Sally is one of the five founding partners at Clearbell Capital LLP, a niche real estate fund manager and advisory business with three value-add/opportunistic funds and two separate advisory mandates.
Sally was born and grew up in the historic city of Durham and was one of the first girls from her school to be accepted by Oxford University, where she read Chemistry at Wadham (one of the very few mixed colleges at the time). She quickly realised that a career in Chemistry was not for her and following graduation joined Deloitte Haskins & Sells (now part of PWC), London where she qualified as a chartered accountant. After a promotion to manager and experience across a mix of retail, insurance and manufacturing clients, she left to join her first property company in 1987 – just as the UK property market was peaking.
Sally spent 14 years with Wates City of London Properties plc, a niche development and investment company listed on the London Stock Exchange and then five years with Grosvenor Group Limited, the Duke of Westminster’s international private property group before joining Manish Chande and her other partners, to form Clearbell.
Q: What was your first job and what is the worst job you’ve ever done?
A: My first job was a Saturday job at the university bookshop in Durham. This was a great job for a 16-year-old and the best part was being allowed to borrow any book, provided the spine was not broken when I returned it. A real perk of the job.
My worst job was a summer job at the local Co-op laundry; the hottest summer on record in 1976.
Q: Was finance your first career choice and what were you doing before?
A: I had no particular career in mind when I went up to Oxford. However, I realised I did not have a deep interest in chemistry necessary to pursue a career in the field. Instead I was swayed by the recruiters doing the milk-round and decided a professional qualification would stand me in good stead. With hindsight this proved to be a very good choice.
Q: Why did you choose a career in the commercial real estate sector?
A: I was lucky in that my introduction to the property sector was at a very interesting and exciting time, joining Wates City, a recently listed developer and investor with huge ambitions to develop trophy assets within the Square Mile. Wates City had complex sites, all within walking distance of the office and with a full range of issues. This was a perfect opportunity to learn quickly about the challenges of site assembly, planning, development, financing and property management and all on the public stage. I was hooked from the start.
Q: Why do you enjoy the sector?