Life at REDD, interview with Lauren Bennett, a woman in the world of property management and development.

We delved into Lauren's journey into the property sector, her responsibilities at REDD, and her perspectives on the industry.

How did you get into the property sector, highlighting key milestones and experiences that shaped your career?

I started my professional journey as an architect, dedicating the initial 12 years of my career to the field. While I loved my role as an architect, my progression to Associate level at a prominent architecture firm in London prompted a realisation that my natural abilities and interests were increasingly aligning with the management of people and projects. I began seeing architecture as just one component within a larger framework.

Contemplating a transition to a client-side position remained in my thoughts, yet it wasn't until the arrival of my first daughter, coupled with the reflective period of maternity leave, that I made the pivotal decision to join REDD, who took the chance on an architect as their new PM.

What led you to join REDD, and how has your experience been since joining the company?

I knew I wanted to move to a small company where I could get 360-degree experience and grow within a strong team so when a recruiter introduced me to REDD it felt like the perfect fit.The opportunity not only allowed me to contribute to the early stages of business development but also presented a conducive environment for learning from experienced colleagues. Upon meeting the team, I was impressed not only by their expertise but also that they were all really good craic, making the decision to join REDD an easy and exciting one.

Which Redd project are you most looking forward to completing?

I am primarily focused on 6 Charles Street at the moment and have been dedicated to this project since I joined the team. I am really excited about the completion of this one. The location is incredible, and the original building boasts impressive details, such as 4.5m high ceiling heights in our first-floor lateral apartment, which will offer something truly distinctive to the market.

The project involves reconstructing a Mews house and connecting it to the original building, which itself had a complex internal arrangement due to development over previous years. It feels like we are genuinely simplifying and highlighting the building's true potential. We are scheduled to complete on-site in early 2025, so this project will definitely keep me busy throughout the year.

What advice would you give to women in the property management and development industry who receive resistance from the opposite sex in the workplace?'

I have had this many times before and many times have addressed it head on. I have never done this in the moment, but have gone away and written down my thoughts and addressed it in the following days via email. Imposter syndrome and lack of confidence is so common, particularly in women, and it can be easier to let the doubt take over and accept that you aren’t ready for that promotion, or your view was incorrect, than to push back. Your voice is as important as everyone else should be heard with the same level of attention.

How do you balance career, personal life and passions? Is there such a thing as balance?

I think ‘balance’ is different for everyone. I am the mum of two young daughters (3 and 1) so my life can feel very hectic, juggling a fairly demanding job, the nursery runs, enjoying time with my kids and trying to manage my home means that there is little time for anything else. My idea of balance is therefore very different to people not in that situation, but I don’t think many people feel like they have lots of time to themselves. It is all relevant.

For me, I make sure I have small moments throughout each day for myself, be that walks at lunch, reading a good book on my commute, meditation each morning and night. They seem small wins but I really notice the difference if I let them slip so they must be providing some ‘balance’.

How can women support other women in their organisations?

Communication and staying alert to each other is key. I don’t believe support should only come from the women in organisations. I think the only way true change will be made is for everyone in the team to be aware when something is said or done that isn’t ok and for that behaviour to be challenged in an appropriate way. The challenges women face in this industry are sadly often not even noticed by their colleagues or are accepted as ‘banter’ or ‘it’s just the way it is’. Stay alert to it, ask their opinion, check in on your colleagues and don’t be afraid to challenge behaviour.

What is your top tip for women aspiring to pursue a career in property management and development?

Do it. It is an incredibly diverse and interesting industry that really benefits from a wider range of people contributing to the projects. It is a very male heavy industry but the view that men are best suited to certain roles is being challenged all the time, for the better.

  • What's the one quirky or fun item on your desk that you can't work without? My stash of snacks. Technically in my drawer but crucial to my day.
  • Sweet or savoury snack? Sweet always. I am 99% plant-based, apart from Twirls. I could never give them up.
  • Dream holiday destination? I would love to go back to Nepal. The people, the hiking, the views, the food.
  • Podcast / book recommendation? I love spooky things, so Uncanny or Unexplained