Jennifer Newsham, director, strategic development consulting, at JLL, on how she got started in the property sector, what she would like to change about the industry and her lockdown leisure tips.
What do you value in people?
Honesty and clear communication.
What does your job entail?
I work with landowners and developers to advise them on what to do with their land from a development perspective. This involves understanding the client’s objectives and assessing the market conditions for different uses to come up with a solution that aligns the two.
How did you join the property industry?
When I moved to London, I got a job in property recruitment. I spent all day, every day talking to surveyors about their jobs. I realised instantly that property was an industry I wanted to be in. I then applied for grad schemes and JLL took me on as a ‘non-cog’ grad, which meant that I did my real estate degree as part of the graduate scheme.
What do you like most about the property industry?
It is sociable and it is tangible.
And what do you dislike most about it?
It is hierarchical. It took me quite a long time to find my voice due to feeling that I wasn’t experienced enough to contribute in meetings. Thankfully, I have found a wonderful team that enabled me to build my confidence.
What advice would you give someone starting a career in the property industry?
Throw yourself in and speak to as many people as possible in as many different roles as possible. To understand property it is really helpful to understand the full lifecycle of an asset; no one’s role in property exists in isolation.
What do you want to change about the property industry?
The industry is still failing to attract and retain diverse talent. This needs to be actively addressed if we want to continue to attract talent to the sector and build inclusive environments. In order to retain talent, we need to ensure that all individuals in a management position are responsible for the growth and development of other employees and trained to carry out this role effectively.
Are you involved with any industry groups or associations?
I am a member of the RICS, having passed my APC in 2016. I am also a member of Real Estate Balance (REB), which is an association focused on addressing the gender imbalance in the property sector. I have worked actively with REB to set up a NextGen committee, which is focused on engaging the younger generation working within the sector to start to bridge the gap between the policies and commitments made by senior leaders and the lived experience of those at the start of their careers.