Lottie Tollman, Cushman & Wakefield
Position: Partner, Transformation Team
Company: Cushman & Wakefield
1. Briefly describe how you first entered the property industry and describe your career journey to your current position.
During uni, I interviewed at a number of firms but really wanted to work for a small to mid-sized company as I was worried I would get lost in the huge recruitment numbers in the big commercial surveying companies. I joined a firm called Donaldsons and little did I know that shortly after accepting the role, they were bought by DTZ so I ended up working for one of the big shops anyway! Being part of an acquisition and integration so early on in my career was actually a great experience and it’s absolutely the norm now, the industry is consolidating all the time.
As a graduate I had roles in the ‘Retail Asset Management’ team and later in the ‘UK Valuations’ team. I was really lucky in each, I had fantastic line managers who made sure that I attended client meetings and spent plenty of time on-site, so I wasn’t just stuck behind a screen at my desk.
After getting my APC under my belt, I left DTZ to go to Cushman & Wakefield as they had just won a huge Asset Management mandate that I thought would be great to be a part of. C&W were fantastic, but the market took a turn for the worse and I was no longer getting the client-facing experience that I wanted, as a result, I left C&W and came back to DTZ to join the ‘International Valuations’ team doing lots of travel across Europe and the US, valuing some really interesting assets and later got promoted to Associate Director.
When the opportunity came up at DTZ to take a secondment role within the EMEA Executive team I jumped at the chance! It happened to coincide with the acquisition of Cushman & Wakefield and the integration activities that followed. Having worked for both companies it was great to see the two come together. The experience of working with the executive leaders and understanding the business from a different aspect has been hugely valuable to my development.
At the beginning of 2017, I got promoted to Partner and launched a new team at Cushman & Wakefield called the ‘Transformation Team’ along with my colleague Toby Ogden. It’s a fantastic opportunity to be part of shaping the future of the business and ensuring that we remain relevant in such a fast-paced environment.
2. What advice would you give to a young person starting their career in the industry?
Always be yourself. You should absolutely feel like you can bring your ‘full self’ to work.
At C&W we have thrown out the old dress code rules and I love it. Colleagues now dress as they would at home and for me, I feel so much more connected to the ‘real’ person behind the suits than I did before.
I’d also tell young people starting in real estate to really spend time and energy on building your network. Your peers joining other firms at the same time as you are likely to be your clients in the future so build bridges now and you’ll reap the benefits later.
3. How would you describe the current property industry in three words?
People / Personalities / Evolving