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New Mentoring Platforms Set Up For Female Professionals In The Built Environment

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Two new mentoring platforms for women in property and the built environment have been created to provide support and advice for female professionals and increase diversity in the sector. 

Vanessa Murray, an asset manager at London developer Stanhope, has launched Mentoring Circle with the aim of addressing the acute disparity between men and women in leadership positions within the property industry.

Mentoring Circle partners newly qualified female surveyors with senior female professionals working in real estate for a free, one-to-one mentoring programme over the course of 12 months.

The initiative partners mentees with mentors from different sectors to ensure they benefit from the breadth of experience the property industry offers. More than 35 mentors from a wide variety of partners have signed up to the programme, including Savills, MACE, Aecom, Build UK, Foxtons, Say Consulting, CBRE, Kier Group, Capita, Great Portland Estates and Bruce Gillingham Pollard. 

BRE Group Chief Executive Gillian Charlesworth, SAY Property Consulting partner Debra Yudolph and MAPP Senior Executive Director Polly Plunket-Chekemian are amongst the 35 mentors who will be providing their professional expertise to assist mentees in establishing clear goals at the outset of their careers.

One of the key themes from Mentoring Circle’s initial research has been the widespread recognition of imposter syndrome amongst women in the industry, with many doubting their skills, talents and achievements against their male counterparts. The scheme mentors have identified that the period post-qualification is a key point for talent retention of women within the industry. 

“Graduate intake of men and women has been evenly split since I qualified as a chartered surveyor in 2014, but there is still a disappointing lack of women at [the] senior executive level,” Murray said. “I noticed that the industry loses a lot of women post-qualification and was really keen to address this issue and provide support to the group who need it the most, that’s where the idea for Mentoring Circle came from.

“I’ve worked with so many talented graduates who don’t know their own value, particularly young women who aren’t good at promoting their own interest. They come fresh faced from University where goals and success are measurable, but find their confidence wavering within the workplace when the benchmark of success is undefined and often dependent on the quality of a line manager.”

Women in Planning is also launching a new mentoring scheme that aims to bring together individuals who are seeking support and guidance on their career development from more experienced professionals.

The aim is to “buddy up” mentors and mentees with the best fit through a matching process. Applications are open to all those working within the planning sector, from students through to those working in the boardroom.

Women in Planning’s mission statement is to lead change in the planning and built environment industry by making women visible, promoting diversity and inclusion, and supporting career development.

Mentoring Circle is free and available to all female property professionals with up to 18 months post-qualification experience. To apply for the scheme, mentees will be required to submit an application form outlining key information and areas of focus by 22 March. Forms are available via the dedicated LinkedIn page and Instagram page @mentoringcircle. 

More information about the Women in Planning mentor scheme can be found at the body's website, and applications to be a mentee or mentor can be made to womeninplanningmentoring@gmail.com.