Beth works for the world’s largest commercial real estate services and investment firm, which has been named one of Fortune’s “Most Admired Companies” in the real estate sector for five years in a row.
How did your journey to becoming a assistant planner begin?
I worked for a family friend who owned an Estate Agency during my first Summer at University which sparked my initial interest in property. However, it was my sister who first mentioned to me that Geography degree graduates became planners and that’s what truly started me on my path to finding out more about planning.
What did you end up studying throughout college and university?
I studied A-Levels in Geography, History, Biology and Drama followed by a BA (Hons) in Geography and an MSc in Urban and Regional Planning.
What are some common misconceptions about your industry?
That all I do is householder applications. Whereas, in reality, as a planner for a commercial real estate (CRE) planning consultancy I do a wide range of applications as well as policy monitoring, site visits and a whole lot more!
Do you consider your industry or be diverse? Or is there room for improvement?
I think that the wider industry is definitely heading in the right direction in terms of diversity, however there is still a way to go. I’m lucky to be part of my company’s Women’s Network and help to promote increased opportunities for women in property. My company also recently became the first property company to achieve the UK National Equality Standard, which is a major step forward in terms of demonstrating a commitment to diversity and equality.
What would you do in your typical days work?
Planning appraisals, site visits, meeting attendance, draft, submit and monitor planning applications, monitor policy and legislation, conduct sequential assessments, issue strategic advice and a whole lot more.
Are there any particular skills you think people should have to succeed in your profession?
Versatility and adaptability. You need to be a people person as well as a technical person. If you were a good all rounder at school then property is definitely for you.
Do you think enough young people consider your industry as oppose to others such as finance and law?
I know I didn’t. It was only as I found out more about it that I got more interested and thought about planning as a genuine career path. I think planning, and property in general, should definitely be advertised more in Schools, Colleges and Universities.
What are the best and worst parts of your job?
The best part of my job is the diversity in what I do every day. No site is the same and each site brings its own challenges which really keeps you on your toes. The worst part is when legislation changes and you have to re-wire your brain to the new rules!
What is your favourite city and why?
New York, there’s something about the scale of the buildings and the grid planning system that just draws me in… and the shopping is pretty good as well!