for the funds, manages the team to implement it and liaises with investors.
Forrest is passionate about fostering and developing women working in real estate. As CBRE IM’s lead for the CBRE Women’s Network, she was instrumental in setting up Connecting Women’s Circles, a mentoring programme that gives women the opportunity to network, connect and share experiences.
With a commitment to increasing diversity in the real estate industry, Forrest is a mentor to a number of women. A working mum, she is an active member of the CBRE IM family-friendly network — a forum for men and women to learn how to juggle work and family life through shared experience.
The mountains and all things active are Forrest's passions, and she loves nothing more than skiing with her family and friends on holiday. Time with her children is most precious, but when possible, you’ll find Forrest either on a bike, wearing boxing gloves, blowing off steam at the gym or whipping up the perfect marble cake at home.
The Refugee Recruiter
As a senior associate in Blackstone’s London-based real estate team, Cristina Grecu is one of a handful of professionals focused on managing the firm’s hospitality portfolio in Europe, including further expanding it through acquisitions and joint ventures.
Blackstone is the largest owner of hospitality real estate globally. Grecu is actively involved in the management of its investments in Bourne Leisure, a prominent UK domestic holiday business, and in Hotel Investment Partners, one of Europe’s largest resort platforms, with locations in Spain, Greece, Italy and Portugal.
Grecu is a supporter of diversity and inclusion initiatives. She is a member of Blackstone's Women's Initiative task force in Europe, organising programmes to foster connections throughout the business, as well as actively participating in recruitment and mentorship efforts.
She has arranged Blackstone’s sponsorship of a real estate networking event with about 150 participants in partnership with Ladies in Real Estate, and she believes it is crucial to promote internal diversity initiatives. Grecu is also spearheading a refugee-hiring initiative across Blackstone’s European hospitality portfolio, supporting the hiring, training and integration of Ukrainian refugees.
In her free time, Grecu enjoys off-piste skiing — picking up on her junior European champion days — or putting her extensive fine arts training to use by creating unique pieces for friends and family.
The Community Champion
Group Community Advocacy Lead Kate Honey is responsible for delivering on Landsec’s Community Charter across all of the FTSE 100 company’s development or regeneration pipeline projects.
She argues that no project can be truly successful if there is not a full understanding of the socioeconomic cultures and diversity of local neighbourhoods. This requires extensive research, onboarding only the most organic, considered and community-centric organisations, and linking engagement programmes to Landsec’s diversity and inclusivity strategy — meaning it must be embedded across the company and linked to performance objectives.
Her main priority is unpicking the “holding developers to account” narrative, working out how the industry can fundamentally improve diversity and properly include local people in the process of creating and transforming places instead of only engaging for the six months ahead of planning submission.
Before joining Landsec, she led engagement strategies for The Crown Estate, Related Argent, Berkeley St George and British Land as a consultant. She was an adviser to Commonplace during the pandemic, supporting its active travel campaign, and helped foster the early growth of the Quality of Life Foundation. She also co-founded social enterprise Allot, aimed at increasing charities' access to affordable spaces by utilising vacant and underused office and retail spaces.
As a born-and-bred Londoner, she enjoys exploring the city, particularly the classic boozers, as well as historic buildings and the generous supply of south London parks. She dreams of the day all golf courses are turned into public meadows and wild swimming lakes.
The Pay-Gap Pioneer
Stephanie Hyde is UK CEO and incoming CEO of markets advisory across Europe, the Middle East and Africa at JLL.
Hyde joined the global real estate consultancy firm in 2021 following more than 25 years in professional services. Her responsibilities include driving strategy and results for JLL’s leasing advisory and property management businesses as well as delivering a connected approach for clients across the UK and EMEA regions.
In 2022, Hyde was instrumental in implementing JLL’s Thrive programme in response to the realisation that career progression and retention was a challenge for ethnically underrepresented employees. The coaching programme focuses on engaging people approaching director or senior level, where representation tends to drop off. To date, 120 people have participated in Thrive, and 22% have moved roles internally. This programme was recognised by Bisnow as part of its Rise Initiative.
JLL introduced a dedicated menopause policy in October 2022, recognising that an increasing number of people are working through and beyond perimenopause and menopause, and the company had a responsibility to provide practical and cultural support. Hyde helped champion the effort on World Menopause Day via a JLL-hosted webinar featuring a range of experts from across the industry.
Since then, a monthly forum has arisen to discuss the topic and connect people to share experiences and provide support.
Under Hyde’s leadership, JLL’s pay gaps in the UK have narrowed. The mean gender pay gap in 2022 was 18.9%, down from 20.5% in 2021 and 25.2% in 2017 when it first began reporting these figures in the UK. The mean ethnicity pay gap in 2022 was 14.3%, a reduction from 16.3% in 2021 and 2020 when JLL UK began reporting those numbers.
She is also driving progress toward JLL UK gender and ethnicity targets set in 2021 to address opportunity imbalance.
Outside of work, Hyde enjoys reading, swimming, spending time with her family and walking her two dogs.
The Grad Made Good
Ana Klein joined real estate specialist law firm Maples Teesdale as a trainee in 2003 and became a partner in its real estate team in 2017. She is co-head of DEI at the firm, a committee member of RE:Women, a member of Real Estate Balance and a registered speaker with Diversity Talks Real Estate.
Klein’s work spans the legal and real estate industries, both of which traditionally lack diversity. She is passionate about the need for diversity and genuine inclusion, and she is a keen advocate of underrepresented groups raising their visibility professionally. She also advocates for the benefits of a strong network at every career stage.
Her first experience of public speaking was moderating a panel discussion from the centre of a boxing ring at Bisnow’s inaugural Women Leading Real Estate event.
Klein is also head of environmental, social and corporate governance at her firm, which is recognised as driving the ESG agenda within the commercial real estate legal sector. She is a leading expert on green leases, a member of the British Property Federation's Green Lease Working Group and a frequent speaker on ESG at numerous industry events.
“She commits time to mentoring younger women within Maples Teesdale and the wider industry,” Diversity Talks Real Estate founder Andrea Carpenter said. “She also often brings women together from across her network for informal events, recognising the importance of supporting and connecting women in the industry.”
When not working, Klein can be found watching her sons play football and listening to true crime podcasts. She has started to enjoy gardening, albeit with mixed success.
The Cross-Industry Innovator
Head of Talent Teresa Kotlicka is a relative newcomer to the industry.
Starting at Patrizia in June 2021, her partnership with the company’s inaugural ED&I Council transformed the company’s interest into meaningful progress, creating a culture where people feel included, represented and valued equitably. That intentional spotlight on education inspired a dedicated ED&I curriculum accessible to all Patrizia staff, an inclusive leadership program for the senior leadership team and the formation of new employee resource groups.
Patrizia’s council also sponsored a cross-industry mentorship programme with Moving Ahead, which shortlisted the new group as one of its Most Dynamic Mentoring Organisations. To further embed measurable long-term targets, the firm initiated a robust data collection journey and participated in extensive external benchmarking.
Insights were first collected via focus groups in three languages and will be followed by a comprehensive engagement survey this year. Together, these efforts will inform refreshed representation targets and a road map to get there.
To lead such work, Kotlicka relies on her love of new challenges and 15 years of career experience across a range of industries — sustainable design, luxury products, consumer goods and entertainment. Her time at Sony Music and Kellogg’s was particularly influential in shaping her drive for equitable impact.
Keen to make a meaningful difference where she works and lives, Kotlicka is also a Scout leader for 1st Molesey Jaguar Sea Scout Group. Every week, she is at the Scout hut or on the Thames helping 9-year-olds develop life skills.
The In-House Inspirations
Ilda Krekurti is an associate in Cushman & Wakefield’s UK and Ireland analytics team based in London. She joined the company in 2017 and spent the first four years in valuations before joining the central analytics team.
Passionate about making important changes, Krekurti leads various groups at Cushman & Wakefield, including its EMEA Innovation Network, which collaborates on innovation and change initiatives at the firm.
After leading its ethnicity and culture DEI programme starting in 2018, she began co-leading it with Victoria Smith in 2021. The programme works to implement initiatives and policy changes that ensure a more diverse, fair and inclusive workplace. This has included the launch of a new bank holidays swap policy, a scheme that enables flexibility around cultural and religious holidays.
Krekurti has organised several events to educate and inform the business on diverse cultures and religions, including an unconscious bias event for colleagues and clients to uncover strategies that tackle them in the workplace.
Outside work, Krekurti keeps busy and active with her 2-year-old, who loves to get messy. She loves food and drink, especially sushi, coffee and bellinis, and recently turned her hand to pottery.
Victoria Smith is a chartered surveyor in Cushman & Wakefield’s development consultancy team based in Birmingham. She joined the firm in 2017 on a degree apprenticeship from sixth form and completed it in 2022.
Since joining the company, Smith has taken an active role in Inspire, Cushman & Wakefield’s internal DEI programme. For the last two years, she has also taken on the role of co-lead for the ethnicity and culture pillar.
Smith worked closely with co-lead Krekurti to introduce a policy that would allow colleagues to substitute traditional fixed UK bank holidays for alternative dates that had greater cultural or religious significance to them. Successfully implementing the new policy involved amending the firm’s annual leave policy to give employees this formal entitlement from the start of 2023.
She has helped to organise several other DEI initiatives, including a Ramadan fasting challenge fundraiser. Colleagues were invited to replicate Ramadan fasting over a 24-to-48-hour period to raise awareness of the difficulties and challenges faced during this period. Money that would have ordinarily been spent on food during this period was donated to national food bank charity The Trussell Trust.
Outside of her Inspire role, Smith is an advocate of apprenticeships in the real estate profession, which she regularly supports through volunteering programmes and school visits.
In her spare time, she is a keen foodie and is passionate about travelling.
The Diaspora Driver
Customer Propositions Director Georgina Manly is responsible for the creative direction, strategy and delivery of new and enhanced guest experiences across Landsec’s retail portfolio. She has created customer experiences and brand propositions for FTSE 100 and Fortune 500 companies in a number of industries, including hospitality, retail and workplace.
In addition to her main role, she advocates the advancement of ethnically diverse people in her workplace, industry and in the communities she works with. She enjoys creating a platform for diversity to be celebrated while simultaneously promoting positive action for equity, inclusion and diversity.
As chair of Landsec’s diaspora network, she advises partners and colleagues to design inclusively, works closely with asset teams to encourage more diverse leasing and experiences, and collaborates internally and externally to educate about and celebrate diversity and intersectionality.
Manly also contributed to the development of Landsec's diversity and inclusivity strategy and supported the creation of a new diverse shadow board model for the business.
She serves as a committee member for Black Women in Real Estate. Here, she focuses on partnerships and strategy and has helped define what BWRE is as well as its values, objectives and membership model. New cross-sector partnerships have been formed that led to the advancement of Black women in the industry.
In her spare time, she enjoys going to art galleries, participating in a book club (she enjoys dystopian fiction), dancing to Detroit techno and Chicago house, and swimming at her local gym, which was built in the 1800s.
The Social Mobility Savant
Alison Mennecier is a director in Savills' valuation team and co-chair of the company’s social mobility group. Earlier jobs included working at an architecture practice and for Channel Tunnel contractors, a role that continued throughout the project's lifespan.
Mennecier was a founding member of the firm's social mobility group and has contributed to the wider diversity and inclusivity steering group for over 10 years.
She proposed and piloted the first apprenticeship programme at Savills, which has since won Apprenticeship Provider of the Year at the Personnel Today awards and the Rate My Apprenticeship Award.
The strategic partnership she built with Rethink Food has offered Savills colleagues volunteering opportunities, funded 34 food towers within schools and educated children about food security.
Mennecier acts as a champion for women by providing coaching and mentoring as an accredited International Coaching Federation coach. Her goal is enabling women to be more confident and better prepared for life events such as maternity leave or preparing for promotion or new leadership roles.
Other charitable partnerships spearheaded by Mennecier include The Big House Theatre Co., which works with young people leaving care; London Youth Choirs, which provides subsidised and free places to young people aged 7 to 23 across all London boroughs; and the Back Up Trust, a charity providing support for clients with spinal cord injuries.
Mennecier speaks English and French, and she enjoys travelling, gardening, and spending time with family and friends. She originally trained as a chef, so she loves cooking and eating.
The Voice Of Youth
Azzees Minott is director, facilitator and chief operating officer at 2-3 Degrees. The social enterprise is committed to inspiring and empowering young people to fulfil their potential by engaging in confidence-building and skills-enhancing workshops and programmes across the UK.
Since March 2016, 2-3 Degrees has worked with more than 9,000 young people across the country, including reaching over 500 of them online during pandemic restrictions.
2-3 Degrees works with commercial property companies to ensure they engage and actively involve the youth voice in development. Minott then introduces those young people to the world of real estate and potential careers in the industry, broadening both the voices shaping developments and the future pipeline of the industry.
Politically, Minott was a prominent member of the Green Party, becoming chairperson of the national Greens of Colour group. During her leadership of the group, membership increased by more than 100%, and it made national news when it helped pass motions in councils across the UK.
Minott has co-authored two influential reports that helped change the narrative around the provision of youth services in London. She also was area manager in the Housing and Land department of the Greater London Authority and supported new affordable housing developments in Wandsworth and Bexley when leading the government's £290M Housing Infrastructure Fund.
The Reverse Mentor
Chloe Prince is an asset manager at Catella APAM and joined the business in April 2022 after starting her career at Savills.
Prince completed a part-time master's whilst working full time, qualifying as a chartered surveyor. She now manages a range of assets, from a mixed-use scheme that includes office and build-to-rent to a large regional shopping centre.
She is passionate about increasing racial and socioeconomic diversity in the sector, believing that there is an opportunity to attract talent from different backgrounds who are unaware of the opportunities in real estate.
In 2020, she raised £1,630 for the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust, which opens connections for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. She also led an initiative at her previous place of employment involving the Kickstart Scheme, a job creation initiative for 16- to 24-year-olds on universal credit. One intern from the programme subsequently landed a graduate role at a leading real estate company.
Since joining Catella APAM, Prince has been involved in several panels. She was a keynote speaker for the Mayor's Fund for London reverse mentorship panel and chaired the British Council for Offices panel on social equity in development.
As a member of the BCO NextGen committee, she launched a partnership with Career Ready, a social mobility charity, that involves Smith and other members providing career talks in schools to increase awareness of the industry in more deprived areas of London. Prince is also an advocate for environmental, social and corporate governance, focusing on the social impact that buildings have on communities.
The Boundary Breaker
QNB Capital Europe Real Estate Associate Director Ally Reid is a chartered commercial property surveyor and registered valuer who is an advocate for reducing barriers to entry within the real estate sector.
She serves on the committee of Black Women in Real Estate, working to develop a road map to a diverse and inclusive industry, one that is equipped to meet the challenges of the sector.
To this end, she has collaborated with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors in delivering on a data-led strategy and quantifying the current demographic composition of the profession in partnership with the Supply Chain Sustainability School. She has appeared at a variety of industry events, panel discussions and as a keynote speaker across the private and public sectors.
In her downtime, Reid enjoys nature and is devoted to a challenging yoga practice.
The FAB Fund Manager
Olivia Ralston is the Chief Operating Officer of Boreal IM, a pan-European investment manager with a current focus on logistics through its €3B joint venture with Cadillac Fairview.
Ralston has over 15 years of experience in strategy and business development in digital media, including roles at Conde Nast, News Corp, and the Financial Times. She joined Boreal in 2022 as COO, with an initial focus on HR, IT, company policies and facilities but has since expanded her remit to maternity cover for Boreal’s head of ESG and IR.
Ralston has been instrumental in the development of Boreal’s company culture, with a particular focus on management and training. She has set up the Females at Boreal committee, taken on leadership of the ESG steering group and initiated participation in the GAIN internship program. She is the penholder of Boreal’s official diversity, equity and inclusion policy and is responsible for its ESG agenda at both a portfolio and corporate level, being a firm believer in actions over words.
Her one and a half years of experience in real estate brings a unique perspective to investment management. As a self-described techno-enthusiast, she offers lessons from the digital media industry, welcomes new technologies such as ChatGPT, and seeks to strike the right balance between embracing change and avoiding hype.
Ralston is mostly busy raising her three kids, but also has a side-gig, Lifemin, that puts technology to use in making busy parents’ lives easier. She volunteers in her community, marches with Extinction Rebellion, keeps up with friends and family across many countries, and claims to enjoy too much Twitter.
The Invisible Disability Advocate
Ellie Sharpe is marketing and business development director for global architecture and design firm Perkins & Will's London studio.
Starting out as a professional ballerina at the English National Ballet, an injury resulting in two hip replacements before age 30 led Sharpe to reinvent herself in the built environment. An advocate for invisible disabilities, she raises awareness, promotes inclusivity and champions equal rights for those facing challenges not readily apparent to others.
Sharpe oversees Perkins & Will’s communications and bid teams, spearheading its Europe, the Middle East and Africa strategic business development. Her unique journey, rooted in vocational dance training, deviated from traditional education as she pursued her ambitions. A vocal diversity advocate, Sharpe challenges the notion that university is the exclusive route to professional success, recognising the transformative perspectives and contributions that varied backgrounds can bring.
Before joining Perkins & Will, Sharpe spent over six years at Landsec’s U+I before breaking into architecture and design.
She recently assumed an organisational committee position on the Perspectives Network, an inclusive event series providing a safe space for men, women, nonbinary individuals and those who identify outside traditional gender norms to engage in conversations about overlooked workplace themes. The initiative tackles topics like motherhood, men's mental health and fear of self-promotion, offering a platform for diverse voices and transformative dialogue.
Sharpe also represents Perkins & Will within the IDeA Network, a global collective that promotes inclusive approaches to sharing global experience; sits on CoreNet’s event committee; and holds a mentoring role within Perkins & Will’s Engage programme, which seeks to equitise skill-sharing across the practice.
The Disability Disruptor
Fiona Sullivan is an associate with Savills' development team in Reading and head of its disability group.
Prior to joining Savills through the graduate scheme, Sullivan worked in retail. She decided on a career change, starting a degree in design and innovation at the Open University, then completing a master's degree in spatial planning and innovation at Reading University.
Sullivan has dedicated five years to leading the disability group and was influential in Savills joining the Disability Confident scheme in 2018, driving the move toward Level 3 leader status.
Across the global business, she has spearheaded support for the United Nations’ International Day of Persons with Disabilities, sharing relevant content internally and externally across social media.
Within the UK, Sullivan has been instrumental in developing recruitment and training that provides reverse mentoring for senior team leaders and has led forums to drive conversations on disability, neurodiversity and mental health.
She has overseen adjustments for those facing barriers by moving kitchen utensils lower for wheelchair users, ensuring accessibility information about offices is available online for visitors and seeing that accessible training with laptops and other relevant devices is available at assessment centres.
Within the wider industry, Sullivan has presented to the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors Assessors to raise awareness on neurodiversity and written articles about inclusive workplaces and removing barriers for people with disabilities.
Apart from her commitment to diversity and inclusivity, she enjoys wild swimming, paddleboarding and practicing yoga.
The Excellent Executor
Throughout her career, Charlie Williams has specialised in marketing, brand and reputation management, influencing multiple stakeholders and advising at the board level. That is exactly what she is doing now at BNP Paribas Real Estate as head of marketing and communications.
Creating and implementing the company's diversity and inclusivity programme, Building Belonging, and joining its ED&I board to champion change have been career highlights. Per Williams, it has been a team effort, working with all areas of the business to make the company’s environment more inclusive and ensuring a career in property is accessible to all.
Williams has enjoyed working with in-house teams for some of the biggest names in property as well as in an agency environment, advising on media and brand. She has always tried to see the bigger picture and made it a priority to work with leadership teams to create and deliver diverse and equitable workplaces.
Williams sees herself as an ally and an advocate. As a parent of two, she is passionate about the opportunities that flexible working gives to families. She is also a big believer that it's not always about which school, which university or which route you take into a career. It's about hard work, passion and having the will to succeed. Her work mantra is “execute with excellence and care for the teams that you lead.”
Outside of work, she spends all her free time with her active family, racing around from football to ballet or from swimming to cricket. When she gets a moment to herself, she likes to paddleboard on the nearby Thames, relax doing yoga or, much less frequently now, play netball.
The Recruitment Revolutionary
Nina Zeilerbauer is the co-founder of the London real estate recruitment firm Madison Berkeley.
After more than 20 years in the real estate recruitment industry, Zeilerbauer had a vision. She wanted to do more for the industry by ensuring recruitment happens with equity, diversity and inclusion at the fore. Together with co-founder Clare Coe, she started Madison Berkeley and set out on a journey to change the face of real estate.
Within the first 18 months of trading, 50% of their placements were female. This was in a sector reporting 13% female representation at the time. Last year, Madison Berkeley teamed up with Black Women in Real Estate for the #IAMWOMAN campaign. The aim was to tackle the lack of Black women in the real estate sector, sparking conversations at the highest levels.
Zeilerbauer mentored Hanna Karpenko, a Ukrainian director of leasing who fled with her young son when war broke out. Karpenko came to the UK with no English and faced barriers getting into the industry she had worked in for over 15 years as a result. For the last six months, Zeilerbauer has supported her, introducing her to Landsec where she secured a three-month placement. This led to Karpenko working one day a week as a research analyst for Jamestown. Karpenko is now building her network with the hope of full-time employment.
Zeilerbauer continues to champion diverse recruitment in the industry.