Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Secrets of My Success; Melanie Leech Chief Executive, British Property Federation

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Secrets of My Success; Melanie Leech Chief Executive, British Property Federation

Article excerpt

What do you do? My job is to be the lead spokesperson and representative, to set the strategy for the organisation and to manage the teams that we have in London and Edinburgh. The British Property Federation is the voice of the UK property industry with 400 members, from FTSE 100 developer giants to small London housebuilders. Its role is to support companies, to advocate on their behalf and to promote their achievements.

What do you enjoy about it? It is rewarding to represent a sector with such potential to make a positive impact on people's lives, and there are some great people you meet.

What do you find most challenging? One of the challenges for us as a membership body is the changing shape of the industry, which is very diverse and attracts investment from around the world. It is a constant challenge to stay relevant to all parts of the industry, to understand their priorities, and to keep up with the pace of change dictated by globalisation and technological change.

Biggest break? I had no career plan when I left university other than knowing that, despite having studied maths, I didn't want to be an accountant. I knew I wanted to go into public service and that led me into the Metropolitan Police and then to join the civil service. After four years working in what was then Her Majesty's Customs & Excise (now HMRC), I was offered the chance to run the office of the Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service. This role put me at the heart of the government machine through such events as the signing of the Downing Street declaration on peace in Northern Ireland and the Scott and Nolan inquiries (into Iraq and standards in public life respectively). It enabled me to make friendships and contacts which have lasted to this day across a wide range of the public and private sectors. …

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