Yvonne Ambo, L&G Investment Management
This weeks inspiring individual is Yvonne Ambo, Senior Transactions Manager at L&G Investment Management. Thanks for taking the time to speak with us Yvonne, could you being by briefly describing your entry into the property industry and your career journey so far.
I graduated at Kingston University with a BSc (Hons) in Real Estate Management in 2011. I gained as much work experience as I could, worked for Land Securities Trillium (now Telereal Trillium), Valuation Office Agency and Lambert Smith Hampton.
I joined the Knight Frank Graduate Scheme where I worked in hotel agency, healthcare agency & development, business rates, property asset management and ended up becoming Commercial Portfolio Fund Valuer (advising some of the biggest funds in the market).
In 2015 I took the position of Investment Manager at M&G Real Estate working on the £7bn+ long income funds, my time was split between managing the largest portfolios and was involved in over £250m of investment transactions and soon became their lead hotel and leisure sector specialist for UK and later Europe – I had a good time there and lots of travel!
I realised doing investment deals was my passion and I needed to advance my career in a senior role. I left M&G to take on a senior transaction management position at L&G Investment Management in 2018. I’m responsible for sourcing more investment opportunities for its long income funds, focusing purely on deals. The type of transactions I work on includes sale and leasebacks, pre-let development, income strips and ground leases across all sectors such as offices, student accommodation, hotels etc. It’s a great job and keeps me on my toes.
In your opinion, what is an important development or theme that will shape the future of the property industry?
The property industry is has a diverse range of roles and requires people with a variety of skills. As such the topic of a more gender balanced work force is high on the agenda – expect to see more women at senior and board level positions, more men taking longer periods for paternity leave and flexible working becoming more of a norm. Certainly seeing more graduates coming into the profession from different backgrounds, with more people taking other routes to entry such as apprenticeships. Having worked with other companies in the past on attracting more people into the profession from different backgrounds, we still need to do more and a lot of that has to begin with speaking to school children about the wide range of careers in surveying – they are the future.
What do you wish someone had told you at the start of your career?
Work smarter not necessarily harder. This is about understanding your work style, prioritising the important tasks, knowing your strengths and building a network around you to help build on goals in the most efficient and quickest way possible. Focus! It’s not surprising that work takes longer when we become distracted and it’s easily done with emails. It’s always good to take a step back, take that moment to think things over, rushing is where mistakes can happen.
What advice would you give to a young person starting their career in the industry?
Get busy building your network – especially amongst your peers, you’ll find that as your career progresses into more senior roles so will theirs. Get a mentor and more than one, they are invaluable and despite being in senior position I still have one! Mentors help us to see where we can improve when we often cannot and of course offer much needed encouragement in times of need.
Thanks for taking the time to speak to us Yvonne, it has been great to hear more from you!