How did you come to join Reall and how has your role evolved over the last 18 months?
I joined Reall in May 2019 after I was contacted by Oxford HR about a project management opportunity within Reall’s Investment & Operations team. I have a professional background that spans architecture, project management, marketing and international development, so the role was an amazing opportunity to focus my range of experience, into helping drive an affordable homes movement across Africa and Asia with Reall’s partners.
After an initial 12 months of supporting our portfolio of Asia-based partners in developing and delivering projects, I moved into a new role leading Reall’s efforts in addressing the Climate Crisis. The built environment is a major contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions, and communities across Africa and Asia are some of the most vulnerable to the risks presented by climate change. It has therefore been an enormous privilege to help drive Reall’s work in addressing this critical challenge and one that has substantially drawn upon my initial experience in the Investment and Operations team.
What advice would you give to others looking to evolve their career in this sector?
Transforming the affordable housing sector with commercially viable, climate-smart solutions is a vast, systemic challenge that needs co-ordinated involvement and support from a wide range of disciplines. We also need urgent action. So, if these are subjects where you have some level of interest or expertise, then it is never too early to look to build a career in the sector – you will almost certainly have something valuable to offer.
Because of the systemic transformation that we need, it is really important to be able to link problems and solutions creatively. A recommendation to anyone that wants to contribute to addressing the climate crisis and affordable housing in tandem, would be to build an understanding of the connected areas where your expertise has the potential to make a difference. For example, if you have commercial expertise in the built environment in the UK, do you understand both the similarities and differences in the characteristics of international markets, for example lower-income nations in Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa? If you are knowledgeable in green finance, how can you use that knowledge to help accelerate the provision of climate-smart affordable homes?