Louisa Dalgleish, leasing director at Icon Outlet at The O2, on how she got started in the property industry, her top TV and book picks, the celebrity she would most like to meet and her number-one travel destination.
How did you join the property industry?
My mother and father are both surveyors, so I grew up in a household where property was frequently discussed at mealtimes. My interest in property grew as I did numerous work-experience roles in London, Shanghai and Sydney, before I joined the graduate scheme at King Sturge.
What does your job entail?
I am leasing director at Icon Outlet at The O2 and have responsibility for leasing, regears and asset management. This involves liaising with existing tenants and having discussions with new brands. It also involves raising awareness of the incredible opportunity that Icon Outlet offers, as it is uniquely located under the same roof as the world’s number-one music venue, which hosts more than 200 events a year and offers exponential sales on event days. I also work closely with the marketing and communications team to ensure we provide a seamless experience for visitors to The O2, whether they are coming to shop, visit one of our many bars and restaurants or enjoy our attractions and events.
What do you like most about the property industry?
I love how every day is different and how my job role evolves – I am constantly learning as I experience new challenges. At the start of the year, leasing was our focus, but then Storm Eunice damage to the roof of The O2 meant the focus shifted to getting Icon Outlet reopened to customers as soon as we safely could.
And what do you dislike most about it?
The lack of gender and racial diversity in the industry. While there are inroads being made into this, progress is still slow.
What would you change about the property industry?
When I started working, it was a male-dominated workspace, but this has really changed over the years and will continue to. More than half the senior leadership team at Icon Outlet is female, so it feels like a very balanced environment.
What barriers or challenges have you overcome?
The biggest challenge was returning to work after having two children. It was important to me to maintain the right work/life balance, to ensure I spent enough quality time with my children while they were still young but did not let this hinder my career progression and dedication to my work. The teams at The O2 are very supportive, so I have found the perfect routine.
What are you most proud of in your career?
It is hard to think of one achievement that I am particularly proud of. However, working with the Cadogan Estate in the leasing and placemaking of Pavilion Road in Chelsea stands out, as it has become a thriving local neighbourhood of independent artisans.
What do you value in people?
I value people who are sincere, reliable and have integrity, but who are also great fun.
What advice would you give someone starting a career in the property industry?
Start building a network of connections from the beginning of your career, because as your roles evolve, you will rely on that network continually.