The managing director of Helix, a Hines company, on how she got started in property, her number-one travel destination, her top book and podcast recommendations and the superpower she wishes she had.

Amy Soar

Amy Soar

How did you join the property industry?

My father was a chartered surveyor and my mother owned a small estate agency in Oxfordshire, so I spent my childhood listening to their stories about buildings and the interesting people they met.

Inspired by property at an early age, I went on to study real estate management at Oxford Brookes University before embarking on my career. I told my mother I would return to run her business once I became qualified; but I enjoyed the London life so much, I never made it home.

What does your job entail?

I am the managing director responsible for Helix, which is the UK property and facilities management part of Hines. In addition to the Hines portfolio, we are responsible for the management of more than 230 assets for a number of third-party landlord clients.

Much of my time is spent embedding our partnership with our clients to understand their strategies and provide them with exceptional levels of service. Our remit is UK wide and covers all sectors including offices, logistics, retail, residential and student housing.

What do you like most about the property industry?

Like most people who work in the industry, I find buildings and their operation fascinating. It is great to work with something tangible where we can make a difference to an area, a community or an occupier’s day, while delivering improved value to our investors at the same time. I love the variety of the work and the fact that no two days are the same.

And what do you dislike most about it?

I feel the industry has been slow in adapting to new technology and ideas. While this is starting to change, it still needs to catch up with other industries.

What would you change about the property industry?

While it is starting to take greater precedence, environmental, social and governance needs to be accelerated as a priority. There is still so much work to be done, and so much of our time is spent working with our occupiers to help evolve their strategies to encourage and facilitate best environmental practices and social enterprises.

What barriers or challenges have you overcome?

My biggest challenge, which remains ongoing, has been juggling my career with a young family. Thankfully, the industry is now very accepting of this and, certainly in my experience, both men and women no longer have to hide the fact they have other responsibilities.

What are you most proud of in your career?

I am extremely proud of the role I played in bringing my company Helix into the Hines family. While we had previously been approached by other companies wishing to acquire the business, we knew this would dilute our USP and change our culture. With Hines, it was different as our cultures were aligned and we shared the same mindset of putting quality and excellence at the forefront.

It is two years on from our integration, and our clients and employees remain at the heart of the business. We have won a record number of new instructions and have continued to grow the team organically.

What do you value in people?

Honesty, hard work and being willing to challenge convention.

What advice would you give someone starting a career in the property industry?

Listen and learn from those around you, and never be afraid to ask too many questions.

Top recommendations

Top travel destination:

While I generally gravitate towards sunny travel destinations, I have always had a fascination with the night sky, so Iceland in winter is currently up there as somewhere I am keen to visit. It would be an absolute dream come true to see the Northern Lights.

Favourite book:

The last book I read was Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin. It was cleverly written and quite different to the sort of book I would usually read, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. 

Favourite podcast:

For inspiration, I listen to the High Performance Podcast with Damian Hughes and Jake Humphrey. I enjoy listening to the experiences of the guests they interview, and find it really motivates me to succeed.

Superpower to have:

I would like to be given an extra day in the week after Friday. No one else would have this day – just me. There is always so much more I want to achieve in the week both professionally and personally, so having one more day to myself would be amazing.