In the second instalment of our Women in Property Investment (WIPI) series, Property Investor Today provides a detailed account of four inspirational women who are making their mark in property investment.
Despite a recent report by UCL School of Management revealing that women might be less likely than men to go for opportunities in competitive workplaces – such as applying for grants, running for office or seeking coveted promotions – women are beginning to go against the tide in order to excel in their respective roles.
Below we speak to four members of the PropElle Network – including its founder, Ayesha Ofori – to find out how this group is empowering women to achieve their financial and lifestyle goals, changing their lives one brick at a time. Following the sage words from Ayesha last time, in this article we explore her story and the story of three members of the network she recently founded.
Ayesha Ofori – property expert and founder of the PropElle Network
Ayesha developed a tenacity and ambition to succeed from an early age. Always one of the only women in her class, she earned a MSci in Physics from Imperial College London. She joined Morgan Stanley in their real estate investment team and later, after completing her MBA at London Business School, joined Goldman Sachs.
As a Private Wealth Adviser to Ultra High Net Worth Individuals, Ayesha raised over £300 million of assets from new clients in only a few years, without legacy clients.
Ayesha was promoted to Executive Director and became one of the most senior black women in a client-facing role at the firm’s European hub.
Already a mother, Ayesha resigned from Goldman Sachs in early 2018 to start her own business: Axion Property Partners, an investment firm for UK property investors, and Axion Academy, which uses education and mentoring to empower typically underrepresented groups to incorporate property investing in their own lives.
However, Ayesha realised that her true passion was taking what she had learned, and arming others to achieve their dreams through property investment. In aid of this, Ayesha founded PropElle Network in 2019. PropElle is a community aimed at women, that gives them the tools they need to attain financial independence through property.
PropElle serves to eliminate two of the biggest barriers to entry when it comes to investment – knowledge and a support system. Through educational events, one-to-one and group mentoring and other services, Ayesha is committed to creating a space where women feel empowered to make their money work for them and to achieve independence.
Lara Cowan – property developer and entrepreneur
Lara is one of the most connected women in the London property market, with 17 years’ experience in global and UK property markets, trading and developing property assets.
A single mother, big sister, mentor and business woman, Lara has joined PropElle on a mission to empower women to pursue their best financial lives.
On top of winning an award for Real Estate Marketing at the International Property Awards in 2015, she has featured in the Financial Times, How to Spend It and the Telegraph.
When she was just 21, she set up her first property business, Grenadine Escape, which sells land and villas and rents villas in the West Indies, then proceeded to set up an acquisitions business acquiring property for UHNW investors in London.
She has also developed three residential properties in London with her sisters and helped several other businesses in their early growth phase including Auriens London Care Home, Hanover Private Office and Qandor Property Club, amassing a wealth of experience in international residential development, land sales, and property finance along the way.
Her black book includes investors, corporates and bankers across the world at the top of their game at institutions such as JP Morgan, Barclays and Morgan Stanley.
Lafina Diamandis – ‘property doctor’ and entrepreneur
Lafina is a doctor, clinical entrepreneur and property investor interested in the relationship between health and housing.
Almost a decade ago she helped a relative source and add value to a studio property in London, managing everything from price negotiations to the refurbishment itself.
The project was a great success, fuelling her passion to learn more about property and entrepreneurship and motivating her to teach healthcare professionals how to create an alternative source of income and financial security through property investment.
Since then, she has continued to invest in property and in 2018 tried her hand at crowdfunding, overfunding her development project in just seven minutes.
Lafina recently launched the Health Meets Home podcast to explore the relationship between health, housing and wellbeing. She joined the Healthy Homes Panel at this year’s Grand Designs Live and regularly speaks at healthcare innovation and architecture events.
Faith Locken – chartered surveyor and property investor
Another member of PropElle, Faith has had an interest in property from a tender age, particularly property development. In fact, Faith’s dream has always been to develop housing and infrastructure in her hometown in Uganda.
In pursuing this dream, Faith trained and qualified as a charted commercial surveyor and currently works for a global real estate advisory firm transacting development and investment opportunities in the City of London.
She also invests in property on a personal level, utilising different investment strategies to generate a relatively passive income from property.
Now, Faith’s focus is on building a power team to assist her in realising and fulfilling her property development goals.
This is part of an ongoing series focusing on women in property investment, with the next article appearing on Friday November 22.