Melissa Brand: Making opportunities

Employment and Training

November 25, 2016

How do you build a career in industrial property while competing as a semi-professional cyclist?  We ask Melissa Brand.

Melissa Brand

During the week, Mel runs the Investment Services team at Prologis. Out of hours, she is a member of Team Ford EcoBoost, a highly successful women’s cycling team that has recently completed its first season. Here is her story…

You have to be focussed; if you are going to make your mark there is no time for messing around.

When I saw the job at Prologis advertised, I knew that it would be a tremendous opportunity. After I qualified as a Chartered Surveyor at DTZ, I specialised in commercial property valuation. During this time, I worked at the Royal Bank of Scotland to providing property advice to the Business Restructuring Group. This role gave me an invaluable insight into managing property risk and I realised that by joining the Prologis Investment Services team, I would be able to develop my risk management and valuation skills and at the same time, broaden my experience.

The industrial property sector is not necessarily hard for women. There are always opportunities for the right people. When I was coming to the end of my degree in Geography at the University of Exeter, I could see that a career in property would combine my interests in geography, maths and the law. My next step was to take an MSc in Real Estate at the University of Reading and from there I went to DTZ. I joined Prologis in 2013 and since then I have been working alongside the development team to analyse investment propositions and explain the risks and returns to the business. It has been a really interesting few years.

Both professionally and with cycling, the team is a great support. I have been cycling semi-professionally for four seasons, which has coincided with my time at Prologis. Fortunately, a lot of people at Prologis are cycling crazy, so it has never been a problem for me to combine my professional and racing careers - especially as the races are mostly at weekends.

I was delighted to be selected for Team Ford EcoBoost and I have really enjoyed our first season. I love being part of such a great team and the racing has been really exciting. Each race involves a lot of tactical planning, but once I am racing I have to think at lightning speed and this can be thrilling. I am looking forward to next April and the start of the 2017 season.

I was lucky to be selected for ‘Le Tour – One Day Ahead’ challenge in July 2015. The challenge was in aid of Cure Leukaemia and by completing the 3,344km 2015 Tour de France route, it was a great opportunity for me to raise funds for Cure Leukaemia and show that women can cycle on equal terms with men. The ride was tough, but I learned a lot about working as part of a group and about leading a team.

Be organised.
My advice to anyone thinking of combining a career with sport at a semi-professional level is make the most of every opportunity and plan ahead. You have to be focussed; if you are going to make your mark there is no time for messing around.
Photo credit: Joolze Dymond
Hero photo credit: David West