International Women’s Day is celebrated annually on the 8th of March to celebrate women’s achievements and strive to overcome inequalities and discrimination. This year, the theme of International Women’s Day is #EmbraceEquity. It is hoped that by embracing equity, everyone will have access to equal opportunities and we can enjoy the benefits of diversity and inclusion.
We have recently announced 41 promotions at Rendall & Rittner! We have had 5 promotions from Property Team Manager to Area Director, of which 60% are women. We look forward to seeing Emma Hares, Hannah Green and Sara Hehir flourish in their new roles. We have also welcomed HR Director, Catherine Orezzi, to the R&R Board. Speaking about joining the board, Cat comments: “I’m delighted to be joining the Rendall & Rittner Board. We are such a people-focused business, and our employees are integral to everything we want to deliver, so being able to lead on our people initiatives with the board will give it even greater impetus.”
To mark International Women’s Day and celebrate the achievements of our female employees, we spoke to Sam Short (Systems Director) and Jo Watson (Head of New Business) about how they believe Rendall & Rittner is supporting women and what else the property sector could do to promote careers to women.
Can you tell me a bit about your career progression?
SS: I’ve been with R&R for nearly twenty years now. I came into the business in a junior position with a desire to learn. When we expanded the business outside of central London in 2015, I set up our Croydon office and was appointed as an Area Director and then a Divisional Director. Then, in 2020, I was seconded to support our IT team and started leading on our big tech projects to develop our customer engagement platform and new customer portal, MyPlace. In January 2022, I formally took on the role of System Director and continue to work on our tech changes which will secure our ability to deliver fantastic customer services into the future.
JW: I studied Geology at university and started my career working for oil companies. After moving into the property sector, I began working as a Property Manager at Mainstay, and later worked as Technical Manager, Central Services Director, and Director for London & The South East. I then joined Rendall & Rittner with roles as a Team Leader and Area Director. In 2015, I left to join the Canary Wharf Group to set up the company’s residential property arm from scratch. Following maternity leave, I have returned to Rendall & Rittner to work as the Head of New Business.
What does Rendall & Rittner do to promote diversity and inclusion?
JW: Based on my own experience, Rendall & Rittner is very flexible in terms of working arrangements. As a mother with a young child, having the opportunity to work remotely and at times that work for me and my family is essential. Since starting in my new role at Rendall & Rittner in January, I have been fully embraced and am trusted to work flexibly.
Have you seen an increase in women joining the property sector since beginning your career?
SS: Yes definitely! I remember attending my first conference in about 2004 and there were very few women in attendance; in more recent times it is much closer to 50:50.
What are the barriers to women entering careers in property management?
JW: There have been occasions in my career where I have been the only woman in the room and I haven’t always been recognised as an equal from the start. By being strong and confident, I have been able to get my views heard in these situations but I could definitely see that acting as a barrier to women entering careers in property management.
How can we better promote careers in property to the younger generation of women?
SS: I think that we need to model what good careers look like in the industry. We have to be supportive of flexible working and the need to take career breaks to allow for families, but show that this doesn’t have to hold women back. Juggling family life or being able to negotiate with a toddler or a teenager can strengthen our ability to handle issues at work rather than be a hinderance.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
JW: Last year, I spoke to a group of 80 girls at an event showcasing career opportunities within the property sector. I think International Women’s Day is a great opportunity to inspire the next generation of women and would like to be more involved in similar events in the future. I also think that this is a brilliant time to consider how women in the industry can network, and to promote organisations, such as Doyenne, that provide support networks for women in leasehold industries.
Would you recommend property management to other women and girls?
SS: Yes, I would. I think that there is no reason why women and girls should not succeed at property management. I also think that, alongside the core competencies, women often have an aptitude for the softer skills such as negotiation, persuasion, collaboration and compromise which all make for very good property managers.
This week is National Careers Week, an event designed to provide inspiring careers guidance for young people as they consider potential future career pathways. With a wide variety of jobs on offer in the property management sector, we want to take the opportunity to shine a light on potential career options that many school leavers may not have considered. To celebrate National Careers Week, we therefore spoke to a few members of the Rendall & Rittner team about their career development within this growing industry.
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