Journey to Director: Michelle Molyneaux, Director of Credit Control
Joined Workman: 2002
What three words describe Workman?
Hectic, rewarding, interesting.
What has been your standout moment at Workman so far?
A call at my desk, completely out of the blue, from David Workman, Senior Partner, telling me that I was being made a Director. I have no university background and no formal qualifications, so I never thought that this would be in my future. It was a total shock, but I hope it shows people what they can achieve.
Thinking about the accounts team, can you tell us a bit about what the work means to you, and also to the business?
I feel that Credit Control is an accumulation of everyone on the property management side of the business coming together. If everyone does their job, in general, tenants will pay. They may need prompting, but they will pay. You can tell from looking at arrears whether a Property Manager is doing their job, if the Client Accountant has everything in line, if the cashiers are on top of payments, even if the Client has a handle on their properties. There is no hiding from the bottom line!
Tell us about a time you’ve put your skills to their best use at Workman?
At the beginning of the pandemic. We went into lockdown just days before a quarter day, and we were being inundated by letters and e-mails from tenants who couldn’t pay. Some were heart-breaking and my team were being bombarded daily. We had to move quickly as a team, liaising with clients and PMs to set up systems to deal with non-payment practically overnight. We had to become very organised, very quickly, to deal with this new situation.
What change would you make to the wider property sector, and why?
Controversially, I would give landlords more rights. I would bring back Bailiffs and lose Enforcement Officers, and I would extend their area to include Scotland. Tenants think that their landlords have endless amounts of money and that if they don’t pay, it doesn’t matter and won’t be noticed. They don’t realise that in most cases, there are mortgages to pay on their properties. If a tenant doesn’t pay and the landlord wants to take legal action, they must now give the tenant seven days’ notice (excluding weekends and Bank Holidays). Many times, I have seen a tenant use this time to empty their unit and disappear, leaving the landlord with nothing.
What first led you into the property industry?
I was living in Dundee and wanted to return to my hometown of Glasgow. Anyone who knows me within Workman will tell you that I am ‘only here until something better comes along’. When I first joined the company as the only credit controller, no-one really knew what I did and initially the job was quite boring, so I decided that I wouldn’t stay long as I prefer to be busy. Twenty-one years later, there is never a dull moment! I certainly didn’t know the day that I was interviewed that 21 years of my life would be in property – and nothing better has come along (yet!).
What are your spare time pursuits and how do they feed into your role at Workman?
I love to travel, whether that is in the UK or abroad. Working in accounts led my friend and I to set up a direct debit about 25 years ago, and we pay money into an account automatically on pay day every month. It is amazing how quickly it adds up, and the number of places I have seen because of it is surprising. Saving up before we go means guilt-free spending.
What is your favourite building worldwide, and why?
There is a block of flats in Glasgow called Anniesland Court. It is a 1970s abomination, but I absolutely love it, and have done since I was a child. It sits on top of one of those empty, wind-tunnel, concrete shopping centres. As a child I thought it was impossibly glamorous; and now I have no idea why. Any time I fly into Glasgow Airport and we approach from the West End and I see these flats, I know I am home. If I had all the money in the world, I would buy it all and make each floor into two flats, with the whole of the top floor as one flat (mine, obviously). The horrible shopping centre would be facilities for those in the flats. Private club, gym, pool, cinema. A girl can dream.
What three dinner party guests would you choose and why?
Firstly, let’s be clear that I am not cooking, and this is a catered dinner party, unless Super Noodles are on the menu.
My dream guests would be:
- Dawn French. I saw her in the Post Office when I lived in Plymouth but was too star struck to tell her she was a comedy genius. I’m sure she knows.
- Dolly Parton. she is an absolute legend and wrote ‘I Will Always Love You’ and ‘Jolene’ on the same day. She gave $1m dollars to help develop the Moderna COVID vaccine, she set up the Imagination Library that gives books for free to underprivileged children each month until they are five. She built the Dollywood theme park to bring employment to her local area. She’s just brilliant.
- Joey Ramone. I love New York now, but also wish I had seen it in the ‘70s and ‘80s when it was grimy and edgy – when CBGB’s was still open and Blondie, The Ramones, The Cramps, and Talking Heads were playing there. I am lucky enough to have seen a band there before it closed down, but I would have loved to have been there back in the day, but Joey’s stories would have to do.