Q&A with Polly Troughton, Head of Retail Parks and Leisure at Land Securities

What led you to work in the property sector and why have you stayed with it for the entirety of your career to date?

I have a very shallow answer to the first half of this question. When I was doing my A levels I used to visit my brother at Reading University, and the males studying in the Land Management facility were definitely the best looking bunch, so I set my sights on joining them. I subsequently found myself at Cambridge surrounded by the rugby players and rowers on the Land Economy course! What luck though, this shallow decision turned out to be a good one. The property industry is a really enjoyable industry to work within. The day to day job offers a lot of variety and the culture prevalent across the industry is one that mixes work with fun. The sector that I have ended up spending a lot of my career in – leisure property – adds to my general enjoyment of the industry. Who doesn’t enjoy trying new restaurants , knowing about the film industry and in the days, pre children, claiming that night drinking in bars and going to night clubs was all part of the day job!

There seems to be a much greater representation of senior women in the sector now than there used to be. Is this a fair assessment and if so, what is the reason for the shift?

The industry is still definitely male dominated, and senior women are not greatly represented.  That said, this is not in my opinion due to any prejudice against females , more a factor of percentages entering the industry at graduate levels, which is increasing so one could anticipate an increasing percentage of senior women over time.

You appear to juggle a full-time, Executive job with 3 children easily. What are you top tips for a happy life?

Lots of domestic help at home and discipline with regard to work load, and what can wait for tomorrow, to ensure that your home life remains a priority.

Would you offer different career advice to your sons vs your daughter or do you think this topic is gender neutral?

No, the same advice would ring true for either. On the basis of the percentage of your life you spend at work you need to find a career that is, most importantly, enjoyable.

If you were out to impress an investor without being too flash, where would take them for lunch in the West End?

Lima on Rathbone Place.

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