The forward thinkers

Many people have contributed to making KFH what it is over the past 45 years. Here are five key staff members who offer a snapshot of the business today.

10 November, 2022

Tom Bryant

Head of Technology

When looking at how a business has evolved, technology is always going to play a pretty hefty role – the internet didn’t even exist back when KFH launched. Tom Bryant, therefore, is a particularly interesting person to talk to.

“It goes without saying that technology is by far the biggest force for change we have seen in our lifetimes,” he nods. “Communication patterns and consumer expectations have been reshaped with the advent of rapidly developing technology in the last couple of decades. This keeps everything fresh and interesting, and as soon as you think you’ve got a handle on the art of the possible, new technologies come along and open up new avenues. There’s never a dull moment!”

Is there one innovation that showcases how forward-thinking KFH is? “The way we do customer
communication,” Bryant says instantly. “Desk phones have been replaced by soft phones on the Microsoft Teams platform, meaning our staff can answer calls in the office, at home, or on the move on a range of devices. Another major project we have embarked on is an ambitious reimagining of our legacy OpenHouse sales software as a next generation web-based platform with a focus on usability, mobility and security. It is due to roll out to the sales teams in branches over the coming months.”

Bryant’s favourite KFH memory also links back to communication, of a different sort. “Odd as it may sound given the wider situation, I’m incredibly proud of the way the team dealt with the rapid onset of the pandemic in March 2020,” he says. “We had plans to become more mobile, introduce Microsoft Teams, and improve our collaborative toolset in the subsequent months, but to have to bring that forward several months and mobilise a majority desktop, office-based network with 60 geographically distinct branches and two main offices to work from home in a period of a couple of weeks was nothing short of a Herculean effort from everyone involved. So, whilst the pandemic itself was something I hope none of us has to experience again, the response to it as a business makes me proud.”

Where is your favourite place in London?

My wife and I live in Walthamstow, and I am yet to find somewhere better than Orford Road in the heart of the village on a summer’s day. Cafés, pubs, shops, all spilling out onto the pavement.

What area would you most like to live in?

Hampstead Village would be nice, but I’m really happy where I am, in E17. It’s really alright!

Tom Bryant - Kinleigh, Folkard & Hayward

Odd as it may sound given the wider situation, I'm incredibly proud of the way the team dealt with the rapid onset of the pandemic.

Danielle Prescott

Tenancy Progressor, Team Leader

For career progression at KFH, Danielle Prescott is a wonderful example. “I started at KFH in June 2008 in the busy Kennington office as the lettings administrator,” she recounts. “In 2015, I was asked to join the new lettings branch in Brockley, and in 2022 I was promoted to south east team leader in the new tenancy progression division at our head office.”

Prescott manages six tenancy progressors and, as we talk, she explains that now is their busiest period of the year. “Lettings is so fast-paced,” she says, “which keeps me on my toes.” Running a new team must bring with it opportunity as well as pressure, but Prescott certainly seems like she’s taking it all in her stride. “You do receive a lot of support from those you report to,” she points out. “During the years of working at KFH, I have truly made some lifelong friendships.”

As a company, Prescott says KFH do everything in the right way, a reason why people join and stay for long periods. “They are really good with in-house training that helps to keep you up-to-date with all the new legislations,” she says, “and there’s the internal promotions too. There are incentive trips, prizes and awards, which all help to attract people to working here.”

Talking about awards, Prescott herself has been recognised. “Winning The KFH Way award has been my career highlight,” she beams. “I was known as the ‘Google Review Queen’ by our south east regional director!”

Where is your favourite place in London?

I enjoy rooftop bars, and boat trips around the River Thames. I have also just signed up to a local horse-riding school in Dulwich.

What area would you most like to live in?

Beckenham. I have a house that I have my eye on!

Danielle Prescott - Kinleigh, Folkard & Hayward

They are really good with in-house training that helps to keep you up-to-date with all the new legislations, and there’s the internal promotions too.

Anthony Wesley

Accounts Portfolio Director, Block Management

As old as the company itself, KFH’s block management division has been there from the start – but just like London, its landscape has changed considerably over 45 years. Even in ten years much has happened with the division. “When I started at KFH in 2011, there were about 40% of the people we have today in block management,” says Anthony Wesley. “The portfolio was mainly small to medium blocks, and property managers were using notepads and, only a few years earlier, Dictaphones. There are now 65+ staff members in our ever-growing department, and the portfolio consists of large blocks that include gyms, swimming pools and tennis courts. Property managers now use multiple apps for site inspections and liaising with clients.”

It was in 2018 that he was promoted to accounts portfolio director and, today, the department is responsible for 125 clients – but chatting to him, you wouldn’t think there was any pressure given his sheer enthusiasm for the job. “I have always been captivated by the different types of buildings in and around London, so this job was perfect for me,” he says with a smile. “At KFH, if you want a career that pushes you to develop your interpersonal skills and you have the ability to adapt to different situations, then block management is for you as every day brings a different challenge.”

Despite Wesley’s easy-going nature, his role is demanding, but it’s all part and parcel of what makes KFH what it is for employees. “KFH encourage a good work/life balance, which is important for mental health,” he says. “I believe people stay because they feel valued, recognised, respected and mentored. There are many great benefits and incentives, with each day bringing new excitement and challenges. KFH do a lot of little things to show how you are appreciated.”

Where is your favourite place in London?

My favourite places to go are the museums, rooftop bars or a boat trip along the Thames.

What area would you most like to live in?

Either a lovely house in Wimbledon or a penthouse flat in the City overlooking the river.

Anthony Wesley - Kinleigh, Folkard & Hayward

I have always been captivated by the different types of buildings in and around London, so this job was perfect for me.

Lisa Mackenzie

Sales Director, South West London

“My plan was to stay for about six months as the office was open on Sundays, which I was not keen on!” Lisa Mackenzie laughs at the memory: those six months have turned into nigh on 35  years, and she now oversees the KFH sales operation across the south west London region.

“I started in the ‘new’ Southfields branch as a very young negotiator with about two years’ experience,” Mackenzie looks back. “At the time it was materially cheaper to move south of the river, with many areas – including Southfields, Balham and Battersea – being areas that were chosen for affordability reasons. These areas are now highly sought-after and the pricing gap between north and south of the river has narrowed considerably.”

Mackenzie has developed a successful career at KFH and, property prices aside, has seen plenty of change over the years. “The sales department has evolved from three offices to around 60 today,” she explains. “That is amazing. I am especially proud that we sell more property than any other agency brand in London and continue to punch above our weight. I enjoy sales as I am extremely competitive, I enjoy the varied days and of course the rewards. Meeting people on a daily basis, being constantly challenged and retaining the number one position keeps working life exciting and fulfilling.”

Mackenzie is also well positioned to reflect on why people want to work at KFH. “I am told that people join us because we have an excellent reputation based on looking after our colleagues, having fun, great career prospects – although very competitive – and fantastic rewards,” she says. “I personally have travelled to many cities, including Cape Town and Hong Kong for a long weekend with 40 other KFH colleagues.”

Although she has stayed with the business 34 years and six months longer than planned, Mackenzie certainly has no regrets. “The people are amazing,” she says of her colleagues. “You make friends for life and it really is, for me, an amazing place to work.”

Where is your favourite place in London?

I love the South Bank and Richmond Park. In London, it’s hard to choose a favourite.

What area would you most like to live in?

I currently live in Kingston and I am very happy there!

Lisa Mackenzie - Kinleigh, Folkard & Hayward

The people are amazing. You make friends for life and it really is, for me, an amazing place to work.

Abs Odukoya

Lettings Branch Director, Streatham

In five short years Abs Odukoya has experienced plenty through KFH. “There’s never a dull day,” he smiles. Odukoya is one of the rising stars of the company, starting out as a lettings negotiator in Balham in 2017. Several promotions have seen him rise up the ranks to lettings director at KFH’s Streatham branch, where things are currently extremely busy. “There is so much potential here,” he says on the area’s buzz.

Lettings, says Odukoya, is fast-paced and a key reason why he enjoys his job so much. “It is never stagnant. It’s a busy, intense, and high-pressured role which often involves managing people’s expectations. I manage a team of four – three negotiators and a branch co-ordinator. Other responsibilities include visiting around three or four properties a day, booking valuations with the aim of increasing market share, troubleshooting, and dealing with tenants and clients.

“Lettings is a great area to work in,” he continues, “forever seeing new properties and meeting new people. KFH do an excellent job of recruiting the best of the best and we have such a good support network in the company, with plenty of mentors across the business. At KFH, everything you do is transferrable. You may not come from a property background, but you can bring new skills to the business. Anything is possible.”

He describes his role as “busy, intense and high-pressured”, so luckily it’s not all work, work, work. “KFH really look after their staff,” Odukoya says. “I’ve been on so many trips – Miami, Los Angeles, Verbier – which are all rewards for hard work. The trip to Verbier in Switzerland with my Balham team is probably my favourite KFH memory. It’s one of the best work trips I’ve ever experienced!”

Where is your favourite place in London?

You can always find me in the West End or spending time with family and friends.

What area would you most like to live in?

I would genuinely say Streatham. There are some amazing roads in the area with lovely, unique properties. After Streatham, it would have to be Dulwich Village

Abs Odukoya - Kinleigh, Folkard & Hayward

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