We have the privilege of working with a number of dynamic women, not only among our staff but also our partners and clients. Marna van der Walt, CEO of Excellerate Property Services, is one of them. Profica has undertaken a number of projects for Excellerate directly and for Excellerate’s property and facilities management clients in South Africa.
A Chartered Accountant by trade, Marna has extensive experience in the property industry. Marna’s recent career highlights are the Joint Venture with CBRE and Atterbury as well as the acquisitions of LCC and Templewood in the UK under the Excellerate Services Brand.
1. What drives you to get up in the morning?
I am driven by my role at Excellerate and my responsibilities at work. I make it my daily goal to do my best and to face any challenges with courage. I am inspired by the people around me who are doing great things – going beyond the call of duty to deliver excellence.
2. What word would colleagues use to describe you?
3. What do you most love about what you do?
The dynamic nature of the industry. The property industry is constantly evolving and in order to be the best that we can be, we need to push ourselves constantly to find creative solutions to our business challenges and those of our clients. I enjoy the exposure to learnings and thinking from our global partners too.
4. What are some of the challenges you face working in a male dominated industry?
As a woman in a male dominated industry, I have had to work hard at proving myself in order to be taken seriously. From early on I had to be brave and speak up to make myself heard. I had to stay focused on my goals and not let myself be discouraged when the going got tough.
5. What advice would you give to other young women that want to be in this industry?
The property industry is a very exciting industry. If you work hard and always strive for excellence in everything you do, you can succeed. Times have changed and women are able to excel in what they do and be recognised for it. My advice is to set your sights on what it is you want to achieve in your career, outline short- and long-term goals and then craft a plan that you can stick to in order to get where you want. Remain open to learning and ask for help when you need it.
6. What would you like to see women do more of in your industry?
Continue to succeed and to take up senior roles across the industry.
7. What has your experience been working with Profica?
Profica has always been a pleasure to work with.
Marna is a former President of the South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA), past President of South African Council of Shopping Centres (SACSC), a director of the Property Charter Council, a Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (and on RICS International Governing Council) and a member of the Women’s Property Network, among other professional organisations.