Olga Hopton, director at Plus X shares her cultural recommendations.
How did you join the property industry?
I started working in hospitality when I was 17, prior to moving to the UK to study. I graduated in the midst of the credit crunch in 2009 and continued working in arts and events for a few years before taking on a new role with the iconic Custard Factory in Digbeth, Birmingham. Working there, directly for the proprietor, is where I learnt about regeneration and truly mixed-use spaces. A few years later, my husband’s career took us to the South Coast, where I initially ran a co-working space, before I joined Plus X.
What does your job entail?
As expansion director I am responsible for all real estate and related new business development plans at Plus X. I also lead on designing and delivering new spaces. My days range from design workshops and project management to overseeing operations and the commercialisation of new initiatives.
What do you like most about the property industry?
I like seeing ideas and concepts turning into bricks-and-mortar and watching new spaces become places filled with people and their ideas.
And what do you dislike most about it?
It is no secret that the industry is dominated by white men. More diversity at all levels is crucial for us to deliver spaces fit for the next generation.
What would you change about the property industry?
As above, more diversity. Also, more agility in trying new concepts, whether it is new materials or new processes.
What barriers or challenges have you overcome?
I do not have any formal qualifications, so I had to build up to where I am now from first-hand experience. It was a challenge, but I leaned from my experience in the hospitality sector and was able to bring a new perspective to the table as a result.
What are you most proud of in your career?
Making it to the leadership team and delivering superior societal value through the projects I lead on.
What do you value in people?
Honesty, courage and commitment.
What advice would you give someone starting a career in the property industry?
Don’t conform, bring your ideas, ask questions, rock the boat….
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