IWD: New female mentoring scheme aims to tackle imposter syndrome, brick by brick

Property Reporter
8th March 2021
Mentoring Circle 420

A new female mentoring scheme, which aims to address the acute disparity between men and women in leadership positions within the property industry, has launched today.

Vanessa Murray, Asset Manager at London developer, Stanhope, has announced the launch of Mentoring Circle, which will partner 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. Over 35 mentors from a wide variety of prestigious partners have signed up to the programme already. These include Savills, MACE, Aecom, Build UK, Foxtons, Say Consulting, CBRE, Kier Group, Capita, Great Portland Estates, Bruce Gillingham Pollard and many more.

One of the key themes from 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 becomes a key point for talent retention of women within the industry.

Vanessa Comments: “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 senior executive level. 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."

Vanessa believes that the principles behind ‘Mentoring Circle’ are crucial to help address the diversity challenges within the industry, particularly the stark lack of women in senior leadership positions.

She adds: “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.

“I really hope Mentoring Circle will provide a structured career kick-start for aspiring female professionals and ultimately identify rising stars that could become mentors themselves”

However, she is not alone in her mission. Gillian Charlesworth Group Chief Exec of BRE Group, Debra Yudolph Partner at SAY Property Consulting and Polly Plunket-Chekemian Senior Executive Director at MAPP are amongst the 35 inspiring mentors who will be providing their professional expertise to assist mentees in establishing clear goals at the outset of their careers.

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 22nd March 2021.

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