Here we meet Janet Leatherland, Centre Director at The Royal Exchange, with responsibility for managing this iconic Grade I Listed building in The City of London.
Having first joined Workman LLP in 2015 for four years, Janet was welcomed back again in 2022.
What three words describe Workman?
Supportive, friendly and collaborative.
How are you putting your skills to their best use at Workman?
I love retail and manage The Royal Exchange,(pictured below) a Grade I listed building in the City of London. I enjoy all aspects of managing the building, getting involved with the community and stakeholders, which is particularly interesting in the City of London, the history, the ceremony, the buildings.
Tell us about your role, and why this is important to the firm and its clients?
The Royal Exchange is an amazing building in the heart of the City of London and is a very prestigious contract for Workman LLP. Ardent, the landlord, which also owns Touchwood in Solihull is a very dynamic company which is looking to grow in the UK, so supporting them on that journey is important – not only to the firms involved, but also the wider economy.
How do you hope to develop your role in the coming months and years?
The landlord is working hard to ensure the success of the scheme and we are working on bringing a new occupier to the mezzanine; this is a new restaurant and bar. We are also planning refurbishment works for all four entrances and external spaces, working in conjunction with the City of London.
What has been your standout moment at Workman so far?
Attending the Food & Drink Awards, run for Fortnum & Mason (pictured below) in the Royal Exchange; wandering through the building I manage and seeing Mary Berry, Rick Stein, Stanley Tucci, the Hairy Bikers and lots of other famous foodies was just glorious.
What change would you make to the wider property sector? And why?
Less working from home. People need to be present in the buildings the work on. I think it’s important that people are engaging with each other face to face, rather than on Teams.
It’s important for staff morale, collaborative working, just talking to each other about work, life and other stuff is far better face to face.
It’s really important for staff development as well, particularly younger members of staff. Impromptu chatting is vital, not just pre-planned online meetings.
What first led you into the property industry?
I was temping following a slight change in career direction, and ended up working for a woman who did marketing for shopping centres. I worked on Brent Cross, Buchanan Galleries in Glasgow and others. She was an amazing mentor who sent me to college to study marketing, then into shopping centre management, I was delighted to find out that that was a real job.
What are your spare time pursuits and how do they feed into your role at Workman?
I have a small dog, who comes into the office with me two or three times a week; she is more popular than I am. Everyone knows her and wants to say hello.
I also enjoy reading, spending time with friends and family and served for a while as chair of the Streatham Festival, a volunteer-led annual festival where I live.
I met lots of different people from different walks of life, it also gave me a good understanding of managing people who just want to volunteer to make themselves feel good.
What is your favourite building worldwide, and why?
I would have to say The Royal Exchange: it is a stunning building and I very much feel a sense of peace and calm as I walk through the doors. Its been here since the 1600s and the history of the building is just fascinating.
What three dinner party guests would you choose and why?
Paul O’Grady – because he was hilarious, both as Lily Savage and as himself. His programme about Battersea Dogs home was lovely.
Erica Davies – a former fashion editor and author, who loves leopard print as much as I do. I love her Instagram feed.
Tom Hardy – the way he reads the children’s stories on Cbeebies is glorious!