Lawrence Mohiuddine, chief executive of EMEA at consultancy Unispace, on how he got started in property and his cultural recommendations
How did you join the property industry?
I followed in my family’s footsteps by joining the property industry. After studying quantity surveying at the University of Greenwich, my first role was in a consulting firm that surveyed the largest package of works on the Jubilee line extension.
However, the most informative time for me was spent in claims consulting, preparing cases for extensions of time, cost overruns and other legal appeals.
What does your job entail?
My day-to-day activities are diverse and concentrate on both regional and globally driven initiatives. This entails working across our local Europe, Middle East and Africa studios in London, Dublin, Paris, Amsterdam, Zurich, Madrid and Milan, as well as our global locations, of which we have 45-plus, from New York to Sydney.
Ultimately, I am responsible for our regional growth and operations. I often work with clients, supporting our project teams, making certain that clients are at the centre of everything we do. Ensuring that Unispace is soundly absorbing risk for our clients – more so than traditional firms – is also a key area of focus for me.
What do you like most about the property industry?
The way the industry constantly evolves and the ability to change thought processes. I thrive when working with firms that look to challenge traditional norms. This relentless striving to push boundaries is something that I love about the work I do in the industry.
And what do you dislike most about it?
The industry has a long way to go when it comes to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging. While we have firms and individuals that are miles ahead of others, all firms have to play their part.
What barriers or challenges have you overcome?
My father was from Pakistan and came to England in 1957, while my mother is English. They had an incredible work ethic and had to break societal challenges their whole lives. I never saw barriers; for me, it was the norm. My family taught me to strive for success regardless of any barriers, and I recognise that in the way I operate today.
What are you most proud of in your career?
Setting up full-service studios – many of which are award-winning – in London, Dublin, Paris, Amsterdam, Zurich, Madrid and Milan, and seeing the local teams thrive. Having been in the industry for more than 20 years now, it also makes me proud to see talented individuals whom I have had the chance to coach and mentor taking up senior positions and pushing boundaries themselves.
What do you value in people?
I connect with people who exhibit honesty, are straight-talkers and are steadfastly reliable.
What advice would you give someone starting a career in the property industry?
Don’t accept the norm. Push boundaries, innovate and learn from your mistakes; but be kind to yourself and understand that everything can change tomorrow.
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