Over the month of March, I had the pleasure of interviewing three exceptional women working within the real estate sector at different stages in their careers. Here is a summary of their professional paths:


Andrea Carpenter

Andrea graduated as a journalist. In the last year of her studies, she started working in the construction sector using her writing and research skills gathered through education.  Within three years Andrea become editor of Europe Property Magazine. She learnt about real estate by working in property companies.

There has been a profound change in the industry over the last decade or so. Andrea is a senior professional and we were interested in knowing her thoughts on this. Some of the areas highlighted were sustainability, social value and the increase of interest in the residential sector.

  • We were also very curious about who inspired her and her career models. A couple of mentions were Peter Bill who was the editor of Estates Gazette and Anne Kavanagh CIO at PATRIZIA.
  • Andrea founded Diversity Talks Real Estate (DTRE) in 2016. It is a platform used as a database. It offers visibility and direct contact to underrepresented groups of professionals in Real Estate who are willing to be part of panels and conferences. DTRE also offers training in public speaking to enhance confidence and presence on the stage.
  • We then moved to talk about her book High Rise and Fall: The making of the European Real Estate Industry”. She explained how the book illustrates the fluctuations or property cycles of the market over time. Andrea interviewed key leaders in the industry to write her book. Their insights and willingness to help with the data gave her the motivation to do the project.
Liane Hartley

Liane studied geography and specialised in human geography. This helped her to understand the philosophy of urban spaces, society and well-functioning cities. She started working as an intern with ARUP which launched her career in urban planning. Liane is passionate about how societies interact with urban spaces on a basic and fundamental level; what our cities are for and what our role is in shaping them.

She also explained how the cities have changed over the years. In the past, cities regeneration and economic productivity were the main areas of study. Nowadays social value has become a predominant variable of having access to spaces and services to meet our communities’ needs.

  • Liane’s mentors and role models are split between urban thinkers and leaders working in the industry. She mentioned that Jane Jacobs and her book “The death and life of great American cities” profoundly inspired her. Jane investigated how urban life is created and the interactions that we have with each other are indeed urban behaviours. She also mentioned Henri Lefebvre who talks about the philosophy of Urban Planning and finally, Edward Soja Post-Modern urban thinker, who applied urban studies to social terms.
  • From the industry perspective, she mentioned key pioneering women: Helen Dias, strategic Planning at Atkins, Jackie Sadek, regeneration practitioner and Corinne Swain, Fellow at ARUP.
  • Liane founded URBANISTAS in 2012. It provides a platform for women to amplify their ideas to make cities better for everyone. The main goal of Urbanistas is to gather professionals from different sectors, backgrounds, skillsets and offer their knowledge and network to support entrepreneurial ideas. The organisation model has expanded to other parts of the world such as Australia, Europe and America.
Kirsty Watt

Kirsty studied architecture and followed up her degree with a Master’s in Architecture and Urban Planning. This allowed her to explore her creative side and concentrate on her areas of interest, such as community networks, infrastructure, and accessibility to a city scale.

Kirsty explained that the urban planning sector is interesting because it is hands-on and intersects with different areas like communities, the public sector, municipalities…etc.

In terms of what change she would like to see in urban planning in the future, she highlighted the recognition of gender within local development plans and policies across the UK and worldwide. This is a key area in achieving sustainability to ensure equality and inclusivity.  The design of spatial equity is important, and she hopes it would be reformed in planning in the UK.

  • Kirsty gets her inspiration from feminist theorists which enables her to think about how the theory can be reflected into design. She also follows companies like Matrix and Part W which are working towards gender equity in the built environment.
  • Kirsty founded HerCollective in 2021. The main idea of the company is to facilitate research about feminist theory and gender mainstream in Europe and UK. Kirsty and Emilia, the two founders, are developing workshops for organisations and municipalities to help critically analyse public space and understand how cities are used.
Tips and guidance for future generations

The three of them were passionate about what they do and gave some excellent tips on how to succeed in this industry. They mentioned networking as key to meeting like-minded people. Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert you should be authentic and create your own brand. They also mentioned other important skills such as writing, research, and preparation when you are networking or doing public speaking.

So be open and curious and explore this amazing industry!


Watch the three interviews here:





Author: Sonia Martin-Gutierrez