Supporting gender diversity: Interview with Anne-Marie Brown, Love to Rent

Supporting gender diversity and encouraging conversations to support the growth of women across the industry, David Phillips talks to Anne-Marie Brown, Founder and CEO, Love to Rent Ltd.

Anne-Marie Brown, Founder and CEO, Love to Rent - David Phillips | BTR News
Anne-Marie Brown, Founder and CEO, Love to Rent.
Women in Leader facilitated by David Phillips | BTR News

Anne-Marie‘s real-estate career began in 1999 with a move to a housing association that was forward-thinking enough to offer a job that flexed around her childcare responsibilities. Since then, she has worked in residential consulting, property development and marketing and PR, for supportive employers, one of whom supported her study for a management degree before going solo in 2006, when she established marketing and PR agency Puttock Brown and subsequently property platform Love to Rent in 2017.

Have you ever struggled to progress in your career?

Not really. I have always taken every opportunity that comes to me and worked really hard to succeed. I did get to a stage at one point where there was a ceiling and I couldn’t progress any further as there were no PR and Marketing Director roles, so this gave me the drive to go out on my own and set up a PR and Marketing agency. If I hadn’t have done this, I am not sure if I would have seen the opportunity for Love to Rent.

Have you felt that being a woman has given you an advantage in the industry?

No, I haven’t – but neither has it given me a disadvantage. I feel I’ve always been judged on my experience and knowledge and how I approached challenges.

Given the industry’s gender gap in leadership, how did you reach your level of success?

It’s because I set up on my own. Otherwise, I would not have had the freedom to create a company and build up the Love to Rent business. Doing this has given me the opportunity to work and build relationships with lots of different organisations such as the MHCLG, British Property Federation, Homes England and the UKAA.

What needs to change to inform the next generation of female leaders about the industry and the roles available to them? Do we need more support for women at school level to understand the opportunity?

We should definitely start promoting the industry before people leave school. I have clients with women working in construction who go to schools and colleges to demonstrate that women aren’t restricted in the roles we can do. There’s a wealth of opportunities, and we should showcase these. As for support, it’s important for people to have mentors and colleagues they can chat openly with, and for businesses to offer flexible working and hire people on merit and experience.

What does the future look like for women in property and what advice would you give the next generation of female leaders joining the industry?

There’s been a dramatic change in the last 20 years and if it continues like this, the future looks fantastic. I would say to the next generation of leaders: always follow what you feel you want to do, take on challenges, don’t feel it’s not for you, and always ask questions.

Who inspired you/are your role models and who do you admire in the industry?

I’ve known Angela Wood, the deputy executive director for development and sales at Peabody for over 20 years and she has always been an inspiration because of her knowledge, listening skills and strong support and encouragement. Also Linda Faucher, who is sales and marketing director at NU living, who combines being focused and driven with the ability to look after teams and colleagues, giving everyone the same level of support.

David Phillips – supporting gender diversity in the property industry

At David Philips, we’re committed to gender equality. We strive to create a workplace that reflects the communities we serve, where everyone feels empowered and part of an inclusive workplace culture. 

Whilst female representation in the property market has improved markedly in recent years, there is still work to be done, with only 30% of senior management positions in property occupied by woman. Over the next 12 months we’ll be conducting interviews with some of the industry’s influential woman to share their career stories, the challenges they have overcome and their views on how to address gender gaps within management and senior roles across our industry.  

We continue to push for better representation and recognition for woman. Creating a culture of equality isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s also the smart thing, research shows that diverse companies are more innovative and more profitable. With this series we aim to shine a light on some of the industry’s leading talent and encourage a conversation that continues the drive towards gender equality.