Felicity Masefield, sustainable lead and development executive at Native Land, on how she got started in property, her book and podcast picks, the celebrity she’d like to meet and the superpower she wishes she had.
How did you join the property industry?
Studying geography at university, I was told that I would likely end up working in property. I tried very hard not to live up to this expectation and spent a year trialling a variety of industries including finance, PR and publishing, but after some property experience, I was drawn in and that was that.
What does your job entail?
I am currently working on leasing Arbor, 223,000 sq ft of new office space coming to Bankside in central London this summer, and part of our wider £2.5bn Bankside Yards development. I also lead on our ESG strategy across the company and our projects.
What do you like most about the property industry?
I love the deeper connection you make and positive impact you can have on your surrounding environment. I also like that it caters to all skills and there is a role for everyone. This is particularly beneficial for graduates straight out of university who may not know exactly where their skills initially lie.
And what do you dislike most about it?
The lack of awareness outside the property industry of what the job of a surveyor is. I believe this directly relates to the lack of diversity we currently have across the industry. That being said, there is fantastic work going into changing this, such as Urban Plan UK and its educational initiative, which we have supported for the past five years and is designed to encourage young people to consider a career in the built environment.
What would you change about the property industry?
The property industry moves slowly and this needs to change, especially with the current climate crisis. Also, we should be doing more to promote careers in the property industry to the younger generations across a diverse range of schools and universities.
What barriers or challenges have you overcome?
Being a woman in the property industry – when I was starting out as a graduate, there were far fewer women in senior leadership roles that I could look up to. I think the situation has improved a lot since then.
What are you most proud of in your career?
Last year, I led on the development of our company sustainability strategy. I am proud to be leading us forward on such an important topic at this critical time. One of the projects I work on, Bankside Yards, will be the UK’s first major mixed-use scheme to be net zero carbon in operation, which is really exciting.
What do you value in people?
Hard work, integrity and those who give time to help others to learn and develop always stand out to me.
What advice would you give someone starting a career in the property industry?
Sustainability touches everyone’s role: actively learn about it in whichever role you are doing. There is a huge skills gap and we need future generations to help fill it. Also, when asked to do something, make sure you know what and who you are doing it for; ask lots of questions and be fully engaged to maximise your learning.