I am Sophie, I am 27 and have been working in practice since 2012. I became qualified in November 2014 and have worked in for 3 years in London and now in the South West.
Tell us a little bit about your company and what you do?
I work at Vickery Holman, a regional practice with offices in Truro, Plymouth, Exeter and Bristol and around 60 members of staff. Vickery Holman is a multi-disciplined practice that specialises in commercial property. We undertake valuations, agency work, building surveying, property management, business rates and lease consultancy of commercial property.
I am Head of Lease Consultancy, covering all the offices, specialising in lease renewals, rent reviews, restructuring leases and Section 18 valuations.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I wouldn’t say I have a typical day! Which I really enjoy, especially as I cover one of the most beautiful parts of the UK (or World!). My day usually involves whizzing round either our Truro, Plymouth or Exeter office, catching up on emails and calls, inspecting properties and speaking to a mixture of Landlord and Tenants about their requirements, as well as providing training to the graduates within the team.
What is your proudest moment?
Without a shadow of a doubt, my proudest moment is becoming a qualified Chartered Surveyor.
What has driven your passion for diversity in your industry?
I remember I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I thought about going to fashion school and my Dad turned around and said, “get a real job”.
I did some summer work in an estate agent and was a bit like “there has to be something a bit more dynamic than this!”. So, I went and did some work experience at a commercial property surveying practice. I said whilst I was there, I want to become a female surveyor and the all-male office laughed.
To quote Jay from the Inbetweeners, becoming a female surveyor “completed it mate”
How can networking and support organisations help the next generation of surveyors on their way?
I think people view networking solely to promote and win more work, which is to a degree why you have to do it. But I often tell the junior members of the team that networking helps you find people at a similar level and you kind of ‘grow up together’. Especially as if you have a dumb question, the last thing you want to do is call up the M.D of a company, whereas you often feel more comfortable calling and discussing problems and queries with someone of a similar age.
What’s your favourite book and why?
The Power by Naomi Alderman. It’s role reversal and looks at the world when women have a power and men don’t. It makes you step back and think.
What’s your motto/favourite quote in life?
I’m torn between “yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present” (I only know it from Kung Fu Panda!) and “Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards” Soren Kirkegaard.
But my motto is “you do you”
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
In a professional capacity, I think the most important lesson was that sadly there is no rushing in getting to the top. As bad as it sounds, you have to make the mistakes, so you learn from them and that’s how you become an expert.
In a personal sense, it is that sometimes you have to be selfish and put yourself first. No shame in that.
What advice do you have for developing self-belief and confidence?
I fear women have a habit of putting themselves down by men and not believing in themselves. I think sometimes confidence comes with age and knowing that you are as good or better than any man doing your job. On the other hand, it might be when you accept that women live longer then men. They might win in the boardroom, but you will be living your best life when they are dead and you are on a beach in the Bahamas drinking mojitos.
What advice do you have for managing a work/life balance?
I was once asked “Do you live to work, or work to live?”
That always helps me take a step back and work out what is more important. But “you do you”.
How do you relax?
My Mum and Dad recently got a puppy. Its pretty easy to relax when you have a puppy run up to you!