Time out with Katie Taylor
Time out with Katie Taylor, Director, Savills Retail Investment
"It was the 90s - a time when property and property companies were perceived as male dominated institutions. To an extent, they were. I was doing a degree in land management and I was one of only a handful of other females on the course."
The daughter of a retailer with his own company, business was in Katie Taylor's blood. She was raised with the belief she could achieve anything she wanted to - an ethos which has served her well in her career.
"I can remember being actively discouraged from applying for the Savills graduate programme by a fellow male student of mine, but being told I would find working within this male dominated industry a challenge, was all the motivation I needed to apply."
"Joining as a graduate, I didn't set out to work in the investment department. All I initially wanted to do was to learn and become the best I could be."
This drive has seen Katie work in London, Paris and Sydney, where she learnt how to deliver a consistently high level of service across different geographic boundaries. "Being exposed to different working practices and having to overcome any language and cultural barriers has been hugely valuable but so too is the working environment Savills provides.
"The Savills Graduate programme enabled me to rotate within different departments in the company, building up experience in each one.
"This is one of the wonderful things about working at Savills - the exposure to a multitude of disciplines within the industry and the opportunity to move around these until you find a field which really interests you and in which you excel. Even then, if you want to move into a different sector, there is the choice, opportunity and support to do so."
"At Savills, we are a working meritocracy and because of the extent and diversity of service on offer, every Savills employee has access to and the ability to learn from, some of the most respected and knowledgeable experts in the business. My aim was to come in and impress those experts every day. I knew if I could achieve this, I would progress."
From starting as a work experience student and then graduate trainee, Katie is now part of an investment team that is responsible for acquiring and disposing of property on behalf of UK Institutions, Overseas Funds and high net worth individuals.
Revelling in the variety of her role - whether it's an internal meeting or a road trip to identify new opportunities, Katie's passion for her job is infectious. "My remit has just changed and I find myself starting from scratch to build up a new area of expertise and a highly successful High Street Retail team."
But that's just the day job. Katie is also involved in the company's women's steering group and graduate programmes encouraging other young people and, in particular, young women, to overcome the 'property' stereotype and become a success.
"As I look to further my own career and look back on my achievements, I want to help support others in the growth of their own careers. Property is an amazing world - full of a wide skill set and there really is something for everyone."
When asked how much of it comes down to luck? "Obviously there is an element of being in the right place at the right time but by and large, it's about being dedicated, working hard and trying to be the very best you can be - it's these elements, more than anything else, which gives you access to the key decision makers in the business and enable people and their careers to flourish."