Prologis’s capital and leasing vice-president, Sally Duggleby, on her rural upbringing, Amazon exploits and her cultural recommendations.
How did you join the property industry?
I grew up on a farm and wanted a land-based career so chose a rural practice surveying degree. After managing agricultural and country house estates for a few years in Scotland and Sussex, I switched to commercial surveying in London.
What does your job entail now?
I’m lucky to be involved in every stage of the warehouse development lifecycle, from land promotion to leasing and strategic asset management. My main project is Prologis DIRFT, which is the UK’s leading rail-served logistics park. I have had to learn about rail freight fast.
What do you like most about the property industry?
I like the depth and breadth of work the industry provides and the excellent teachers I’ve met along the way. My career has spanned rural, residential and commercial, from sorting stately home repairs to leasehold enfranchisement of big London residential blocks through to millions of square feet of build-to-suit warehouses. The variety has been awesome and has also led to all sorts of random experiences, such as helping to put out a grouse-moor fire.
And what do you dislike most about it?
The lack of diversity is a concern. We must do more to make people aware that the property industry is a career pathway.
What barriers or challenges do you feel you have overcome?
Growing an occupier book of business from scratch at Savills was challenging at times but I achieved it; the projects were rewarding and I met some great people.
What are you most proud of in your career?
The portfolio and team I built during my time as head of real estate at Amazon UK & ROI. It was a hard but fun challenge to assemble the network of fulfilment centres and delivery stations. When I joined, there were just five properties in the network, but seven years later we’d expanded to more than 100.
What’s your biggest career mistake or regret?
Early in my career, I inadvertently sent an email to a colleague criticising their performance. While initially awkward, it forced me to resolve the issue face to face, and I’ve adopted this approach in my business dealings since.
What advice would you give someone starting a career in the property industry?
Don’t put up with accepted ways of doing things if they’re outmoded or don’t make sense. Also follow what interests you, and try to have fun.
Who do you admire most in the property sector?
Anyone who goes over and above to give something genuinely meaningful back to society. Some of the Covid initiatives I saw in the Property Week Awards were impressive and went the philanthropic extra mile.
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