Samar Shaheryar, co-CEO at homebuying company Spring, on how she got started in property and her cultural recommendations
How did you join the property industry?
By a very winding path. I spent the first 10 years of my career in investment banking in New York, where I grew up. In 2012, I founded an ecommerce social enterprise, where I learned how to run a business and an ecommerce site. When starting up, you are doing it all and you learn well because your own money is on the line.
In 2018, I joined National Property Trade, since rebranded to Spring, to revamp its digital marketing and my role kept growing as I worked on transformations in other parts of the business, using the skills and lessons
I had learned running my own company. I became COO later that year, part of the executive team that raised funding to give us £300m in annual buying power. I stepped into a co-CEO role at the start of 2023.
What does your job entail?
Spring has a unique co-leadership model. Cormac Henderson, Shane Miller-Bourke and I lead as a three-person executive team, with equal say in decisions and strategy, but with different responsibilities. As co-CEO, the lead generation team – comprising marketing, customer experience and relationships – reports to me as does HR. Shane, as the other co-CEO, focuses on the company’s finance, trading and tech functions. Executive director Cormac focuses on new business and special projects.
What do you like most about the property industry?
It is so varied and filled with passionate people. Designers, engineers, climate change experts, financiers, builders, salespeople and dozens of other different professions all run aspects of the property industry.
And what do you dislike most about it?
The lack of diversity in leadership ranks. Many companies do not even have women or much less ethnic minorities in any top positions.
What would you change about the property industry?
The diversity. How can we innovate, come up with new ways of doing things, create an industry fit for a changing, fairly chaotic future, when we do not have diversity of thought and experience in our ranks and leaders?
What barriers or challenges have you overcome?
The hardest thing I do every day is to be a working parent – juggle my company’s and employees’ needs as well as my family’s. I would not say I have overcome this challenge; it will always be a work in progress. At Spring, we do our best to make sure other working parents always feel supported, knowing how difficult it is.
What are you most proud of in your career?
Transitioning between industries.
I have had two major career transitions and every time the learning curve was steep. I love seeing how knowledge in one area can be so applicable to something completely different.
What advice would you give someone starting a career in the property industry?
Always keep your customers at the top of your mind. How can I solve their problem? How can I make this easier for them? Really understanding and caring about your customer will always lead to success.