Supporting gender diversity: Interview with Danielle Bayless, Quintain Living

Supporting gender diversity and encouraging conversations to support the growth of women across the industry, David Phillips talks to Danielle Bayless, Chief Operating Officer, Quintain Living.

Danielle Bayless, Chief Operating Officer, Quintain Living | BTR News
Danielle Bayless, Chief Operating Officer, Quintain Living.
Women in Leader facilitated by David Phillips | BTR News

Danielle’s first real estate role was in southern California, USA, where as a leasing consultant she helped people to find homes. This felt a good fit for Danielle, who went on to spend over 30 years in a range of real estate roles including property and residential management. Danielle worked as VP Operations for a S&P 500 property company before moving to the UK to join Quintain Living.

Have you ever struggled to progress in your career?

I’ve probably stayed in some positions longer than some colleagues – but that’s maybe because I often chose things like culture, people, and place over opportunities. Those three factors have always been really important to me and it was one of the attractions at Quintain, where there’s real passion and dedication.

Have you felt that being a woman has given you an advantage in the industry?

I wouldn’t say that – but I wouldn’t say it’s been a disadvantage, either. In the last 15 years, I’ve seen a noticeable shift in the opportunities for women in higher-level roles in the industry. I’m proud to see that – but there’s still work to be done.

Given the industry’s gender gap in leadership, how did you reach your level of success?

Thirty years of hard work, smart choices, strong relationships, some good opportunities, and a bit of luck. I’ve been fortunate to work for good companies, too. Real estate is still a small industry so there’s a great opportunity to work closely with people, find folk with similar mindsets and make lasting connections.

What needs to change to inform the next generation of female leaders about the industry and the roles available to them? Do we need more support for women at school level to understand the opportunity?

That’s an interesting question. As the industry grows in sophistication, there will be more opportunities at school level to educate people. But it’s also incumbent on women leaders to share their voice and their stories and have more conversations like these, so women looking for opportunities know that they are out there.

What does the future look like for women in property and what advice would you give the next generation of female leaders joining the industry?

The future is getting brighter every single day. At Essex Property Trust, a S&P 500 real estate investment trust on the US West Coast, the COO, CFO and EVP operations are all women. It’s really heartening, a great statement about women’s place in the industry. As to advice – I’d say support one another. It’s important that you seek mentors and act as mentors to other women in the industry to pull them along with you.

Who inspired you/are your role models and who do you admire in the industry?

There are many women who have been excellent role models throughout my career. But what I find truly inspiring is that as women have worked their way to the top, they have helped others along with them. This is such an important task for us as women: to grow the industry while showing we have a rightful place at table and can contribute at the highest level.

David Phillips – supporting gender diversity in the property industry

At David Philips, we’re committed to gender equality. We strive to create a workplace that reflects the communities we serve, where everyone feels empowered and part of an inclusive workplace culture. 

Whilst female representation in the property market has improved markedly in recent years, there is still work to be done, with only 30% of senior management positions in property occupied by woman. Over the next 12 months we’ll be conducting interviews with some of the industry’s influential woman to share their career stories, the challenges they have overcome and their views on how to address gender gaps within management and senior roles across our industry.  

We continue to push for better representation and recognition for woman. Creating a culture of equality isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s also the smart thing, research shows that diverse companies are more innovative and more profitable. With this series we aim to shine a light on some of the industry’s leading talent and encourage a conversation that continues the drive towards gender equality.