The representation of black women within the real estate industry is very low. The #IAMWOMAN campaign aims to raise awareness of the industry and attract young black women into it, as well as retain the few women already in it. As an industry Madison Berkeley believes we must ensure that the future built environment in this country reflects the society in which we live. As part of the #IAMWOMAN campaign we meet 5 black women working in Real Estate.
I was born in Walthamstow, and spent some time in both Highgate and Walthamstow. Finally, I moved to Essex where I have lived most of my life. I went to Forest School on the edge of Epping Forest and then onto The University of Reading where I studied for a BSC in Real estate Management with hopes of a further Masters in Urban Planning.
There is certainly a misconception that Property as a profession is just about ‘Location Location Location’ and yes I mean the TV show! Property as an industry encompasses a varied selection of practices, including surveying, investment/capital markets and ultimately, creativity! There is almost a role to suit anyone and whatever piques their interest. Currently, there are a multitude of agendas being pushed by both public and private bodies with heavy reliance on the built environment to improve communities, implement sustainability measures and improve wellbeing for future generations. Our industry is in an exciting but also crucial position to engage with these bodies to ensure these aspirations are met in efficient and effective ways.
When I was younger, I had hopes of becoming an Architect because I was fascinated with the design element of buildings. In the end, I chose Real Estate because I wanted to focus on understanding the life of a building from inception to completion. After University I worked as a Retail Graduate at a company called Levy Real Estate. I then went on to work for Marks and Spencer as an Asset Manager. At the time, M&S were in the midst of rejuvenating their Estate based on consumer trends and trading projections. My role included disposing and acquiring and strategic consultancy and tions. The role definitely encouraged me to improve on my communication skills. There were a lot of factors involved in opening and closing a store, including liaising with a number of stakeholders. Balancing and managing expectations became second nature and has definitely aided me in my role I have today.
I’ve always wanted to continue adding value to myself as a professional, and experience other areas of surveying to achieve the best fit, and sometimes that can take time. Corporate Real Estate was mentioned which at the time, I knew nothing about. It is multi-disciplinary but focuses on providing transactional expertise alongside other real estate specialists to deliver pragmatic results according to a specific strategy. Since COVID, there has been a massive push in consideration for measures such as Environmental and Social Governance (ESG), talent distribution and DE & I in the workplace. I could look at talent distribution across the UK, which could influence where a client would set up its next tech hub, but also could be assisting with improving a client’s incumbent estate through ESG measures. Our world is changing and client’s are also becoming more conscious that their buildings must represent and reflect the changes we’re seeing in people and the wider environment.
Think about your interests and I can guarantee you there is a role which can support them in the real estate industry. Talk to us and find out what we do. As a young black woman in real estate I want to ensure other young black women understand there is very much a place for them here despite the figures seemingly telling you a different story. There are organisations such as BWRE who will support you in this industry as well as real estate recruitment firms like Madison Berkeley who are always on hand to offer advice.