LAUNCHING: ANDREA CARPENTER
Women Talk Real Estate
Time at the company:
WHAT IS YOUR PROFESSIONAL TITLE?
Director of Women Talk Real Estate, and I’m also a writer and freelance communications
WHAT DO YOU DO ON A DAY-TO-DAY BASIS?
At the moment, I’m working on launching Women Talk Real Estate, which is an initiative to promote the visibility of women within the European real estate industry. At present, women are under-represented on stage at our industry events and in the media so we have put together a database of potential female speakers which we then promote to event organisers and journalists. We believe that increasing visibility in these arenas will help the women with better business opportunities and career prospects, as well as help challenge stereotypes and provide more female role models.
While doing that, I’m also trying to juggle finishing a book on the European real estate industry and do some paid work as well.
WHAT DID YOU WANT TO DO WHEN YOU WERE A CHILD AND WHAT CHANGED?
I also loved writing so I’m glad that’s always been a big part of any job I’ve had – I started out as a journalist in the real estate industry. I’ve always had a fascination with forensic science (way before CSI) so maybe that would have been an alternative career choice for me.
WHAT ACADEMIC QUALIFICATIONS DO YOU HAVE?
I have a BA in Journalism and Economics.
WHAT’S THE BEST CAREER ADVICE YOU’VE EVER BEEN GIVEN?
I think the one that comes to mind is a piece of advice that I’ve consistently ignored. As I’ve risen through the ranks of organisations, I’ve been told a couple of times that I’ve not learnt the right balance of “them” and “us”. In other words, I’ve always been too much on the side of my team rather than the management. That probably curtailed me rising up the career ladder in at least one place but I’ve always been more than happy with that compromise.
WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL AND WHY?
In my working world, I would say Anne Kavanagh, CIO at Patrizia Real Estate. I’ve known her for most of my career and in addition to be a leading player in our industry, she makes time to keep a constant watching brief on all the women around her, making sure they are not missing out on opportunities and living up to their full potential. She pulled me aside once and made sure I was applying for a job that had come up in my current organisation, and I’ve always been grateful for that. I’m pleased to say that she’s also on the Women Talk Real Estate advisory board.
Then, there is TV land, which shouldn’t be under-estimated with well-written and well-acted role models. Who doesn’t want to be super-smart like Grace van Owen from LA Law or CJ Cregg from The West Wing? Or, have the fearlessness of Sgt Catherine Cawood from Happy Valley, and even the unfiltered freedom of Hanna Horvath from Girls?
WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT YOUR CURRENT WORKING ENVIRONMENT?
Getting to work with my dear friend and co-Director Viktorija Grubesic, which is a great working relationship and now ranks as a friendship that can’t be broken, however much time we seem to spend in each other’s pockets.
Also, we work from a co-working office and it really has been great to meet a variety of companies outside of my usual property arena: those supporting refugees here and abroad, artists and technology start-ups.
WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE ABOUT YOUR DAILY WORK ROUTINE IF YOU COULD?
I’d like to be able to make better use of the pre-9am hours, but I’m almost at the point of accepting that I am never going to be one of those super-efficient early birds.
WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF PROFESSIONALLY IN FIVE YEARS’ TIME?
Still writing. Any more than that I don’t really know or have a plan.
DO YOU FEEL YOU CAN BE THE SAME PERSON AT WORK AND IN PRIVATE?
Increasingly so. I think as you get older you have more confidence in yourself and your abilities rather than the job title you’ve been given.
DOES DIVERSITY MATTER TO YOU?
It’s always mattered but Women Talk Real Estate is the first time I’ve really taken action. I realised after being devastated by the decision on Brexit and then the US voting in Donald Trump that it was time to not only believe in something but also, if you had a good idea, then make it happen. After moderating another event with too few women on stage in September, the seed of an idea started and that become Women Talk Real Estate in November.
HOW GOOD IS YOUR WORK LIFE BALANCE?
Poor. A work in progress for the last 20 years.