The moment has come. After months of deliberation by the RESI Senate, the Property Week editorial team, sponsor Cluttons and you, our readers, we can now unveil this year’s RESI Trailblazers.
So here it is – our list of almost 60 entrepreneurs, innovators and disruptors who are shaking up the UK residential sector.
Founder and chief executive, Travtus
What’s so trailblazing? Travtus is a London-based artificial intelligence research and development company that wants to automate property management by 2021 by developing data-driven products and services with a focus on machine learning. It has offices in the US, the UK and Singapore. Arya has gained experience in all facets of the real estate industry while developing the Travtus brand from its roots as a general contractor and developer into a global player. This has included creating a design and build construction company in Singapore with public and private sector contracts.
Mantra: “If your dream doesn’t scare you, it isn’t big enough.”
Divisional director, Stride Treglown
What’s so trailblazing? By promoting gender and diversity awareness in the industry, Bell, head of business development at architecture practice Stride Treglown, says she maximises her mantra of #standtall. Bell regularly chairs panel sessions at industry events. She is part of the #shapingfutureplaces task force and was named female mentor of the year in Hargreaves Lansdown’s South West Mentoring Awards 2019, and Personality of the Year in the Insider South West Property Awards 2018.
Mantra: “My mantra of #standtall is all about taking a deep breath and just going for it, especially if the ‘it’ is outside your comfort zone. Get stuck in – the industry has something for us all.”
Chief executive and founder, Apex Airspace
What’s so trailblazing? Bhatti is pioneering airspace development as a disruptive new asset class in housebuilding. Using offsite modular construction for speed and precision of delivery, Apex creates high-quality, affordable and private homes above existing buildings, which it enhances through refurbishment. In the past year, Apex has significantly expanded its pipeline and is in talks to develop more than 2,500 homes across London and key regional cities, with a target to build 10,000 by 2030. Bhatti has also built confidence in airspace development from a range of leading organisations, procuring more than £28m in funding from the BGF, Homes England and the mayor of London.
Mantra: “Imagine, create and innovate.”
MSc Advanced Home Futures Student, Teesside University
What’s so trailblazing? Bidgood graduated with a first-class degree in interior design before working in design for access and disability. She has returned to education to complete her masters degree and become a part of MOBIE – an educational charity set up to train individuals in the design and construction of homes, with the aim of ensuring that design standards are of the highest quality. Her design passions are sustainability, affordability and building fresh, dynamic communities.
Mantra: “Try everything, stretch your mind. Don’t be afraid to be bold. Don’t be afraid to be challenged. Trust your instincts.”
Jack Bidgood and Olly Thornton-Berry
What’s so trailblazing? Bidgood and Thornton-Berry co-founded Thirdfort in 2017 after a friend was defrauded out of £25,000 when buying a flat. The FCA-regulated firm offers property professionals data-driven tools to verify clients’ identity, validate the source of funds and facilitate movement of money. Clients of lawyers using Thirdfort receive a more digital transaction experience with added security and transparency during property exchanges. The founders have raised around £700,000 of capital (including backing from the founder of Zoopla); spent 10 weeks working with Mishcon de Reya on tech accelerator programme MDR LAB; and partnered with HM Land Registry through their Geovation programme.
Mantras: Thornton-Berry: “Platitudes and management consultants are overrated. Solve real problems.”
Chief executive, Abode Impact
What’s so trailblazing? Bowden is passionate about finding commercial solutions to social problems in the housing market and has been working to launch the UK’s first fund for wheelchair-accessible PRS. Before working in property, Bowden spent 10 years working with global purpose-led businesses – companies that aim to have a positive social impact. At Unilever, she was chief of staff for a global division of 350 people. She then led client relations at ethics organisation Blueprint for Better Business. Last year, Grant Thornton selected Bowden as one of its 100 ‘Faces of a Vibrant Economy’.
Mantra: “Think big, start small, learn fast.”
Chief of staff, Homes England
What’s so trailblazing? Casterton leads the executive office responsible for government relations, governance and communications. Working closely with the chief executive, she is part of the leadership team building a new approach to the delivery of new homes with Homes England’s partners. In 2017, Casterton led a government review into anti-doping and previously spent six years in Brazil leading PR and trade campaigns for the FCO. She has also run ministerial offices, was the first head of public policy at the Premier League and has worked in local government.
Mantra: “Grab the opportunity, enjoy the change and continually learn and adapt.”
Associate architect/WELL AP, Assael Architecture
What’s so trailblazing? Channon, a mental wellbeing ambassador at Assael, founded and chairs the Architects’ Mental Wellbeing Forum. He has lectured on wellbeing and architecture at various universities, in a 2018 TEDx talk and to businesses worldwide. His first book, Happy by Design: A Guide to Architecture and Mental Wellbeing, published last September, is an investigation into how our environment affects our mood and mental health.
Mantra: “Redefine how you measure success: put happiness and contentment above all other goals. And be nice to everyone – you never know what they’re going through.”
Associate director/head of sales and marketing, Cushman & Wakefield
What’s so trailblazing? Chia, who joined Cushman & Wakefield in 2015, has been responsible for driving sales and developing a variety of marketing strategies to promote prime London residential schemes. In recent years, she has overseen the sales and marketing operations for a number of high-profile London schemes and has worked closely with some of the UK’s top developers. Chia is a strong believer in the power of creative thinking in the workplace and embraces changes, innovations and new ideas.
Mantra: “Curiosity motivates me to dream, and dreams fuel my curiosity.”
Paul Clark, Richard Meier and James Scott
What’s so trailblazing? Stories is a new socially responsible property developer. The aim of the company is to build on the founders’ diverse track record in delivering complex, mixed-use regeneration development to create projects across the UK that maximise long-term economic, social and environmental impact for all stakeholders. Stories aims to use property development as a force for good, creating the capacity for communities that are happy, healthy and environmentally sustainable.
Mantras: Clark: “Make no small plans.” Meier: “Expect nothing and appreciate everything.” Scott: “Doing good is good business.”
Managing director, community utilities, Amber Energy
What’s so trailblazing? Clegg, who joined Amber Energy as finance and commercial director in 2017, is responsible for the day-to-day operation of services in the community utilities division, as well as strategic development. This includes implementing and managing the company’s pilot site with LIV Group as well as developing the proposition with other developers and operators. He is a qualified chartered accountant with 15 years’ experience at PwC, IQE and most recently in senior financial and commercial roles at the Royal Mint.
Mantra: “We’re all about making changes to build-to-rent communities that deliver a better, easier and greener experience with utilities.”
Consultant, SAY Property Consulting
What’s so trailblazing? Courage advises developers and investors across a number of specialisms and leads SAY’s retirement sector work. He has helped to increase the company’s client base by 400% in the past 24 months. Courage achieved a masters with distinction in real estate development and wrote his dissertation on giving retirees incentives to downsize their property. He recently co-authored the operations chapter for the Urban Land Institute’s Later Living with Care Guide.
Mantra: “The answers will come much more easily if you start with the right questions.”
Rory Cramer, Hannah Marsh and Oliver McGinn
What’s so trailblazing? HomeViews – a residential property review site is pitched as ‘TripAdvisor for new-build residential property’. Cramer has 13 years’ experience in residential development, having been a senior director at CBRE before becoming head of consultancy at Marsh & Parsons New Homes. Marsh is passionate about how consumer insight can solve problems to make brands better for their customers. She has 12 years of marketing experience, seven of which she spent at GlaxoSmithKline. McGinn has a wealth of experience in scaling up and running a business, creating long-term partnerships and managing multiple teams.
Mantras: Cramer: “Never take ‘no’ for an answer. If you believe in what you are doing, find another way. There usually is one.” Marsh: “If you don’t like the road you are walking, start paving a new one” – Dolly Parton. McGinn: “You can’t direct the wind but you can adjust the sails.”
Joseph Daniels and Alexander Fink
Founder and director, Project Etopia
What’s so trailblazing? Daniels founded modular housebuilder and offsite construction specialist Project Etopia in 2015 when he was just 23. His aim was to provide a turnkey solution to the housing crisis in the UK and around the world. This ambition was fuelled by the lack of security he faced as a young man, having been made homeless on four occasions. Project Etopia creates high-end but affordable smart homes using a panelised building system, with wall panels being built in a factory before being transported to sites for assembly. Its houses, apartments, school buildings and shanty town replacements can be built in under four weeks and far more cheaply than with traditional methods. Fink is a board adviser to Daniels and is helping to develop Project Etopia’s global strategy. He is also head of investor relations at British Pearl and the son of investor Lord Stanley Fink.
Mantras: Daniels: “Only by providing people and communities with the systems to enable change can we truly reverse the effects of poverty and climate change.” Fink: “Our family mantra, which is on our family crest, is ‘quisque faber suae fortunae’: every man is the architect of his own fortune. I am also a big believer that talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.”
Founder and chief executive, SearchSmartly
What’s so trailblazing? SearchSmartly is an award-winning proptech start-up that uses technology to help tenants find the best homes for their budget, lifestyle and location needs. It also provides these leads to some of the UK’s largest estate agencies, including Savills, JLL and Countrywide. Dar has a diverse background in technology, strategy and finance and previously worked in the world of Formula 1.
Mantra: “Pay it forward. It’s a simple mantra that encapsulates some of SearchSmartly’s core values. I strongly believe in going the extra mile for our partners and users to build relationships built on trust, because those are the relationships that really count.”
Founder, Daisy Chain
What’s so trailblazing? Entrepreneur and mother-of-three Deverell-Smith founded Daisy Chain in 2017 after working in recruitment for nearly 10 years. At the school gates, Deverell-Smith had far too many conversations about the lack of flexible working opportunities for parents. This was echoed with the candidates she spoke to at work. She knew there had to be a change in the way employers hired working parents – and so Daisy Chain was born. The subscription-based business does not charge employers per appointment; instead it creates a community for parents and employers to talk openly about what they can offer. Daisy Chain has more than 5,000 candidates and 100 employers, including Savills, Knight Frank, CBRE and Carter Jonas.
Mantra: “Flexible working is not an opt-in. Flexible working is the future of the workplace for everyone.”
Founder and chief executive, Concrene
What’s so trailblazing? During his PhD at the University of Exeter in 2018, Dimov invented and patented a new type of concrete reinforced with the most advanced nanomaterials. He left academia to join residential-focused boutique consultancy Cast, where he says he met like-minded, forward-thinking professionals, who are all advocates of modern methods of construction and aim to modernise the industry. Dimov is also a TED speaker and a commentator on Bloomberg TV.
Franz Doerr and Daniel Jeczmien
Co founders and chief executive/chief operating officer, flatfair
What’s so trailblazing? Doerr is the founder and chief executive of deposit-free affordable renting platform flatfair, inspired by the success of deposit replacement products in his native Germany. Doerr hopes that deposit-free renting will become the industry standard for landlords and agents to develop and improve relationships with tenants. He has a clear vision for how proptech start-ups like flatfair can bring much-needed innovation to the property sector. Jeczmien’s entrepreneurial vision has driven flatfair’s mission to revitalise the property sector through deposit-free renting. He is driven by an ambition for flatfair to simplify the often fraught rental process for both tenants and landlords. Jeczmien’s expertise in marketing, sales and operations has helped flatfair scale up its business exponentially.
Mantras: Doerr: “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.” Jeczmien: “Solve big problems. Imagine your legacy and do everything with that in mind.”
Group chief data and information officer, Places for People
What’s so trailblazing? Dove-Edwin manages Places for People’s technology function and Innovation Lab. She is a strategy-focused executive with a track record in driving global business and technology change programmes for top FTSE multinational organisations, such as BAT, Shell, Unilever, HBOS, QBE Insurance, Labatt and BP. Since joining Places for People, Dove-Edwin has launched the Digital Business transformation programme, which is designed to deploy innovative technologies and use analytical insights to transform the way the group operates and put customers first.
Mantra: “I can and I will.”
Hala El Akl
Director, PLP Architecture, and founding director, PLP Labs
What’s so trailblazing? El Akl, an architect and urbanist with 10 years’ experience, helps drive PLP Architecture’s passion for innovation. At PLP Labs, she leads teams exploring new ideas for future cities and the evolving role of architects – from co-living and future living to smart cities and social inhabitance. El Akl also chairs the young leaders’ group for ULI Europe and the Urban Art Forum for ULI UK.
Mantra: “You know, it is always life that is right and the architect who is wrong” – Le Corbusier
Rajdeep Gahir and Dara Huang
What’s so trailblazing? Gahir co-founded Vivahouse, a prefabricated, modular housing system designed to turn vacant commercial properties into co-living environments. Following a pop up in Whitley’s shopping mall in 2018, Vivahouse launched its first short-stay co-living site in Soho. Gahir previously worked for WeWork, joining as an early employee in 2014 and leading the firm’s European rollout. She has also worked in the technology space for eBay, incubating new technology markets in London and San Jose. She recently appeared in the Forbes 30 Under 30 2019 listing of young entrepreneurs. Huang worked with Foster + Partners and Herzog de Meuron before starting her own firm, Design Haus Liberty, which launched Vivahouse. She is a multiple-award-winning architect who has led more than 100 projects and delivered 1.5m sq ft of tech office, co-living and mixed-use schemes.
Mantras: Gahir: “Lifestyles and the definition of a home have changed – it’s about building a universal sense of belonging for the here-and-now generation. Owners and operators must work together with shared incentives to build more sustainable environments.” Huang: “In ‘generation move’, we need a flexible, walk-in solution. Elastic cities mean flexibility in how we programme space.”
Founder and chief executive, hero
What’s so trailblazing? Gaunt has had a lifelong interest in health, wellbeing and helping people. Hero’s digital wellness business has been designed so that users can access intuitive technology or services to help with all aspects of physical, mental, social and financial health and wellbeing in the workplace. Helping organisations and individuals look after health and wellbeing has been the driving force behind the development of hero.
Mantra: “We believe physical, mental, social and financial health is a personal journey, whereby technology and data are the key enabler to create the most effective solution for the individual and the operator.”
Co-founder and director, Staykeepers
What’s so trailblazing? Staykeepers combines cutting-edge technology and innovation to generate income for institutional building owners.The business, which started with initial capital of just £1,000, is now undertaking a second, £18m fundraising round, working with some of the UK’s biggest institutional landlords: Unite Students and King’s College Accommodation. The company recently opened an office in Qatar.
Mantra: “People must do what they love to do!”
Senior quantity surveyor, Faithful+Gould
What’s so trailblazing? Gray is leading Faithful+Gould’s research into Scotland’s emerging BTR market. She is creating a tool to inform the company’s clients about design development and appraisals, thus providing them with greater certainty that projects are viable. She has seven years’ experience working on a variety of residential developments including BTR, social housing and student accommodation and is now working on one of Glasgow’s largest BTR developments, which accounts for more 12% of the pipeline in the city.
Mantra: “Keep asking questions.”
Director of research, BNP Paribas Real Estate UK
What’s so trailblazing? Hale leads the Insights research programme at BNP Paribas Real Estate UK. She also chairs the UK executive board for the Urban Land Institute. Hale has nearly 20 years of diverse global research experience, having worked across the US and the UK in multiple real estate sectors. She holds a bachelor of science degree from the University of Illinois and a master of science degree from Roosevelt University.
Mantra: “Be positive and do something every single day to remind this city why the hell you are here. Remember you will be too much for some people – they aren’t your people.”
What’s so trailblazing? Cohabitas is a house-sharing platform and co-living developer exclusively for the over-40s. Towards the end of a 30-year career in advertising and media, Henley and his colleague Eva Orasch got into a conversation about how lonely their parents were; both lived alone, had little social contact and were somewhat isolated. They recognised that it was not just older people, but practically anyone over the age of 40, who was having trouble finding a house share. So they started Cohabitas in 2016, firstly as a social enterprise side business, aiming to help people like themselves and their parents find flatmates and housemates. Three years later, they have more than 10,000 people aged 40 and over registered.
Mantra: “House sharing in later life is the key to a good life – it creates social capital, is cost efficient and is good for your physical and mental wellbeing. Our mission is to bring people the services and property they need to successfully share because ‘it’s better living together’.”
Director, Hildrey Studio, and founder, ProxyAddress
What’s so trailblazing? Hildrey is an architect, director of Hildrey Studio and founder of ProxyAddress, which provides people facing homelessness with addresses they can use to access services and apply for jobs. Following his selection as designer in residence at the Design Museum in 2017, he established his studio the following year, receiving the RIBA President’s Medal for Research and a D&AD Impact Award and being named an RIBAJ Rising Star. He has been a visiting lecturer at the Architectural Association; is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts; and has spoken on television, on radio and in the Houses of Parliament about the role of design and the arts in effecting positive social change.
Mantra: “You’ve got to know the rules to break them.”
Lead development director – residential, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield
What’s so trailblazing? Hobbs is responsible for leading the development of URW’s residential assets in the UK. He oversaw delivery of URW’s first residential block in the UK, at Westfield London, and the inception and development of 1,200 BTR homes at a site adjacent to Westfield Stratford. Prior to joining URW, Hobbs held a number of different roles at St George and Mount Anvil.
Mantra: “Be passionate in what you do, build trust with your colleagues and partners, and treat people as you would want to be treated.”
Director, M3 Consulting
What’s so trailblazing? Hollingworth leads the team responsible for all aspects of M3’s residential development, planning and delivery. Since 2008, he has been instrumental in developing and realising the strategic vision for Nine Elms Park, a 2.5m sq ft, residential-led, mixed-use development central to the Vauxhall Nine Elms Opportunity Area. He is overseeing the phased delivery of the 14-acre masterplan through the disposal of eight plots to development partners including Galliard and Greystar.
Mantra: Borrowed from Greg LeMond: “It never gets easier, you just go faster.”
What’s so trailblazing? Arun has developed a nano- and advanced-materials-based paint that he claims can vastly improve air quality and help combat air pollution. The development comes amid growing awareness of the UK’s poor air quality standards, with the most recently published government report showing that air pollution safety limits regularly exceed in 86% of the country.
Managing director, Counter Context
What’s so trailblazing? Counter Context is a communications and public affairs company that specialises in helping clients to consult, engage and promote. Krachai has spent the past 15 years working in communications, stakeholder engagement, community consultation and public policy research. He helped found the Sheffield Property Association (S-PA) – the only formally constituted property association outside London. In the two years since it was founded, the S-PA has gained more than 70 members, which between them represent £4bn worth of assets in Sheffield and are responsible for 22,700 jobs in the city region.
Mantra: “If you want to build support in communities for new housing, you first need to build understanding. You then need to build trust. There are no shortcuts.”
Acquisitions and development manager, YOO
What’s so trailblazing? Previously an agent at Cushman & Wakefield, Lawn manages small-asset prime London investment and development business YOO Living and is also involved in special projects within the company, centred around new-age living. Alongside this, Lawn co-founded CREation, a national networking organisation providing free events and opportunities for those at the start of their property career.
Mantra: “Follow what lights you up with fearless passion and determination and you won’t go far wrong.”
Associate director development, Savills
What’s so trailblazing? Mackay specialises in providing development consultancy advice to developers, housebuilders, registered providers, landowners, property companies and public sector clients. This includes compiling market research reports, viability assessments and purchase reports and providing strategic development advice. She focuses on the North West as part of Savills’ wider northern development team. Mackay also set up and chairs a Savills UK development consultancy working group that focuses on best practice, cross-divisional working and information sharing.
Mantra: “Work hard with good humour and treat others how you would like to be treated.”
Fund manager, Urban Splash Residential Fund
What’s so trailblazing? Malik runs the Urban Splash Residential (USR) fund – a PRS fund focused on well-designed homes in UK regional cities, which was oversubscribed in its initial £20m funding round earlier this year. Before setting up USR he worked at UBS Investment Bank, where he was part of the real estate, lodging and leisure team advising on M&A, equity and debt capital markets transactions with a combined value of circa £20bn. These included the acquisition of Sponda by Blackstone for €3.8bn and taking MarketTech (owner of Camden Lock) private in an £893m transaction. Malik co-founded the education technology platform Aula.
Mantra: “The harder you practice, the luckier you get.”
Head of LandEnhance, LandTech
What’s so trailblazing? Manning-Marsh developed LandEnhance, a platform designed to speed up and modernise access to planning information. LandEnhance uses machine learning to aggregate, analyse and enable deep searching of planning applications and policy documents, to provide relevant arguments and statistics needed to make stronger planning justifications. Manning-Marsh has more than 11 years’ experience as a planning consultant securing permission for residential and mixed-use developments, along with experience in regeneration strategies, community engagement and environmental impact assessments. She strongly believes technology can improve the planning process.
Mantra: “Think big, but start small, to make change happen.”
Henry Morris and Callum Thorneycroft
Co-founders, MGT Investment Management
What’s so trailblazing? Morris focuses on new business but is responsible for all aspects of investment management at MGT, an independent real estate investment manager with a focus on BTR. Before founding MGT, he was managing director and head of Europe at Amstar Global, where he was responsible for acquisitions and asset management of the company’s £750m European portfolio. Thorneycroft is responsible for all aspects of MGT’s investment management activity, including execution of existing investments. He was previously senior vice-president at Oaktree Capital, where he helped establish the asset management capability for a £1.9bn commercial real estate portfolio across Europe.
Mantras: Morris: “Work hard and work smart, with confidence in my partners, following strategies I believe in and alongside people I trust, respect and like.” Thorneycroft: “Build real value for the long term by working with people I get on with, respect and are preferably cleverer than I am.”
Co-founder, Urbanist Platform
What’s so trailblazing? Obi co-founded Urbanist Platform, which produces and shares visual content with the aim of attracting more people from varying backgrounds into the built environment. He is also a non-executive director for BAME in Property, a group that aims to inspire businesses to create a wave of positive change. Obi’s passion for cities and people developed after he studied for a bachelor’s degree in urban planning, design and management and a masters in European property development at UCL.
Mantra: “Luck is when an opportunity comes along and you’re prepared for it.”
Chief executive, Axion Property Partners
What’s so trailblazing? Ofori is chief executive of Axion Property Partners, PropElle Network and Black Property Network. She works with high-net-worth individuals in a property investment capacity and also seeks to empower under-represented groups to use property investing as a tool to gain financial and other forms of independence. She worked in investment banking at Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs for more than a decade. At the latter, she was a private wealth adviser to individuals, family offices and funds.
Mantra: “A coalition of forces: marching towards making property investment work for everyone.”
Director, WiredScore Home
What’s so trailblazing? Pethybridge spent 12 months building residential digital connectivity rating scheme WiredScore Home, which was launched by the secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport in May 2019, with more than 4,500 homes committed to certification. Prior to joining WiredScore, he worked for the Cabinet Office and as a management consultant at Accenture, advising business and political leaders on how to use technology to improve public services and customer experiences.
Mantra: “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.”
Partner, investment – national, Allsop
What’s so trailblazing? Pointon heads up BTR investment and development at Allsop. Using his institutional contact base, his skill is in taking a BTR scheme from concept to reality, from core sector principles through to viability and eventual funding. Pointon mainly advises developers and works closely with design and professional teams to create opportunities for investors. He also advises investors on acquisitions and the underwriting of investment criteria. He joined Allsop in 2006 as a graduate in the national investment team, becoming a partner and moving into BTR in 2015.
Mantra: “Never change who you are, just smooth around the edges.”
What’s so trailblazing? Prince-Parrott’s work has featured in the Architects’ Journal, been exhibited by the Nottingham and Derbyshire Society of Architects and earned him a nomination for the Birmingham Young Professional of the Year Award. He is passionate about cities and how to make them healthy places to live, work, raise children and grown old in. Prince-Parrott believes this can only be achieved through long-term strategic vision and greater alignment of commercial, ecological and societal objectives. His upcoming book focuses on these ideas and will hopefully serve as primer for city makers.
Mantra: “Leave things better than the way you found them.”
Chief executive, MPC
What’s so trailblazing? With a background in political campaigning, Sabine helps clients to secure planning consents in a diverse range of sectors and is passionate about the use of new techniques to engage the ‘silent majority’. Last year, she launched MPC’s gender champions campaign, which seeks to find men in the property industry who will pledge to help improve gender diversity in their organisations and more widely. She feels strongly that gender diversity should not be a ‘women’s issue’ and this year the campaign will widen to bring whole firms on board.
Mantra: “We always wanted to make MPC a place where people enjoy coming to work. If you can get that right, you can employ the best people and success will usually follow.”
Associate principal, Woods Bagot
What’s so trailblazing? Saint combines his passions for art, business and technology to create interdisciplinary design solutions for clients. He helped deliver schemes such as Embassy Gardens at Nine Elms for Ballymore; Zlota 44 in Warsaw, Poland; and the Atlas Building in Shoreditch. Other clients include Essential Living and Quintain. Saint started his architectural career at Woods Bagot in 2004 and has worked across a wide range of property sectors, including workplace, hotels and residential.
Mantra: “Buildings should be for the people in and around them, so create amazing spaces for people first and make the rest great around that.”
Senior account manager, Grayling, and founder of BAME in Property
What’s so trailblazing? After reading that 14% of the UK’s population classifies as BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic), but only 1.2% of the built environment sector is BAME, Shah was inspired to create BAME in Property – a forum to help increase ethnic diversity in the property and planning sectors. Shah has considerable built environment experience. She has provided communications and political support on successful planning projects in several London boroughs and the surrounding counties, ranging from strategic land sites to retirement living projects and commercial sites. Previous clients include Barratt London, McCarthy & Stone and OPDC.
Mantra: “There is no limit to your learning. The greatest investment you can make is in the continuous expansion of your knowledge.”
Founder, The Kohab
What’s so trailblazing? The Kohab is a new intergenerational living venture targeting the retirement market. The company’s model works by holding back a small number of units in schemes for younger residents at discounted rents, in return for them spending time assisting their elderly neighbours around the scheme. Based on successful European models, it has the potential to solve some of the big issues we face in society around isolation, loneliness and age segregation. Shee founded the company after observing that many older people have an aversion to the ‘age ghettos’ he says retirement living creates, and discontentment with how we deal with old people in society – an awareness born out of having grown up living with his grandfather.
Mantra: “If you really want something, you will find a way. If you don’t, you will find an excuse.”
Associate, project management, JLL Bristol
What’s so trailblazing? Sherratt has worked on everything from extra care projects in the very traditional Poundbury to modern BTR and mixed-use schemes in the heart of Bristol, including the popular Finzels Reach development. Having been an associate director since the age of 28, Sherratt wants to show that you can balance a career with family life – as well as other sporting and education exploits – with the right support and positive attitude needed to succeed. With a background as an architect working on a number of award-winning residential and regeneration schemes, Sherratt has strategic experience of many different sides of development . She is vice-chairman of Women in Property South West.
Mantra: “There is always a way.”
Senior planning and development manager, Kitewood
What’s so trailblazing? Sweeney is head of planning at London-based developer Kitewood. Her role includes running the promotion of strategic sites and major planning applications for residential and mixed-use schemes in London and the South East. She is an experienced chartered town planner and a committee member of Women in Planning London, a network set up to champion gender equality. She is passionate about planning, delivering development and promoting diversity across the industry.
Mantra: “Just keep moving. Learn more, gain more experience and make things happen.”
Co-founder and chief executive, Proportunity
What’s so trailblazing? Toader is co-founder and chief executive of regulated mortgage lender Proportunity, which offers help-to-buy loans for any property, not just new-builds, and aims to replace the governmental scheme. The company has venture capital backing from Starwood Capital, Savills and Global Founders Capital. Toader is the son of two entrepreneurs and holds a masters in engineering, economics and management from Oxford University. Before starting Proportunity, he worked as a consultant at Bain & Company and gave a TEDx speech in 2012.
Mantra: “Focus your energy on the thing that is so big it scares you – and fight for it. If you believe in it, never give up.”