Monica Khiroya, product and marketing director at Fruition Properties, on how she got started in property, her top TV and podcast tips, plus her number-one travel destination.
How did you join the property industry?
Following a spell in fashion and then digital marketing, I took a short career break after the birth of my first child, before joining Fruition Properties in 2005 for a part-time marketing role. As the business evolved, so has my role.
What does your job entail?
I am responsible for the internal specification of every development and also manage the strategic marketing team. More recently, my role has expanded to also become a development manager, taking sites through from acquisition to build and completion.
What do you like most about the property industry?
It is incredibly exciting and rewarding. No two days are the same and there are few better feelings than taking a step back after a project has completed and thinking: ‘We did that.’ At a wider level, the chance to change the fabric of London – such as through airspace development, which we are really focusing on now – is satisfying.
And what do you dislike most about it?
Systems within the industry sometimes seem quite antiquated. I think there is potential to use technology more and to standardise processes and design, which would help the industry become more efficient.
What would you change about the property industry?
Better resourcing of planning departments – many LPAs just do not have the funding to properly resource their teams, resulting in protracted timelines as they cannot process the applications in an efficient manner. For an SME like ourselves, such delays and uncertainty have a real commercial impact.
What barriers or challenges have you overcome?
Being female in this industry! It can be quite intimidating walking on to a building site, which is typically male-dominated; and often I am one of very few women in design or planning meetings, which can make me hyper-aware. I am also a working mum so I am constantly juggling to ensure all needs are met. Fruition Properties, like many businesses now, has embraced hybrid working and that does help with work-life balance.
What are you most proud of in your career?
I would say my ability to adapt and grow to new needs and demands of the business. We recently completed a mixed-use scheme in Kensal Rise, London W10, called the Old Dairy House. This was the first scheme I worked on as a development manager and it was both exciting and challenging as we started it in March 2020. Navigating our way through the lockdowns meant we all had to find new ways of working to make it happen.
What do you value in people?
Transparency, a good work ethic, organisation skills and good communication. We are constantly dealing with different stakeholders and suppliers, so the ability to manage everything and everyone is vital.
What advice would you give someone starting a career in the property industry?
I would say, just go for it. The industry is becoming much more balanced and while there are still fewer females in the workforce, there are many opportunities to be had. It is an exciting industry with the chance to be creative, build relationships and really contribute towards delivering something tangible for the benefit of others. It is a win-win!
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