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21 NOV 2018

Woman of the future: Josephine Lee

Josephine Lee joined Knight Frank in March 2012 as an Account Manager under the Global Corporate Services division for the Asia-Pacific region. She has since gained experience in both Southeast Asia and Greater China markets and has distinguished herself as an experienced, highly dedicated and trusted property professional. Josephine is now based in Singapore and works at Knight Frank Asia Pacific as Director of Occupier Services.

Josephine is one of the shortlisted candidates in the RICS-sponsored Property, Infrastructure and Construction category at this year's Women of the Future Awards Southeast Asia.

Josephine's area of expertise is in account management for regional and global portfolios, liaising with key stakeholders on projects, portfolio analysis and strategic planning, as well as the execution of cohesive account management structures. These strengths were recognised in 2013 when the Newmark-Knight Frank team won a global contract for portfolio management and transaction services with one of her former clients, Cummins Inc.

Regional opportunities

This success led to her taking over as the Asia-Pacific Regional Lead for Portfolio Analysis, Strategy Planning and Transaction Management in 2014 for Newmark-Knight Frank's largest corporate client at the time, Nokia Solutions. During this time, she managed 80 live transactions on Nokia's behalf across the region — more than half of these were based in China.

This experience paid dividends when she was seconded from Singapore to China as Interim Head of Knight Frank's Beijing Office Services team. While there, Josephine spearheaded many significant office and industrial projects for Nokia Solutions across China, including sites in Beijing, Hangzhou, Shanghai and Suzhou, earning a brokerage fee of around RM4.6 million.

By 2017, Josephine was transferred to Knight Frank's Shanghai office to build the Chinese Global Occupier Services team. She relocated back to Singapore in 2018 to take on the role of Regional Business Development Director for Asia-Pacific and to manage corporate clients across multiple geographies.

[Note: Knight Frank operates as Newmark-Knight Frank in the United States.]

Significant successes

Since joining Knight Frank, Josephine has pursued and won market-changing mandates, delivered significant cost savings for clients and earned a combined fee of approximately USD10 million, all while managing complex, multi-layered accounts for global brands.

Josephine has also increased the firm's share of the office and industrial transactions market by winning and establishing relationships with new clients. These include:

  • ThyssenKrupp in Shanghai for a 600 sqm new office lease acquisition.
  • Raffles Medical Group in Shenzhen for a 150 sqm new office lease acquisition.
  • Huawei in Middle East and Africa for 4,500 sqm in Casablanca, and 9,000 sqm in Tehran new office lease acquisition.
  • Singapore Press Holdings in Shanghai for a 761sqm office subletting appointment.
  • The Bank of Indonesia in Beijing for 600 sqm office new lease acquisition with project management services and four residential apartments for lease.
  • Sunningdale Technology in Zhongshan for 60,000 sqm industrial disposal (ongoing).

Making an impact

Josephine would like to see more Asian women in senior leadership positions within the workplace. She acknowledges that she was lucky to have the support of strong women during her career progression, both professionally and personally.

Real estate is still dominated by men, and business dealings tend to be male-centric. I would like to make a difference, both by creating the right environment and encouraging my peers to provide greater opportunities for women to thrive and succeed.

Josephine Lee, Director, Occupier Services, Knight Frank Asia Pacific (Singapore)

Josephine Lee
Josephine Lee

About the Women of the Future Awards Southeast Asia

The Women of the Future Awards aims to build a global, collaborative network of women in Southeast Asia. The UK branch of the awards has been established for some time and has gone from strength to strength each year. However, in Southeast Asia, talent shortages are more widespread. In fact, greater than 48% of Asia-Pacific employers say that talent shortages are posing difficulties in the hiring process. Tapping into under-utilised talent pools is crucial to combat this.

RICS sponsors the Property, Infrastructure and Construction category and, in March 2019, we once again aim to work with the Awards to build a platform to showcase regional emerging leaders — tomorrow's game changers.

Find out more & view the shortlist