Victoria Manston, senior development manager at residential developer HUB, on how she got started in property, her top TV and music picks, her best and worst purchases and the celebrity she’d most like to meet.
How did you join the property industry?
I started my career as a planning consultant but quickly realised I wanted to be involved in the full development cycle. I moved into a client-side developer role very early in my career, which is not the norm. I worked for Chinese-based developer Greenland and Berkeley Homes before joining HUB in 2020.
What does your job entail?
HUB is a build-to-rent developer with projects across the UK. We have a pipeline of more than £2bn and recently completed our 10th forward-funding deal – so I am kept busy overseeing the full development process of some of our key projects. Having a positive impact on communities is hugely important to us, so as well as managing financing and delivery, my job also involves in-depth consultation with local residents and groups. My main focus this year has been on two large-scale projects in Maidenhead and Leeds.
What do you like most about the property industry?
Every day is completely different, so I am always learning something new.
I get a huge sense of satisfaction from my job as I am constantly having to overcome challenges. At HUB, we are passionate about embedding ourselves in local communities. This means I get to meet and work with diverse individuals from a range of backgrounds, which I really enjoy.
What would you change about the property industry?
Sometimes the industry could be more pioneering in its drive for change. Some developers stick to the status quo because it is tried and tested. At HUB, we are really encouraged to explore new ways of thinking. On a personal level, I am very keen for us all to start pushing our sustainability targets, for example by exploring ways to utilise timber construction.
What barriers or challenges have you overcome?
Overcoming the challenges of Brexit, Covid-19 and a pending recession.
I am lucky to work at HUB where we adopt different approaches to unlocking sites, which has enabled us to seize opportunities during challenging periods.
What are you most proud of in your career?
Being part of a team that delivers quality places for people to live. There is no better feeling than seeing people finally enjoy spaces that you have spent years curating. HUB has been working on Queen’s Quarter in Croydon – a scheme of more than 500 homes and a new public park co-designed alongside the community – for the past six years or so. We consulted with 1,500 local adults and children. When that opened to the public this summer, it was beautiful to see families who helped design it using the play area.
What do you value in people?
It is important to work with people who are team players. There are so many people involved in designing and constructing buildings, so it is vital that everyone is working towards the same goal. I enjoy working with genuine, honest people.
What advice would you give someone starting a career in the property industry?
Be confident and be bold.