Claire Paraskeva

Principal and Regional Managing Director of the Leeds Office, UK

Meet Claire Paraskeva

What is your role at Avison Young?

Principal and Regional Managing Director of the Leeds Office

How did you get into commercial real estate?

By default, I made a mess of my A-Levels, got into Sheffield Hallam University via clearing to do a course called Urban Land Economics and didn’t really know what a ‘Surveyor’ was when I started the course. However, I loved every minute of it and my placement year cemented my view that a career in property was for me; varied, engaging and highly regarded.

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

My Dad. He was a successful business man and he taught me to be respectful to everyone, regardless of whether they are a CEO of a company or a junior trainee. He also told me to be honest no matter what, and this has stood me in good stead in my career. Sadly, he passed away in 2004 but I think about him most days.

What is the best advice you've ever received?

Referring back to what my Dad said, be honest, be kind and work hard. Ask for advice, recognise your weaknesses as well as your strengths and don’t be afraid to seek help if you are ever struggling with something. Your colleagues will respect you and support you all the more. How has Avison Young supported you as a woman in business?

I have never felt there is a glass ceiling at Avison Young (or GVA previously). Providing you work hard and go out and win business, I have been offered the same opportunities and earn the same as my male colleagues.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

When I took on the Regional Managing Director (RMD) role in October 2018 I had a crisis of confidence.

  • Would I make a mess of it because I am not an Agent and not market facing?
  • Would the Avison Young brand flourish in the region under my stewardship?
  • Would I be able to manage 60 people in a capable manner?
  • Would I be able to balance my RMD role with my day job?

Whilst there is still much to learn, I feel I am evolving into the role. I recognise I am not going to excel at every facet required of an RMD but I have been in the Leeds office for 24 years and know the best people to delegate to when required. It’s ok to feel out of your depth once in a while; the trick is to not try and be Wonder Woman, because she is fictional!!

Read more Avison Young women stories