Women in Property South West heralds another successful year

Addressing the regional branch of Women in Property at its AGM in February, where she took the reins this time last year, Ros Trotman, who is also a planning partner at Thrings and heads up the Development team, reflected on the past year’s achievements.

Seeking to enhance the profile of women in the property and construction industry, Women in Property brings together professionals from property consultancies, construction companies, architects and designers, developers, housebuilders, engineers, planners, legal and financial specialists.

The South West is one of seven regional branches making up the national organisation and saw membership increase by 7 percent to 311 during Ros’ term.

One of the most active industry organisations in the country, Women in Property has run over 100 events and initiatives in the South West alone. Among those have been workshops, seminars, networking and fundraising events pulling in up to 400 people.

Partnering with schools, colleges and universities continued to be a key initiative on the branch’s 2019-20 agenda. In Bristol, the organisation: contributed to mock interviews with Year 10 students at Abbeywood Community School, highlighted careers in the construction and property sector to girls attending Gordano School ahead of their GCSE selections and engaged with students at careers fairs, including at Oasis Academy.

The Women in Property National Student Awards has allowed members of the South West branch to support local students into work experience placements and the early stages of their careers. After 23 nominations across two judging days, the South West’s regional winners made it to the nationals: Amy Menzel, University of Bristol and Emily Hacking, University of Exeter, both studying Civil Engineering.

As part of the organisation’s Mentoring Programme, training was delivered to 40 mentors and mentees by national coach, Sandi Rhys Jones, resulting in additional mentoring matches under the scheme. This was one of a number of soft skills events run throughout the year.

By partnering with industry bodies such as Forum for the Built Environment (FBE), Bristol Property Agents Association (BPAA), British Council for Offices (BCO), Constructing Excellence and Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE), the branch has been able to reach thousands of professionals in the sector.

Through events and raffles, Women in Property South West raised £2,346 for Landaid, supporting life-changing services for young people who are, or are at risk of being, homeless. Together with BPAA, £2,430 was collected for the Malcolm Gunter Foundation, which supports those living with Motor Neurone Disease.

Over the course of her term, Ros encouraged women in the industry to “Make Your Mark”. Doing so herself, she raised awareness and pushed the objectives of the organisation at tens of leading industry events. Highlights include speaking on diversity and inclusion at the South West Construction Summit, chairing the One City Plan panel debate with BPAA, which featured Bristol’s Mayor, Marvin Rees, and leading a Movers & Shakers panel and Bristol Law Society debate marking 100 years of women practicing law.

She also judged key industry awards and was featured in a list of the region’s most influential people in property (Insider’s Property Power 50, September 2019).

Ros says: “After another year of growth, our membership figures are at a record high – which is testament to the value we’re bringing to the property and construction sector in the region.

“A goal of mine was to support our members to make their mark by equipping them with the skills, support and opportunities to achieve their ambitions, and to give back to the industry. I’m extremely proud of the engagement we have had with our workshops and events and I’ve seen first-hand how individuals’ confidence and ambition can grow with the right role models around them. That’s why our Mentoring Programme is so valuable and I would encourage everyone in the industry to seek out a mentor, or consider becoming one for others.

“But it’s not just about those already working in property. Inspiring the next generation into careers in the built environment is a central part of our work, and we are pleased to have reached out to so many school-age and university students across the South West.”

Women in Property’s South West committee comprises over 30 individuals from the sector and meets monthly in Bristol. The branch has four satellites committees: Solent, Devon and Cornwall (including Taunton and Somerset); Swindon and Wiltshire and; Bath. Sub-committees lead the branch’s larger initiatives. Ros has been on the committee in Bristol for five years. She will now take up the role of general committee member to make way for incoming chairman, Rachael Sherratt of JLL.

Ros added: “I’ve worked hard to practice what I preach this year, which has pushed me out of my comfort zone on more than one occasion. It has been a privilege to stand up and be counted as an advocate for greater diversity in the sector at some fantastic events.

“The outstanding achievements of the South West branch would not have been possible without the support of the talented and driven women who make up the committee. They dedicate a huge amount of time and effort to making things happen. A special thank you goes to Rachael Sherratt, my vice chairman this year and incoming chairman for 2020-21. She has been a real asset and a valued sounding board for me.”

Property sits at the heart of Thrings, a Top 100 law firm with offices in Bristol, Bath, Swindon, London and Romsey. The firm’s recognised property, development, planning, and construction teams have delivered positive results for some of the fastest-growing developers in the region. Thrings sponsored the Women in Property South West AGM, held at Harvey Nicols on 11 February 2020.

You can find out more about Thrings’ Development practice here.

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