Natalie Proctor, Structadene
This week we gain some insight into the exciting journey of Natalie Proctor, an Asset Manager at Structadene, finding out about her perspective on the industry and why it's so important to be your authentic self!
Hi Natalie, briefly describe how you first entered the property industry and describe your career journey to your current position.
I initially worked in regeneration policy development in Central Government before undertaking a Surveying degree part-time. During my studies I left government to work in Project Management at Turner & Townsend until I graduated. The class of 2011 graduated amidst the recession hangover so instead of pursuing oversubscribed graduate programmes, I applied for an Assistant Surveyor role clientside at Westfield using my experience as leverage and persuading them to let me undertake the APC. I was the only graduate in the company but several of our consultants were so helpful in inviting me to their graduate seminars and to undertake secondments with them to get the experience I needed. After 2 years, I moved into Corporate Real Estate at Cushman & Wakefield (C&W) where I became Chartered a year later. I returned clientside 3 years later to use the experience I have amassed across surveying disciplines over the last 10 years in Asset Management for a property entrepreneur.
In your opinion, what is an important development or theme that will shape the future of the property industry?
Technology: I believe some of the skillsets you see within the industry will change or disappear as new technologies take over. There is a myriad of PropTech innovators applying analytics into the sector. It’s only a matter of time before it becomes as disruptive to the industry in the way Fintech has touched every business the finance industry deals with. Proptech will move beyond the popular consumer-facing property portals and adapt to individuals interacting with them daily via the real estate they occupy or visit.
What advice would you give to a young person starting their career in the industry?
1) Surveying is one of the most diverse professions out there. Not everyone is an Agent or Developer. Don’t decide on your path too early without researching beyond your comfort zone.
2) Success is not defined by working for a big corporate consultant. There is more than one way of achieving a goal. It is not the end of the world if you don’t get onto a graduate programme. Nobody I know got onto graduate programmes when I graduated. I started clientside and had a lot more responsibility early on in a smaller firm.
3) Be your authentic self. You don’t have to have come from a lineage in property to progress. I didn’t even know what surveying was in college. And I now incidentally work for Developer on the Times Rich List who left school at the age of 15 with no qualifications.