Roy Ledgister, chief executive of Convivia, on how he got started in property, his TV and podcast recommendations and which celebrity he’d most like to meet.
How did you join the property industry?
I originally commenced a career in law and became senior partner at just 24. However, as the Criminal Bar suffered funding cuts, I found myself gravitating towards well-paid white-collar crime, which meant I no longer represented the everyday man on ‘blood and guts’-type crime. Therefore, property was a way for me to make some relatively quick money so I could return to the Bar to do the types of cases that I entered the profession to defend.
What does your job entail?
I am now chief executive of Convivia Group –a property and tech investment firm, which has a core purpose to create inspiring spaces, build fun communities and transform lives. As the CEO, I take pride in being the visionary and architect for the direction of the group.
What do you like most about the property industry?
It’s a challenging industry where you have to have the ability to be creative in both the design of the building and development method. In order to survive, it requires a certain mindset and resolve, which need to be tapped into even more if you wish to push ahead of the crowd and make a real success of your efforts. It’s a rollercoaster, but I wouldn’t change it.
And what do you dislike most about it?
Seldom do things ever go according to plan, so you have to possess the ability to respond quickly.
What would you change about the property industry?
The lack of commitment until the point of exchange of contracts in a conveyancing transaction.
What barriers or challenges have you overcome?
Marrying the right type of funding for your needs is as much a part of the development process as the development itself. If not careful, the choice of funder can bring additional stresses to bear, which can cause you to lose focus and control of the development. There has been evolution of financial maturity and prowess that has enabled me to conquer this issue so I’m now able to concentrate on delivering the very best of developments under my unique model.
What are you most proud of in your career?
Creating a sustainable model that has cracked the ‘affordable housing’ issue by delivering genuinely high-quality affordable homes, that will make a difference in people’s lives. It doesn’t require government grants or subsidies and ensures that all stakeholders and participants in the process win, most of all the tenant. That for me is a significant achievement of which I’m truly proud.
What do you value in people?
Truth – those who affirm the truth and see things for what they truly are instead of seeing them with biased eyes. Truth is a necessary starting point to realise growth and to improve on our weaknesses.
What advice would you give someone starting a career in the property industry?
If it’s a dream, don’t be deterred by the horror stories. Like anything, it has its challenges. Expect the unexpected and conduct work experience in different areas, as the sector covers a lot of territory. If necessary, work for free initially and impress the hell out of the employer. If he doesn’t hire you, somebody else will!