Conrad Peberdy, managing director of Ethical Property, on how he got started in the property industry, his top TV and book picks, what he’d do with a million pounds and his most ridiculous fact.
How did you join the property industry?
My upbringing in Papua New Guinea gave me a different outlook on life from an early age. My parents worked with remote tribes whose land had been lost to large foreign corporations. It opened my eyes to how development can be detrimental to communities when poorly carried out. After moving back to the UK, I studied urban development and policy at the University of Bristol. I was able to delve into the way development changes cities here in the UK – particularly in deprived areas. In many cities, people on lower incomes have been pushed together, which consequently creates a bigger social divide. Bad development decisions directly impact people’s lives and have long-term consequences – and seeing it first-hand made me determined to make a difference.
What does your job entail?
As the managing director, I am responsible for driving the business forward, ensuring our principles and values are maintained and ensuring we have a positive impact and remain committed to our triple bottom line framework, while ensuring our 19 centres are safe working environments where our tenants come first, so they can thrive and deliver their objectives. We want to support our tenants, investors and communities to create a greater impact.
What do you like most about the property industry?
At its best, it creates environments where people can thrive. Whether its developing homes or workspaces, it can bring people happiness and has a huge impact on communities. That is what we need more of: positive development can make great things happen, create opportunities and change lives.
And what do you dislike most about it?
It goes wrong when profit is put before people and the planet. Focusing on maximising short-term profits is not sustainable in the long term. Our experience at Ethical Property shows we absolutely can meet the needs of people and the planet while generating returns over a long period.
What would you change about the property industry?
The way investors view their returns. Again, it is about that long-term view. We facilitate investments that really deliver on a triple bottom line – generating social, environmental and financial returns.
What barriers or challenges have you overcome?
Overcoming dyslexia was one of my biggest personal challenges. It was something I discovered after leaving school, which made sense as I lacked confidence and self-esteem. However, when I was diagnosed, I was able to overcome these barriers and unlock my potential.
What are you most proud of in your career?
Having the privilege to lead what I think is one of the most successful businesses in the UK. I am proud of our unique values and ambitions, and to be supported by a number of trusted investors. I am surrounded by people who inspire me every day – tenants, the Ethical Property team and investors. Working with a great team has made the business what it is today.
What do you value in people?
Diversity. Different backgrounds, experiences, thoughts and approaches are what make a good team. We need to embrace diversity and recognise that everyone has different qualities and passions and it is what makes great things happen.
What advice would you give someone starting a career in the property industry?
Listen and learn, but be prepared to challenge the status quo and existing way of doing things. The property industry can be very conservative in its approach, so identify and run with your own ideas. You are representing the needs of your own generation.