Kally Kang-Kersey, chief people officer at essensys, gives her views on the property industry and shares her cultural recommendations

Kally Kang-Kersey

Kally Kang-Kersey

How did you join the property industry?

Very recently, when I joined essensys this year. I have worked in tech for 25 years and see clear synergies in the property industry as a transformative sector that is at the forefront of innovation.

What does your job entail now?

I am chief people officer at essensys and am responsible for creating the company’s people strategy, focusing on retention, new talent and culture – essentially, the full lifecycle of employees and positioning essensys as the employer of choice.

What do you like most about the property industry?

I have been interested in transformative industries. Over the last few years, the world has gone through significant change as a result of the pandemic; and the property industry can be at the forefront of that change, helping to define the future of working. I like that about the property industry – it is a changemaker and impacts everyone in the world. It goes beyond bricks and mortar, and is impacting changes around sustainability, working habits and wellbeing.

And what do you dislike most about it?

There are definitely challenges around creating a more inclusive environment, across all types of diversity. I believe that creating diversity within the workplace and across our communities is key to delivering the creative thinking that can create positive transformation.

What would you change about the property industry?

More diversity across the board.

What barriers or challenges have you overcome?

Throughout my career, and as a woman from an ethnic minority background, I have probably faced every micro-aggression there is. I always assume positive intent in my interactions at work, but it has not always been easy. In the early days of my career, people would say ‘you need to get a seat at the table’, but at that point I was just trying to get through the door.

I believe everyone has different experiences and I do feel that things are changing for the better, but there are definitely more barriers to knock down.

What are you most proud of in your career?

Throughout my career, I have been a part of different transformations – whether it is integrating teams following high-profile acquisitions or working with individuals who have found success in their careers. I have mentored more than 280 people in different guises, helping them with different stages of their careers, with 10% going on to work at leading companies or senior management roles. While I know their success is, of course, due to more than my mentoring, I am proud to be a part of their journey.

What do you value in people?

Differences: these can play out in so many different ways, but different ways of thinking help challenge the norm and bring about positive change. I value individual creative thinking, curiosity and a collaborative mindset as a part of this.

What advice would you give someone starting a career in the property industry?

In general, I would advise people to think outside the box. Definitely respect the status quo but feel emboldened to challenge it.