Supporting gender diversity – Interview with Vicky Hurcomb, Sigma Capital

Supporting gender diversity and encouraging conversations to support the growth of women across the industry, David Phillips talks to Vicky Hurcomb, Marketing Director at Sigma Capital.

Vicky Hurcomb, Marketing Manager at Sigma Capital | BTR News
Vicky Hurcomb, Marketing Manager at Sigma Capital.

Following an advertising and marketing degree at Lancaster University, Vicky Hurcomb worked for agencies in Leeds and Manchester across different sectors, but particularly loved working for property clients. Wanting to move client-side, Vicky found an opportunity at Sigma Capital, which was about to launch its Simple Life brand. Vicky managed the launch and heads up the marketing team.

Have you ever struggled to progress in your career?

Not in my current position or the property sector. But on the agency side it can be a struggle because it’s a progressive role, where you tend to work at a higher level before you get promoted. There were times when I didn’t get recognition as fast as I would have liked, so it’s important that a company will empower you to progress.

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

I can’t think of any advantages or disadvantages, and I’ve never thought about career progress from a gender perspective. There are stereotypical traits that may be useful – but ultimately, everyone brings different qualities and strengths to the table.

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

While property is seen as male dominated, marketing is more mixed. I just worked hard: I don’t advocate long hours and late nights, but a strong work ethic definitely matters. It’s about being passionate about your industry, your employer and your plans and opportunities. My agency background also helped, because of my industry experience and because I had a breadth of experience across different marketing channels, while also being capable of doing the higher-level strategy.

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?

I think this has improved more recently. There are some initiatives, with organisations running property sector days at schools, and mock interviews, but more can be done. From a female perspective, I haven’t seen traditional biases, but our industry is often seen as construction and estate agency, so there needs to be more awareness around the breadth of the sector. To retain female talent and facilitate women’s progress we need good support, such as maternity packages.

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?

The future’s bright. There are more women coming into the industry and organisations want female representation. My advice is to make sure you’re doing something that you’re passionate about, and to recognise when a company isn’t serving you anymore. You won’t flourish if you’re not happy. However, I’ve benefited from both good and bad experiences: negative experience can be valuable, too and have helped mould my own management style. If you’re a leader I think it’s good to show vulnerability – you don’t have all the answers or are above it all – there is always opportunity for additional growth, learning and development.

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

So many! My mother, first and foremost (my parents have a leadership and management training business). Coaching from Karen Mullins, formerly of Savills, has helped me with growth at work and mindset. I’m also lucky to have a group of like-minded university friends who work in similar roles and provide plenty of encouragement – quite often, who you surround yourself with can have a big effect. Finally, Sigma’s CEO Graham Barnet, who is full of ideas and has infectious drive and enthusiasm that keeps me on my toes.