Megan Hanney, senior consultant, strategic advisory, at CBRE, on how she got started in property and tells us her cultural recommendations.
How did you join the property industry?
I only discovered the industry after completing my undergraduate degree, as it was not a sector that was massively advertised to me at school. I was introduced to the sector when I took a job with WeWork in 2014, focusing mainly on membership sales. I then very quickly took an interest in the technicalities of transactions when it came to acquiring leases for whole buildings.
What does your job entail?
I now advise investors, developers and occupiers on their digital and data strategies. This might typically include helping an investor make better-informed decisions with improved access to portfolio data, helping a developer deliver more value by using emerging technology or helping an occupier retain talent by using technology to improve the workplace experience.
What do you like most about the property industry?
I like that there is a structure for career progression or career transitions. There are many pathways to become quickly embedded through RICS if making a career move, and also an increasing number of sponsorship opportunities for those pursuing real estate straight out of school.
And what do you dislike most about it?
The lack of diversity, although this is something CBRE is passionate about changing and has made huge strides in progressing. For the wider industry, more progress in this area would bring benefits not only for individuals from all walks of life but also for corporate organisations.
What would you change about the property industry?
Manual transactional tasks and repetitive data-sharing practices. There is so much to be gained in the built environment by proactively investing in technology and maintaining effective governance of systems and data.
What barriers or challenges have you overcome?
Bridging the gap between traditional real estate practices and the application of emerging technology. While working towards becoming a chartered surveyor with RICS, I was also studying blockchain strategy at the University of Oxford. I am now part of the digital advisory team, advising clients on the application of technology to their real estate portfolios.
What are you most proud of in your career?
Staying true to my passion for technology. Sometimes it is hard to envisage how pursuing one opportunity might lead to another, but looking back I can now see how the dots have joined and how the extra time dedicated to activities in the tech sector paid off.
What do you value in people?
My mum always said that when holding a conversation, the greatest gift you can give is to make someone feel like they are the only person in the world. I value this greatly in other people and it rings true in a work context.
What advice would you give someone starting a career in the property industry?
To pursue building a network of people who can help elevate your career without being afraid to ask for help; and to confidently own your successes, failures and lessons learned.