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“Development provides an opportunity for me to leave a footprint and a legacy that will benefit families and generations to come”

Nannette Sakyi MRICS, Strategic Lead at Southwark Construction.

Nannette’s interest in property and development began in her formative years and is firmly backed by her belief that good quality housing is the foundation of human need. Having witnessed the positive impact of property and development and in harbouring her own aspirations of becoming an entrepreneur, Nannette knew that housing was going to be a part of her future.

Following the completion of her university degree in Business Management, Nannette stumbled across a graduate scheme which provided the opportunity to simultaneously complete a master’s degree in Housing and Law and, with some encouragement from her father, decided to pursue the opportunity. 

Nannette started her career in the public sector, working in housing needs as a Housing Manager. It was during this time that she was exposed to the impact a lack of quality housing can have on individuals and families. A chance encounter and a desire to see change being implemented at the Local Authority in which she worked, to ensure the residents receive the best possible service, Nannette explored opportunities in the transformation space. Through this encounter, Nannette learnt that creating opportunities for oneself is key; she swiftly created a business plan for process improvements which were subsequently implemented before going on to work for the Local Authority’s development arm. Nannette started off by building the development team before pivoting to take on the role of New Build Project Manager following her return from maternity leave, before quickly developing to later lead New Build Project teams. Throughout these initial stages in her career, Nannette took it upon herself to self-educate, engage in on-the-job learning and undertake training courses to ensure that she was always well equipped for the roles she took on.

As she reflects on her career journey thus far, Nannette is extremely proud of managing the delivery of projects with a combined value of c.£400m and the team of project managers that she currently oversees. Nannette relishes in the tangible nature of the projects she has worked on, highlighting that being able to provide good quality homes for those who are most in need and driving through London and being able to see the results of her efforts is very rewarding. 

These experiences to date show the makings of a very fulfilling and successful career in housing and construction for Nannette. Her parents have been the primary source of inspiration, as she has seen the challenges and adversity they went through in order for Nannette to achieve a better quality of life. It is for this reason that Nannette is keen to take advantage of the privileges she has been afforded and give back to her community. Working in development is a crucial part of this as Nannette feels it “provides an opportunity for me to leave a footprint and a legacy that will benefit families and generations to come”.

Alongside work, Nannette advocates for community and networking. She is incredibly generous with her time having set up a property networking group, PROPARTY, for property professionals and also helps to run Ghanaian Londoners, a networking platform that connects professionals between the UK and Ghana. Additionally, Nannette has mentored other females involved in the Housing Diversity Network. As a board member of two housing associations, Nannette also supports women who have similar aspirations. By providing spaces for black professionals to meet others like them, and to seek inspiration, Nannette hopes to uplift others and help them to overcome any challenges they may face throughout their careers.

Nannette recognises the industry in which she works is very male dominated. One of the biggest challenges she has faced has been finding her ground when managing teams with members who have had far more experience than her. She has had to overcome these self-doubts by furthering her knowledge to the best of her ability, building her own strong relations on the basis of the qualities she has to offer and not being afraid to ask questions. The lesson Nannette has learnt from these experiences are exactly what she wishes for every black woman reading her story to know; all they need to aim for is to be the best version of who they already are. Self-belief will carry you forward and will open doors for you if you are able to maximise your strengths. She believes it is important to never underestimate your power and influence. 

The Phenomenal Women campaign is sponsored by the RICS



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