I believe that self-confidence affects how you feel and motivate yourself. Throughout my career working as a Chartered Quantity Surveyor, having the confidence to make a useful contribution has played a key role in dealing with the varied challenges I have faced.
I gained my Quantity Surveying Honours degree at The University of Reading in 1976, at a time when women working in the construction industry were very much the exception to the rule. I felt strongly that individuals should be judged on their performance and not their gender, expressing this in my Letter to the Editor of the RICS journal, Chartered Surveyor, in the January 1977 issue.
My first job was in the private sector. Although I was responsible for some post-contract work on site, providing the Client’s Architect with project monthly valuations, I was mainly involved with bills of quantities production on varied school, housing and factory projects. At that time this was undertaken on the ‘cut and shuffle’ system, ‘Taking Off’ and ‘Working Up’ dimensions manually from Architect’s paper drawings in accordance with the Standard Method of Measurement Fifth Edition to present the information in elemental format. As you can imagine, this terminology encouraged innuendo.
After gaining my Chartered status in 1980 I moved to work in the public sector, at a regional health authority. With the growth of technological development I became interested in the application of information technology to surveying tasks. I started working on the RICS Alvey Project in 1986, a joint venture with The University of Salford, to develop a Lead Consultant ‘Expert System’.
I became General Manager of the organisation created to turn the research results into a commercial product. In 1991, however, I took a career break when the first of my two children was born.
I continued to work on a self-employed basis, building up a property portfolio of residential and commercial lettings. In 2008, having tried relocation to the Charente, France and decided that I preferred ‘life’ in the UK, I began working for a subcontractor in Dorset for three days a week. My main duties cover Sub-Contract content review and the financial administration of payments by Application, but also include giving in-house seminars on contract implementation on occasion.
I was involved in a road traffic accident in 2011 whilst out walking my dogs, when I was knocked down by a car and suffered major trauma injuries which left me unable to walk for 3 months.
This experience was a reminder to make the most of life now, so whilst continuing in my surveying job, I decided to set up a company to create merchandise to offer encouragement to individuals. Over time I have used many tools to boost my self-confidence, from ‘burning the mid-night oil’ in preparation to applying a full face of makeup. I wanted to create a portable ‘security blanket’ which could offer encouragement to be adventurous, appreciation for care given by others, support for decisions to be indulgent and suggestions on staying involved with others.
Through my company, Elurra Gold Ltd, I have initially created the BEE Collection of silk scarves for women.
I have styled the scarves as self-help tools, to provide a portable source of inspiration to bolster self-esteem through the messages expressed in their designs. Using symbolic colours, imagery and thought provoking concepts the four designs focus on opportunities at different times in a woman’s life. My hope is that the feel of the luxurious material and the life-like illustrations provide an ever-present reminder to the wearer of the possibilities pictured in the designs.
The Maidenhood scarf designs offer encouragement to be adventurous and feel empowered, for women struggling with today’s peer and media pressures in making life choices. The Motherhood scarf designs are a reminder for women who have chosen to take on the role of a carer, that they are appreciated and should feel treasured. The Womanhood scarf designs, for women who rethink their priorities after dealing with a traumatic experience, support decisions to be indulgent and feel fulfilled. The Sisterhood scarf designs, for women who wish to contribute to society, or simply maintain their contact with people, suggest ways to be involved and feel connected.
This year marks 100 years since some women were given the right to vote. Elurra Gold was involved with this celebration as a sponsor of, and featured in, the official History of Parliament Vote 100 commemorative album. The opportunities available to women have grown extensively since 1918. I look forward to contributing to this growth through both my work as a surveyor, and with Elurra Gold, to offer the encouragement that everyone needs from time to time:
“ Believe, Envisage, Experience who you want to be”
Joyce Stockley BSc (Hons) / MRICS
Founder of Elurra Gold Ltd ( https://elurragold.com/ )