Outgoing chairman of Women in Property South West, Ros Trotman, has highlighted another successful year for the growing industry body at the branch’s Annual General Meeting in February.
Ros, who is a planning partner at national law firm Thrings and heads up the firm’s development practice, took the reins of the regional branch in March 2019 and will stand down from her position at the end of February.
The South West is one of seven regional branches making up the national organisation and saw membership increase by 7% to 311 during Trotman’s 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, both Civil Engineering students, made it to the nationals: Amy Menzel, University of Bristol and Emily Hacking from the University of Exeter.
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.
Over the course of her term, Trotman 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.
Trotman said: “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. Trotman 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.
Trotman 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.”