Hannah moved into the property industry four years ago when she co-founded the property rating service HomeViews. She started her career at GSK, spending seven years at the pharma giant before joining a luxury skincare startup. As Marketing Director Hannah helped take it from a table-top business to a brand featuring in stores such as Selfridges and Barney’s New York. In property, she has quickly become an authority on the Build to Rent and PRS sectors.
Have you ever struggled to progress in your career?
Not really. GSK was very good at pushing women forward and beauty companies are very female-oriented. At the start of my career in sports events I asked to join the sponsorship team, but was told there had never been a girl in that team and instead I might like to do hospitality, needless to say I left that company and that was the only time I have ever felt discriminated against. Although I had reservations about the property industry from its reputation as being very male dominated, I’ve never experienced problems with discrimination.
Have you felt that being a woman has given you an advantage in the industry?
I haven’t felt either disadvantage or advantaged. Sometimes I’ve been invited to speak on panels in preference to men, and there’s lots happening to ‘level up’ women, plus initiatives like the Women in Property Top 100 list. But this profile-raising is necessary because there are still fewer women in senior roles.
Given the industry’s gender gap in leadership, how did you reach your level of success?
Directly, I guess! Because I came into the industry at a senior level.
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?
The government’s 2017 gender pay gap report put the average at 18% (for comparison, GSK was about 2% because of its proactive stance on the issue). Property has one of the biggest gender pay gaps, because women tend not to be in senior positions. I think it’s important for the industry to be mentoring women into senior roles, giving them a voice and ensuring working hours can be built around family commitments. Senior men have a part to play here, too. For example, if they feel able to openly say they can’t stay later as they are doing the nursery pickup, it helps to normalise it for everyone.
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?
Women leaders have a responsibility to set an example and speak up for younger women in the industry – but men should have the same responsibility to do this, too. For everyone, it’s about championing change rather than behaving in a certain way.
Who inspired you/are your role models and who do you admire in the industry?
I was fortunate to join the UKAA early on and have met some great women and men through my membership. There’s lots of advice and support, and good camaraderie. Lesley Roberts from Allsop has been a great mentor and friend, and I’ve had encouragement and support from Deborah Yudolph at SAY Consulting. Nicky Dorman previously at Hyperoptic and Sarah Tomkinson from Foxtons have also offered advice and become friends.
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.