News 5th March 2024 career development

This International Women’s Day, we are expanding our commitment to the Mentoring Circle, which has been working to address the gender diversity gap at senior leadership level in the built environment since 2021.

Sophie Campbell, Partner at Workman, who has been a mentor since the group’s inception three years ago, will be joined as a mentor by Kirsty McKenna, Partner, while Imogen Foster, Associate, Building Consultancy and leader of the Workman Women’s Equality Employee Network, and Emma Pavely, Associate, Property Management, will join as mentees.

Established with the goal of changing the culture and composition of the real estate industry by improving gender balance at senior leadership level, Mentoring Circle’s latest programme of networking events, training and mentorship launches on International Women’s Day.

Run by Founder and Director Vanessa Murray, Senior Asset Manager at Stanhope (and former Senior Associate at Workman) and Ceri Moyers, Director, Mentoring Circle takes 100 female mentee applicants each year from across the built environment and matches them one to one with a senior female mentor for a minimum of four mentoring sessions per year. Today, more than 70 organisations from 30 sectors are involved in Mentoring Circle, with 120+ female mentors from across real estate.

While traditional mentoring schemes tend to focus on either the most junior or the most senior talent, Mentoring Circle targets the mid-level, where research shows that the property industry has the biggest challenge in terms of retention. Mentoring Circle’s programme aims to equip their mentees with the confidence, skills and connections to achieve their career goals and define and achieve success on their own terms.

Alongside one-to-one mentoring, the broader 12-month programme also provides: thought-leadership webinars, four in-person guest speaker events, two networking parties, a two-day “Emerging Leadership” training programme and online access to the resource library.

Here, our Workman mentors and mentees share their thoughts about the programme:

Sophie Campbell, Partner at Workman

Sophie Campbell, Partner at Workman, has been involved as a mentor with the Mentoring Circle since it was founded in 2021:

“In its schedule of online and in-person seminars, Mentoring Circle covers a wide range of topics which are very important to women in real estate today. It makes me wish there had been something like this when I was in the mid-levels of my career, because it’s an excellent scheme.

“The founder, Vanessa, who was previously at Workman, has done a brilliant job of bringing experts together, motivating and encouraging so many women to get involved. It’s so important to build a network and meet other women from different parts of the industry – everyone has similar but different challenges, and you can learn such lot from talking to your peers.

“Many of the topics are focused on what women currently need in business now. For example, we’ve had sessions on impostor syndrome, public speaking, menopause – things that impact women in the workplace, probably more than men, and it’s a very safe space where you can speak up and be yourself.”

Kirsty McKenna, Partner at Workman

Kirsty McKenna, Partner at Workman, who joins the Mentoring Circle as a mentor this week, says:

“I’m really looking forward to joining Mentoring Circle. Most people will have a reason why they think mentoring is beneficial for them, for example they want to speak up more in meetings, or they want to be more confident when presenting, or they simply want to speak to people in different sectors to gain industry knowledge.

“When working with a mentee, the idea is to collaborate on a plan for the year ahead, to help them meet their goals. Usually at the very start, they’ll highlight what they need from a mentor to help them grow throughout the year, so then you can focus on specific areas.”

Imogen Foster MRICS, Associate

Imogen Foster MRICS, Associate, Building Consultancy, and leader of the Workman Women’s Equality Employee Network, who joins Mentoring Circle as a mentee, says:

“For me, particularly in building surveying, as we don’t have many women on our team it’s really important for me to get the skills from Mentoring Circle to be able to help improve our team’s awareness, and hopefully get some more women involved in building surveying. I am also really looking forward to meeting and talking to other female building surveyors about their experiences in the industry.

“My main goals are improving team and management skills, and being able to encourage members of my team to progress by giving feedback. I will be working on my own career progression and personal branding, and thinking about how I can build my confidence and knowledge to be able to progress my career at Workman. I think there will be some good opportunities to meet other women in the industry, who are coming up at the same time.”

Emma Pavely, Associate, Property Management

Emma Pavely, Associate, Property Management, who joins Mentoring Circle as a mentee, says:

“I’m looking forward to networking with a group of like-minded people, meeting others who are successful, and learning from women who are leading within the industry. It’s a great opportunity to meet new people and understand the paths that they’ve taken, while benefitting from the advice that they can offer.

“Expanding your network offers the chance to understand how people have got to the positions that they’re in. Everyone has different pathways and experiences, so they’re often able to offer new perspectives on the day-to-day role, as well as advice on general career progression.

“And with the networking events and seminars, there are clear opportunities to improve and share knowledge on hot industry topics, and also meet others who are in a similar position to ourselves; looking to expand their networks, gain new skills and progress their careers.”

Read more here about Life at Workman.