Caroline Pooley

Principal, Property Management Marketing Lead

Birmingham, England, UK

Meet Caroline Pooley

What is your role at Avison Young?

Principal in award-winning Property Management division. Lead on Business Development & Marketing/Communications in a corporate context and on behalf of clients engaging with their occupiers. Our established Destination Marketing team – responsible for raising the profile of, enhancing experiences, activating spaces and engaging with communities located at - our client assets - also sit within my remit.

How did you get into commercial real estate?

I’ve worked in marketing and business development for 20 years across sectors – from policy making and government to leading leisure and hospitality venues and organisations – where the focus on customer centricity and user experience dominated conversations from 2005 onwards.

The move into real estate nine years later, which also came after over two years as a management consultant where I worked with global organisations, has made perfect sense. It brings together that learned consultant ability to identify client and asset issues and opportunities quickly, with an understanding of space and place - along with a legacy marketers natural approach to taking anything on and delivering to meet the ultimate thrill of seeing returns.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life and why?

I don’t think I could narrow it down to a single influence. I have worked for only eight managers in my career. Four women and four men. Two of them had a hugely positive impact on my behaviour, stakeholder management, leadership and standards. Two taught me very much how I would not want to lead, manage or be perceived.

My mum’s work ethic and expectations, my dad’s curiosity and need to understand, my husband’s rational and team approach to life have all influenced me in ways I wouldn’t have foreseen when starting out at 18! What is the best advice you've ever received?

  1. Run toward something you are excited about, not away from something you don’t enjoy.
  2. Go to sleep at night feeling you’ve been true to yourself and done the right thing. Very few issues can’t be resolved where there were initially good intentions.

And the advice I would give to young women starting their careers is to play your own game; craft your own authentic "brand" and then deliver it day after day. It will avoid you competing unnecessarily, it will enable you to work efficiently and effectively without spending time trying to do it in a way someone else would and it will mean people always know what energy you’re going to bring to the table, regardless of the opportunity or the question being asked of you. Oh, and don’t stop learning or asking for feedback – you’ll never know it all or be perfect!

How has Avison Young supported you as a woman in business?

Avison Young has – and is – supporting me in business full stop, not as a woman. Leveraging the full talent of an existing and prospective workforce delivers competitive advantage.

Since the merger of GVA and Avison Young, it’s clear that our executive team recognise that changing the numbers, stereotypes and policies of what is a more traditional industry is critical to performance and retention. At a senior level, I have experienced enabling progression, fair performance evaluation, inviting involvement, opinion and sharing of information – and Avison Young is committed to ensuring this continues to disseminate through the levels of the company.

From a female perspective, my MD is, I feel, conscious of the penalty on likeability for successful women, and has helped to challenge the so called “maternal wall” by supporting changing needs through flexible working since returning to work last year after having my daughter and by avoiding making assumptions on my willingness to take on work, roles or travel since becoming a mum.

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