The property sector came together last night for the inaugural Inspiring Women in Property Awards, which celebrate the outstanding contribution women make across the industry.

IWIP winners

Twenty-six awards in total were handed out at a black-tie dinner held at Hilton London Metropole in central London.

The biggest winner on the night was Lynn Haime, who landed the prize of Woman of the Year - Commercial, as well as the overall Woman of the Year title. Haime is chief executive of the Baltic Creative CIC, a developer and landlord that owns and manages more than 120,000 sq ft of workspace in Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle area. Since taking over as chief executive, she has improved diversity within her own organisation and also worked with local schools to educate young people about property sector careers.

Other individual winners on the night included Madonna Kinsey, deputy chief executive of Battersea Power Station Development Company, who picked up the prize of Leader of the Year – Commercial, after playing a crucial role in the transformation of the historic landmark into a mixed-use development; and Rebecca Moore, a real estate lawyer at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, who won Returner of the Year after her efforts to improve maternity policies at the firm after having her second child.

Organisations to pick up awards included campaigning group Real Estate Balance (REB), which won EDI Team of the Year for its efforts to improve equality and diversity in the sector. REB’s co-founder Liz Peace also took home the Lifetime Achievement award for paving the way for other female leaders and her work raising diversity up the agenda in the sector.

See all of the night’s award winners, runners-up and highly commended entrants below:

Leader of the Year – Residential

Winner – Alexandra Notay, PfP Capital

Alexandra Notay

Alexandra Notay

Alexandra Notay is placemaking and investment director at fund manager at PfP Capital. Her achievements include playing a central role in the acquisition of PfP’s existing joint venture (JV) partner, igloo Regeneration, and launching a multi-million-pound investment platform for residential-led regeneration in the UK. 

Notay also headed up the formation of a JV with Kajima and Genr8.

She is a champion for PfP’s Inclusion and Belonging staff networks, she is a regular speaker for Homes England’s Internship Programme and she has mentored numerous colleagues internally and externally.

In addition to her day job, Notay has taken on a series of influential roles across the property sector and is committed to improving inclusion throughout the sector. 

She is chair of the British Property Federation working group on residential environmental, social and governance (ESG) and an active member of the Association of Real Estate Funds ESG & Impact Investing Committee. As part of these roles, she co-authored an impactful report highlighting the complexities of real estate ESG versus other Financial Conduct Authority-regulated sectors. The report was submitted to regulators and has been publicly acknowledged as informing changes to the regulatory framework.

According to the judges, Notay is someone who appears to operate “outside the property bubble” and remains a champion for inclusion.


• Barratt Developments - Bukky Bird

• Battersea Power Station Development Company - Meriam Makiya

• EcoWorld London -Sarah Nolan-Watt

• Get Living - Ailish Christian-West

• Greystar - Bella Peacock

• Hamptons - Mary Beeton

• Knight Frank - Emma Fletcher-Brewer

• PMC Property Management & Lettings - Annette Hudson

Realstar Group - Kate Freer


Sponsored by: Paragon Bank  

Woman of the Year – Residential

Winner – Catherine Westerling, Hamptons

Catherine Westerling

Catherine Westerling

Since joining estate agency Hamptons in 2018, head of residential lettings Catherine Westerling has shepherded the business through a variety of challenges including the pandemic, regulatory reforms and unpredictable market conditions. Last year, she led the agency to its most successful year on record.

She is credited with being a true ally of women in business and being passionate about eradicating female underrepresentation in the industry. She has supported women to advance no matter their age or background. 

Her own senior team has been entirely promoted from within, and women now hold 43% of her divisional board seats. Additionally, 69% of her wider team (450 colleagues) are female, and she is fiercely proud that 69% of department heads and line managers across her lettings division are also women.

Westerling has committed herself to overseeing an inclusive and equitable culture and has been adept at attracting and developing fresh talent at Hamptons. She is credited with overseeing a culture where people are listened to and heard, and for creating high-performing teams that feel valued.

The judges described her as someone who “puts in significant work to level the playing field for women in the industry” and who leads by example.


• All Done Design - Charlie Avara

• BAME in Property -Priya Aggarwal- Shah

• Barratt Developments - Bukky Bird

• Dennis Edwards Homes - Charlotte Edwards

• Ekkist - Olga Turner Baker

• Gleeson Homes -Helen Randerson

• Hamptons - Catherine Westerling

• LH1 Global - Rayna Hunter

• PMC Property Management & Lettings - Annette Hudson

• Spectrum Property Services -Odiri Itoje

• VervLife - Katherine Rose


Sponsored by: Knight Frank

Woman of the Year – Commercial

Winner – Lynn Haime, Baltic Creative CIC

Lynn Haime

Lynn Haime

Baltic Creative CIC is a developer and landlord that owns and manages more than 120,000 sq ft of workspaces and more than 80 businesses in Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle area. Chief executive Lynn Haime has been at the forefront of the organisation’s success, setting a clear vision for the future and fostering a collaborative culture across the board, management team and tenants. 

Haime works to deliver a consistent approach to diversity across the organisation. This is particularly reflected in the composition of the board where more than 50% of members are now female and 45% come from diverse backgrounds.  

Baltic Creative CIC particularly praises Haime for her tireless community outreach work. She visits schools to talk to future generations about pathways into the industry and is a regular guest on podcasts and panel discussions, using her platform to support equity and equality by highlighting the challenges women in property face. 

The judges described Haime as a “brilliant manager” who appears to lead with empathy and compassion, and as someone who evidently thinks outside the box and is “not afraid to shake up the status quo”. 


• Cundall - Carole O’Neil

• AtkinsRéalis - Sarah Lambshead

• Grand Bequest -Katherine Gunderson

Muse - Maggie Grogan

• ONE Creative Environments - Becki Smith

• Oxford Properties -Joanne McNamara

• Related Argent - Anthea Harries

 • The Gresham -Snizhana Yesaulenko

 • tp bennett - Caterina Polidoro

 • Uncommon - Magda Al-Nugaidi

• Valuation Office Agency - Helen Zammit-Willson

 • Gerald Eve - Natalie Rowland


Sponsored by: Knight Frank

Team Leader of the Year – Commercial

Winner – Emily Smith, Argyll

Emily Smith

Emily Smith

Chief operating officer Emily Smith helps to lead the 150-strong team at flexible workspace provider Argyll. During her time at the firm, she has spearheaded a development programme that has seen a paradigm shift in the working environment at the company. 

She has been instrumental in creating an inclusive, flexible working culture at the firm, which has helped to yield excellent results. Her successes include reducing the staff churn rate from 30% to 3.5% from 2021 to 2023. The firm’s Glassdoor rating has improved significantly.

Smith has achieved this by supporting the development of employee-friendly policies around issues such as flexible working and maternity leave. She has also put in place a compassionate pregnancy loss policy that provides four weeks’ paid leave on full pay to both men and women. 

Her role also entails helping to set Argyll’s ambitious net zero targets, which is helping it to attract better candidates to the business. 

The judges said Smith had delivered a truly impressive all-round achievement, “changing the culture and every aspect of the way people in the business were managed”.

Highly commended: Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield - Louise Haffenden


• DBS Bank - Diane Wonfor

• MAPP - Caroline Main

• Related Argent - Chrissy Cullen

• Shoosmiths - Kirsten Hewson

Team Leader of the Year – Residential

Winner - Vikki Broad, Hamptons

Vikki Broad

Vikki Broad

Vikki Broad leads a team of 10 estate agents at Hamptons’ Islington branch in north London. 

She was headhunted last year to drive performance improvements at two offices and to champion a diverse, inclusive culture. 

Her strategy of proactively controlling the controllable and homing in on the strengths of individuals saw a dramatic improvement in performance and she was soon promoted to head of sales at Hamptons’ best-performing branch. Her ambition is to build a branch strategy that can be adopted company-wide.

Fostering an open culture, as well as driving continuously improving performance, is part of what drives Broad. She has developed valuable initiatives that open up the conversation around equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI), for example, introducing a book club that explores titles such as Reni Eddo-Lodge’s Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race, which helped colleagues understand underrepresentation and inclusivity. 

She is also a LGBTQ+ leader and commits to making her authentic self visible in the workplace. She participates in the LGBTQ+ committee to inform strategy. 

The judges were impressed with the way Broad had turned the branches where she worked “not through aggressive business management but through building up the confidence of the people and also embedding EDI principles”.


• Butterfield Mortgages -Alpa Bhakta

• HSPG - Robyn Lee

• Investec - Jane Niles

 • JLL - Lauren Hunt

 • Linley and Simpson - Kerry Ferguson

 • Precede Capital Partners - Karen Dunstan

Mentor of the Year

Winner – Becki Smith, ONE Creative Environments

Becki Smith

Becki Smith

Mentorship is often cited as an essential part of supporting the equity, diversity and inclusion agenda and Becki Smith, senior associate architect at ONE Creative Environments, continues to give her time generously to inspire the next generation of architects.

Throughout her career, Smith has driven a series of projects designed to get young people excited about design. These include the Coventry City of Culture Show Windows, which, after being pushed to 2022 because of Covid-19, saw the designs of young people showcased in high street retail units.

Young people from three local schools in deprived areas participated in the scheme. Smith worked with the children to develop large-scale installations, mentoring them through the process while teaching them about different career paths in the property space. 

Smith promotes an ethos that people in senior positions can learn from the younger generation, and she dedicates herself to raising awareness of the many possible career paths in the construction industry. This includes offering mentoring from primary school age upwards, showing young people that property is open to women from all backgrounds. 

According to the judges, Smith’s work proves the importance of reaching out to schools if the sector is serious about encouraging greater diversity.


• Coutts & Co - Helen Pickstock

• Hollis - Vicki Palmer

• Knight Frank - Paula Rudkin

• Madison Berkeley - Nina Zeilerbauer

• Related Argent - Clara Monica Marcu

• tp bennett- Caterina Polidoro

Unsung Hero – Commercial 

Winner – Charlotte Butcher, CBRE

Charlotte Butcher

Charlotte Butcher

Described by her employer as the industry’s “best-kept secret”, Charlotte Butcher is the EMEA product lead for portfolio services at real estate firm CBRE. She has been with the business since 1994 and has led the transformation of the operational delivery of the service line over past year. 

CBRE credits Butcher with creating a bold, strategic vision for the sales and delivery teams across the EMEA region. Her work has also paved a clear path for teams to achieve the desired results and improve job satisfaction. 

Butcher also sits on CBRE’s Ability Network, leading the neurodiversity committee. As a cervical cancer survivor, she promotes awareness of the disease. In addition, she commits to supporting mothers returning to work and mentors young mums who need additional help.

She has managed to achieve all of this while supporting more than 500 people across the globe and helping CBRE to secure multi-million-pound business wins. 

The judges said Butch was very impressive “not only leading business transformation but also showing how more inclusive decisions help get better results”.


• Baltic Creative CIC - Becky Seaman

• British Land -Leanne Williams

• Clockwise - Jo Sweeney

• Kontor -Polly Robertson

• Locale Group - Vanessa Sampson

Unsung Hero – Financial and Professional Services

Winner – Charlie Barclay, Catella APAM

Charlie Barclay

Charlie Barclay

Senior HR and operations manager Charlie Barclay is an essential cog at property investment manager Catella APAM. The company credits her with transforming its people strategies, tools and policies and ultimately enhancing staff performance.

Barclay has implemented several innovative ideas to help attract talent, including introducing the Beyond the Numbers brochure that showcases the organisation’s people benefits. 

Attracting diverse talent is a key part of her remit, which is something she has achieved through amending its recruitment processes by introducing measures such as the use of blind CVs. The results have been tangible: more than 50% of staff are now female. 

She also supports the sponsorship of visas for employees who are from overseas as part of the firm’s diversity drive.

Catella’s personal development training initiative Influence and Impact was also Barclay’s brainchild. In addition, she leads on its wellbeing work with provider WorkWell, which has had positive effect on the entire workforce.

The judges described Barclay as both “strategic and thoughtful” and praised her for the contribution she had made to creating a diverse workforce.


• Arbuthnot Latham - Katie Marrow

• Blackstone - Anna Mignot

• Lockton Global Real Estate & Construction - Toni Longman

• Puma Property Finance - Tarinee Pandey

• Taylor Wessing - Clare Harman Clark

Unsung Hero – Residential

Winner – Annette Hudson, PMC Property Management & Lettings

Annette Hudson

Annette Hudson

Annette Hudson is co-chair of PMC Property Management & Lettings, which specialises in residential lettings and short-term holiday lets. 

Hudson took on the role at PMC in 2020 at a turbulent time for the firm following the death of the previous chairman. She has since led PMC through a significant period of growth after a difficult financial period.

Described as inspirational by her colleagues, Hudson has prioritised the wellbeing and mental health of PMC’s staff since taking on the co-chair role. Staff are always at the forefront of business decision-making, and she makes mental health therapy and interest-free loans available to the team. 

Her focus is also on creating a supportive inclusive workplace for all and she has introduced a range of new processes. Additionally, she has championed community initiatives, agreeing sponsorship deals and offering charities support. 

Hudson has also led the expansion of the firm into commercial factoring, and to launch a new holiday and short-term-let management service, which has already taken off. 

The judges said Hudson was “clearly a compassionate leader who has shown great empathy towards employees” while also delivering a significant financial turnaround at the company.


• HSPG -Sophie Saxon

• Londonist DMC -Dinara Suleimanova

• Londonist DMC - Fulya Dogan

• Nido -Rosie Hill

• Savills UK - Ema Saunders

• Yugo - Hollie Martin

Innovator of the Year

Winner – Caoimhe Loftus, Arcadis

Caoimhe Loftus

Caoimhe Loftus

Working as an architect, Caoimhe Loftus was frustrated by the manual processes and repeat work that were common practice across the industry. During her time at architects and design firm Arcadis, she has worked to develop a series of automations to improve this process, including helping to develop a script library to automate production work including setting up drawings and production of area schedules. 

More recently as digital lead, she has advocated the use of new software that enables project teams to test a variety of designs quickly and sustainability analysis to assess designs. This is particularly important to help address the climate crisis. 

Loftus has also helped to set up software user groups to enable other users to upskill and share knowledge to enhance the adoption of software across the industry.

She has also gone on to become a leading expert on the topic of artificial intelligence (AI) and architecture, delivering presentations at conferences and events and speaking on real estate podcasts.  

In addition, Loftus participates in several industry groups, including building information modelling (BIM) network Women in BIM and the Urban Land Institute. With Women in BIM, she has participated in its group coaching programme where women working across the field of BIM work together to develop their skills. 

The judges praised Loftus for the “bold and brave way” she had embraced AI usage in architecture, and for continuing to look for “efficient and green solutions” to difficult problems facing her business.


• Londonist DMC -Dinara Suleimanova

• Oberlanders Architects - Samantha McCabe

• REACH UK, Second Century Ventures - Natasha Terinova

• Related Argent - Lily Wydra


Sponsored by: Aldermore

Returner of the Year

Winner – Rebecca Moore, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner

Rebecca Moore

Rebecca Moore

Rebecca Moore is a real estate lawyer, a mother of two young children and a role model to colleagues at law firm Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP). 

She returned to work in March 2022 following her second maternity leave. While on leave, she went through a nine-month partnership promotion process, with her final interview taking pace when her daughter was only two months old. In January 2022, she was promoted to partner.  

She has been a champion and mentor for women throughout her 12-year career at BCLP. As a senior associate, Moore identified the significant skills gaps many women faced and a lack of women-focused training. In 2021, she worked together with other senior figures at the firm to devise Amplify, a bespoke training and coaching programme for women across the business.

Moore has also played an integral role in BCLP Podium, a scheme that supports BCLP junior women partners with their career progression. The scheme is unique because it was also opened up to BCLP’s clients, enabling women to build a network of meaningful business relationships.

BCLP credits these schemes with having a positive effect on the business. 

Moore also advocated for enhanced parental leave policies for staff that were implemented in May 2023. As a result of the changes, staff are now offered 26 weeks’ full-paid leave instead of 13.

The judges said that not only has Moore returned to a challenging role; she has demonstrated a “clear commitment to empowering women” and used her position to “champion family-friendly policies”.

Highly commended: Homes For Students - Kate Forester


• Henley Investment Management - Charlotte Nunn

• Henley Investment Management - Hattie Charlier-Poole

• Hines UK - Emme Batten

• Hamptons - Emma Snoddy

Returner of the Year – Financial and Professional Services

Winner – Vicky Kelly, Thornley Groves

Vicky Kelly

Vicky Kelly

Vicky Kelly has shown true resilience following her return to the office after receiving a devastating breast cancer diagnosis just six months into her role at estate agency Thornley Groves.

The lettings manager has not let this nor the intensive chemotherapy, lumpectomy surgery and ongoing radiotherapy sessions stop her returning to work. 

Her resilience has been inspiring the wider team.

Despite her health problems, Kelly has continued to play an integral role at the agency, helping it through its most busy, most difficult periods. Her successes include helping Thornley Groves’ student customers to find suitable accommodation through the cost-of-living crisis and working with property owners to increasingly turn to green energy.

The Thornley Groves team put it best: “We only wish we could bottle her and show her off as a true inspiration to everyone else who may be poised to return to work after completing their own cancer treatment.”

The judges said Kelly had “earned the respect and admiration of her colleagues” as she succeeded in her role despite her health challenges.


• AEW - Laura Elkin

• Clockwise Offices - Penny Brewer

• Hollis - Louise Woolfenden

• HSPG - Robyn Lee

• JLL - Carla Hammond

• Naylors Gavin Black- Jessica Ross

• Savills - Natalie Hinds

• Savills - Sara Carthy

Woman of the Year – Financial and Professional Services

Winner – Uma Rajah, CapitalRise

Uma 5[9]

Uma Rajah

After working in various companies, often as the only BAME woman on the team, Uma Rajah co-founded CapitalRise in her forties to demonstrate to members of the BAME community, particularly women, that they could and should pursue any passions that they had, whatever the stage of their career. She prioritises mentoring other women with a similar background to herself to help drive a more equitable future for the finance sector.

Under her stewardship as chief executive, CapitalRise has gone on to become a major success, facilitating huge loans against prime properties and continually growing its portfolio and number of investors. Her extensive knowledge of fintech platforms is also instrumental to CapitalRise’s continued success. Before co-founding CapitalRise, Rajah held various head-of-product roles at a leading online consumer lending business, and has applied this technical expertise to this current venture.

In addition, Rajah has become a well-known figure within the property sector and a role model for equity, diversity and inclusion. 

The judges said Rajah embodied resilience, drive and commitment in the property industry, and credited her with flying the flag for BAME women in the sector. 


• BBS Capital -Joanne Barnett

• Investec - Jane Niles

• Lockton Companies - Rachel Norris

• Shoosmiths -Kathryn Jump & Lisa Tye

• Taylor Wessing - Leona Ahmed


Sponsored by: Knight Frank

Woman of the Year – PBSA

Winner – Suraiya Comunello, Nido

Suraiya Comunello

Suraiya Comunello

Over the past five years, chief marketing officer Suraiya Comunello has helped to transform Nido into a leading brand in the student accommodation sector.

Comunello, who is of British Asian/African heritage, played an integral role in rebranding the business as Nido Student and setting its four strategic values: community; wellbeing; sustainability; and design and technology. These pillars have become essential to the day-to-day running of the business, demonstrating the wider impact of Comunello’s work.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Nido credits her pivoting the business to be the first purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) operator in Europe to offer a comprehensive virtual events programme and to partner with a psychologist to provide mental health and wellbeing support to students.

A valued member of the senior leadership team, Comunello works closely alongside the chief executive and chief operating officer to successfully secure global investment, enabling Nido to expand across Europe. Testament to her tremendous skill, Comunello now oversees the design and creation of all business pitches and B2B communications.

In addition, she is an equity, diversity and inclusion champion, leading Nido’s diversity committee and ensuring that it remains representative. 

The judges described her as a “true role model and inspiration”.


• Abodus Living - Katherine Austin

• CA Ventures - Gina McMorran

• Housing 21 - Tracy Jones

• Londonist DMC - Dinara Suleimanova

• Londonist DMC - Fulya Dogan

• The Class Foundation - Kelly-Anne Watson


Sponsored by: Knight Frank

Rising Star – Residential

Winner – Aleksandra Paciorek, EQT Exeter

Aleksandra Paciorek

Aleksandra Paciorek

Aged just 16, Aleksandra Paciorek came to the UK on her own from Poland for the educational opportunities. She went on to study at university and later landed a job in the real estate division of Goldman Sachs, earning promotion to associate in just two years. 

In 2021, she moved to investment firm EQT as an associate. During her time at the company, she has developed an impressive build-to-rent portfolio, helping to combat the undersupply of housing in London and other UK cities. She has gone on to become a senior associate, trusted to present to investors alongside directors and partners. 

Paciorek believes in creating opportunities for others and runs a structured summer internship programme to ensure a pipeline of talent into the firm. She personally takes responsibility for hiring interns. This programme has been so successful that it is now being rolled out in the US.  

Alongside her day job, she sits on the Women Committee, helping to steer the strategic vision and create an environment that fosters safety and inclusivity. 

The judges praised Paciorek for her “impressive tenacity and determination” and for moving to a foreign country at such a young age to forge a career for herself.


• Avamore Capital - Sophia Lee

• Golden Acre Estates -Sharron Kaur

• Linley and Simpson - Mia Holden

• Londonist DMC - Dinara Suleimanova

• Student Roost - Natasha Cartwright

• Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield - Hannah Durling


Sponsored by: LH1 Global

Rising Star – Commercial

Winner – Laura Atkinson, Peel L&P

Laura Atkinson

Laura Atkinson

Laura Atkinson joined regeneration specialist Peel L&P as an intern in 2018 and has since risen through the ranks to become sustainability and environmental, social and governance (ESG) manager, taking the lead on some complex projects. She heads up the firm’s net zero and social value work across its 12m sq ft property portfolio.

Her achievements include ensuring Peel L&P buildings were the first in the UK to be third-party verified as net zero carbon in operation against the UK Green Building Council’s framework in 2019. This year, Atkinson has extended the number of buildings verified to 18, the highest of any property owner. This tally includes the first two net zero carbon retail outlets in the UK at Quayside Media in Salford and Gloucester Quays.

Overall, her work contributed to Peel L&P saving more than 2,700 tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2021-22.

Additionally, Atkinson has helped to formulate a social value framework for Peel L&P and participates in the UK Green Building Council’s Social Value Working Group.

The judges praised her for creating a social value framework so early in her career and for her clear vision for sustainability.


• Clockwise Offices - Katie Makin

• DLA Piper -Dhaksha Giga

• Firethorn Trust - Eleanor Musgrove

• Godwin Developments - Claudine Tracey

• Heather Smith Commercial - Claudia Smith

• Hollis - Aom Butreewong

• Hollis -Georgia Currell

• Schroders Real Estate - Gabriella Peerman

• Waterman Group - Laura Smith

EDI Champion of the Year

Sponsor – Lloyd’s Bank

Winner – Coralie McKeivor, Freeths

Coralie McKeiver

Coralie McKeiver

The judges saw lots to celebrate in Coralie McKeivor’s entry. McKeivor is managing associate in the real estate team at law firm Freeths and a member of numerous organisations that support equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI), making a powerful contribution to bodies that focus on ethnicity, religion, gender and disability.

She is the current chair of Women Lawyers Bristol and a member of the Bristol Equality Network and sits on the committee of the Law Society’s disability network. As honorary secretary at Bristol Law Society, she drives the agenda as co-chair of its EDI committee, working with a wide range of inclusion-focused third parties.

At Freeths, McKeivor has helped drive forward its 2022 diversity and inclusion pledge and enabled the company to become more accessible to people from all walks of life.

She often shares her own experiences during events such as South East Asian Heritage Month and Disability History Month.

Her colleagues have described her as “full of energy and drive” and a true EDI champion.

The judges praised her submission, saying it was supported by “powerful testimonials”, and flagged her “unique combination of empathy, passion and strategic thinking”.


• Blackstone -Jessica Munde

• CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang - Rebecca Roffe

• Herbert Smith Freehills -Carolyn Milligan

• Puma Property Finance - Tarinee Pandey

• Ronald fletcher Baker - Yasaman Asaad

• Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield - Louise Haffenden

• Hamptons - Olivia Pegrum


Sponsored by: Lloyds Bank

EDI Champion of the Year – Financial and Professional Services

Winner – Laura James, BakerHicks

Laura James

Laura James

Over the past two years, Laura James, head of Scotland at design and engineering firm BakerHicks, has thrown herself into overhauling the company’s equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) strategy.

James chairs BakerHicks Belonging, a company-wide EDI group that launched in early 2021. Since then, James has driven a significant programme of change, starting with a call for volunteers from a range of disciplines and backgrounds. A number of virtual and in-person sessions have since taken place involving open and honest discussions about member experiences and focusing on issues such as gender, sexuality and race.

Working with Belonging team members, James established an EDI action plan that focused on company policies, recruitment and internal and external promotion, as well as industry support and staff training.

She also worked alongside BakerHicks’ managing director to ensure that the staff members were given time out of their busy work schedules to explore issues around under-representation, as well as discuss potential fixes and develop strategies to encourage diversity and positive behaviours at all levels.

BakerHicks credits James with steering an authentic and meaningful action plan and helping it to create a truly inclusive culture where everyone feels valued and respected.

The judges described James as someone who had shown “passion, drive and commitment” to the EDI agenda.


• Hollis - Louise Woolfenden

• JLL -Rutendo Mataruka

• LMRE - Romey Oulton

• Londonist DMC - Milita Baršauskaitė

• Madison Berkeley - Nina Zeilerbauer

• Rider Levett Bucknall -Lucy Fisher

• Savills UK - Chanelle Gray

• Valuation Office Agency -Ayesha Azar


Sponsored By:

EDI Team of the Year

Winner – Real Estate Balance

Real Estate Balance team

Real Estate Balance team

Tired of waiting for change to happen, 10 years ago seven female real estate leaders came together to identify ways of tackling the gender imbalance within the property industry.

After consulting the sector and receiving unanimous support, they decided to set up campaigning group Real Estate Balance (REB) in 2015 to bring about change.

Since then, the organisation has grown to more than 100 members and REB has expanded its remit to cover other areas of inclusion such as ethnicity and social mobility.

Today, REB runs campaigns and events and conducts the property industry’s most comprehensive equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) survey. It also offers a speed-mentoring programme to nurture the next generation.

With a managing director now established in place, the founding members of REB are gradually stepping down from their roles over the next two years.

REB credits them with spending “thousands of hours working to progress EDI” over the past decade – and doing it all without pay.

The judges said REB was a clear example of an organisation “walking the talk”, and praised the women behind it for continuing to evolve the organisation and act as a champions for diversity in the sector.

Highly commended: St. Modwen


• Irwin Mitchell


• London Borough of Waltham Forest

• Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield


Sponsored by: Puma Property Finance

EDI Programme of the Year

Winner – Savills UK


Three years ago, Savills realised that its apprenticeship scheme was lagging behind its peers and made a concerted effort to improve and become best in class.

A bold, strategic overhaul saw the programme increase in scope and become accessible to a wider set of applicants. Now, it offers a clearer path for apprentices to thrive and develop.

The proposition includes 10 pathways to success, which include offering some courses with lower entry requirements.

The changes made, combined with an increased focus on active outreach, have helped to make jobs in the property industry more attainable to young people.

The results are clear to see. Savills has already exceeded its apprenticeships target and continues to attract interest from broad range of young people.

The judges described the scale of growth as “fantastic” and said Savills’ willingness to open doors to people from different backgrounds and levels of experience was one to be proud of.

Highly commended: Women in Property National Student Awards 2022-23


• Freeths

• Mount Anvil

• Puma Property Finance

• Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield


Sponsored by: PGIM Real Estate

Mental Health Initiative of the Year

Winner – The 55 Group

The 55 Group

The 55 Group

The property sector can be a stressful and fast-paced place to work, putting a strain on individuals’ mental health.

Four years ago, procurement specialist The 55 Group established the Pagabo Foundation, a charity that raises the profile of mental health within the construction industry and funds resources to make support and advice as readily available as possible.

The charity funds mental health first-aid training, making it completely free for individuals across the industry to access. The training gives people the tools and knowledge to spot early signs of mental health problems and be confident in providing support or guidance to their fellow professionals.

The foundation offers an accredited mental health first-aid qualification and last year launched the Feelgood Games, a fitness, movement and fundraising event.

The event launched in 2022 with the dual aim of getting the industry moving, while also raising funds for the foundation. The first edition saw people from industry-leading companies take on an obstacle course, raising £31,000 for the foundation’s work.

The judges said the initiative had made a “tangible positive impact” on other organisations within the real estate sector.



• Clockwise

• Herbert Smith Freehills

• Puma Property Finance

• Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield


Sponsored by: Irwin Mitchell

Leader of the Year – Financial and Professional Services

Winner – Jo Allen, Frogmore

Jo Allen

Jo Allen

Women now make up a significant portion of the real estate workforce but they remain poorly represented in senior roles.

In her 35 years working in the property sector, Jo Allen has carved a clear pathway to a leadership role that women across the sector are able to follow.

Allen joined property fund manager Frogmore in 1994 as a chartered surveyor and gradually rose through the ranks before being appointed chief executive in 2016. Since then, she has gone on to display clear and capable leadership, steering the business through a variety of challenges, including the Covid-19 pandemic.

Throughout her career, she has taken time out to mentor women working in the property sector and associated industries both formally and informally.

As a result of initiatives she has put in place, half of the senior roles at Frogmore are now occupied by women.

Away from her day job, she is a patron and a key supporter of property sector charity LandAid, which supports projects working to end youth homelessness in the UK.

The judges said Allen displayed “outstanding leadership” and a dedication to equity, diversion and inclusion.


• Aldermore Bank - Emma Donnelly

• Blackstone - Sumedha Goenka

• Freeths - Sarah Rowe

• Investec -Jane Niles

• Precede Capital Partners - Karen Dunstan

• Shoosmiths - Kirsten Hewson

• Taylor Wessing -Emma Tait

Leader of the Year – Commercial

Winner – Madonna Kinsey, Battersea Power Station Development Company

Madonna Kinsey, Deputy Chief Executive Officer at Battersea Power Station Development Company

Madonna Kinsey

With a career spanning 23 years, Madonna Kinsey brings a wealth of experience to Battersea Power Station Development Company (BPSDC), the organisation behind the transformation of the historic landmark into a mixed-use development.

As deputy chief executive and chief legal and compliance officer, Kinsey has been a pivotal figure in turning the former brownfield site into an exciting living, retail and leisure destination.

Kinsey led the in-house legal team during a critical period ahead of opening the grade II-listed landmark and Electric Boulevard, its new pedestrianised high street, in autumn 2022. She has also been instrumental in continuing to secure fantastic results for the organisation.

In addition, Kinsey supports other women in property. Her team consists of 80% women and she takes time to back various diversity projects aimed at helping Battersea Power Station and Electric Boulevard be more inclusive destinations.

The judges said Kinsey was clearly a “powerhouse” in terms of getting things done and achieving a large number of impressive projects.


• Argyll -Emily Smith

• HBD -Vivienne Clements

• International WELL Building Institute - Ann Marie Aguilar

• MAPP - Caroline Main

• Related Argent - Kemi Ayodele

• SLR Consulting - Elle Cass

• The Gresham - Snizhana Yesaulenko

• The Instant Group -Lucinda Pullinger

• Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield - Jacinta Rowsell

Winners’ Winner Woman of the Year

Lynn Haime, chief executive of Baltic Creative CIC

Lynn Haime

Lynn Haime

The judges selected an overall Woman of Year, choosing the individual whose successes stood out above their fellow award winners: Lynn Haime, chief executive of Liverpool-based developer and landlord Baltic Creative CIC. (See full write-up above).

Haime has placed equality, diversity and inclusion at the heart of the organisation and given countless hours to supporting women and young people wanting to get into the property sector or progress through the industry.

The judges were simply blown away by her energy and commitment to the cause.

One described Haime as a “fantastic role model for younger generations” and “someone who proactively seeks to make the industry more accessible”.

Another praised her for leading with “empathy and compassion” and described her as “a champion of women and breaking boundaries”.


Sponsored by: Knight Frank

 Lifetime Achievement Award: Liz Peace

Liz Peace

Liz Peace

As industry figures go, they don’t come much bigger than Liz Peace. For more than two decades, the indefatigable Peace has played a central role in the property sector, negotiating with governments and standing up for gender equality in the sector. 

Peace started out as a civil servant, working for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) before moving to defence technology contractor QinetiQ in the early 1990s.

Then, in 2002, came her big break in the property sector. The chief executive of the British Property Federation (BPF) was stepping down and Peace put herself forward for the role.

“They had a big debate on the board about what sort of chief executive they needed,” Peace told Property Week earlier this year. “Did they want a property person who knew little about how to lobby government or should they have someone who understood government but didn’t know anything about property? In the end, they went for me: someone who understood government but didn’t know much about property.”

She did not remain a property novice for long. Within a few short years, the BPF was securing major concessions from government and Peace was winning plaudits for her diplomatic and leadership skills. Her biggest success came in 2007 when the Labour government agreed to create real estate investment trusts (REITs). “The industry had been lobbying for REITs way before I arrived,” said Peace. “I was told it was a lost cause. But I then got chatting to a Treasury figure and he showed some interest in the idea.”

Peace remained at the BPF until her retirement from full-time work in 2014. She did not, however, retire from the sector. Far from it. Since leaving the BPF, she has taken on a range of non-executive roles and founded diversity and inclusion campaigning body Real Estate Balance, which seeks to address gender imbalance at senior levels in real estate companies and drive cultural change.

In the eight years since it was established, the body has been widely praised for propelling diversity and inclusion up the boardroom agenda and for its efforts supporting change in the sector.

The judges said Peace was a standout candidate to win the inaugural lifetime prize. “As a founder of Real Estate Balance and one of the senior figures in the sector, she is a passionate and inspirational leader who has made an impact on many in the industry,” they said.


Sponsored by: Investec

IWIP awards D&V master