I grew up in a “nice” part of Glasgow, but at the same time I learned a lot about the city’s history and challenges with unemployment and poverty and how real estate interacted with this history. The issues I saw and learned about shaped my perspective and profoundly affected how I would approach my work in real estate, especially housing, and also my volunteer time. The role that thoughtfully-created housing can play in building communities and enabling people to flourish became very clear to me.
In 1988, I moved to Canada and within weeks, I fell in love with it. I knew that BC was “my place”. I began working in commercial real estate and after three years started a new partnership with a national asset management company. I worked across BC visiting many communities, and again saw how the design, quality and cost of housing affected people’s lives so significantly.
In 1996, I left this company to start a new small-scale real estate development entity, Chesterman Properties. From the start, Chesterman was committed to green building design and strategies. From learning this approach on the ground I created a green building consulting company with a partner to broaden the impact of this work. In seven years we consulted on over 200 projects across BC.
Over these years, I was involved in creating and/or volunteering for numerous non-profit organizations including Compassionate Eye Foundation, Canadian Business for Social Responsibility, Tradeworks Training Society and Catalyst Community Developments Society. Through my work with Catalyst, I was hugely blessed to work and partner with so many amazing non-profits that do incredibly impactful work in our community.