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PHENOMENAL WOMEN: CAROLINA LOPATO MRICS

“Failure is part of the process, but these are small battles in the larger war of success”


Carolina Lopato, Building Surveyor at Rider Levett Bucknall.


Carolina's path into the world of property has been less than straightforward, and admirably has been propelled forward purely by her unwavering strength of self and dedication to her goals. Originally, Carolina aspired to be a lawyer or a doctor, however she was keen to follow in her father's footsteps and pursue a career in engineering. When Carolina moved to the UK from Spain nearly a decade ago, she accidently discovered her passion for building pathology and contract administration. This led her to pursue both her degree in civil engineering and building surveying, shifting her focus from working in infrastructure to working in general real estate. 


Carolina’s story is one of overcoming challenges and adversity at every step of the way, from imposter syndrome to health issues, to professional challenges and toxic hostile work environments where her contributions and qualities were undermined. Despite these hurdles, nothing would stand in the way of Carolina’s goal of becoming a chartered building surveyor MRICS and achieving her MAPM. Having worked her way up in the industry, Carolina has experienced first-hand the apparent “glass ceiling” which comes with not being chartered as well as the isolation one can face being a black woman in the real estate industry. However, she has mastered the art of allowing these experiences to be a reason to drive her forwards and relish in the highlights of her career to date. A noteworthy moment includes a recent refurbishment project where Carolina, as Senior Project Manager, delivered an innovative solution for a simulation hospital in a university campus which served as an example of student healthcare facilities to be replicated across other university campuses, so much so that the space was validated by the Mayor of London and present monarch.


Whilst inner strength is important, Carolina believes she draws her strength from a community of phenomenal women, including her mother whose presence alone can uplift a whole room and who passed on her unfaltering optimism in the face of adversity, and various mentors who have provided her with unwavering support on her journey and have consequently become close friends. She highlights the importance of a community where you feel a sense of belonging and can be your authentic self - this is what drives her in wanting to bring more kindness into the industry and to give the same opportunities to other young black women wanting to make a space for themselves.


Carolina exemplifies the essence of giving back and supporting the next generation through mentoring interns and taking them under her wing in order to assist them with their career aspirations; advocating for junior professionals to improve pay disparities for graduates; volunteering at schools and giving career advice to sixth formers. In addition, something which Carolina believes mustn't be underestimated is simply being conscious of those who are in the room with you and actively ensuring everyone is heard and celebrated for what they bring to the table.


One’s journey is unlikely to be easy, particularly as a black woman in the industry however, Carolina reminds black women to believe in themselves, and to believe they can achieve whatever they aspire to, to find the right support and be relentless in achieving their goals through the channels that are suited to you. "Failure is part of the process, but these are small battles in the larger war of success. "



The Phenomenal Women campaign is sponsored by the RICS



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