Women in Property looks to build on record year as new chair takes up role

March 8, 2020

Lobbying and networking organisation Women in Property South West is celebrating another successful year as its new chair settles into the role.

Rachael Sherratt, an associate in property agency JLL’s Bristol office, took over from previous chair Ros Trotman this week. 

Ros, pictured, a planning partner in Swindon-headquartered law firm Thrings’ Bristol office and head of its development practice, highlighted another fruitful 12 months for the growing industry body at the regional branch’s annual general meeting.

Membership in the branch, among the most active of seven making up the national organisation, increased by 7% to 311 during Ros’ term – its highest ever.

During her year in office it staged more than 100 events and initiatives across the region, ranging from workshops and seminars to networking and fundraising events pulling in up to 400 people.

Partnering with schools, colleges and universities continued to be key. In Bristol it contributed to mock interviews with Year 10 students at Abbeywood Community School, highlighted careers in the construction and property sector to girls at Gordano School ahead of their GCSE selections and engaged with students at careers fairs around the city, including at Oasis Academy.

The Women in Property National Student Awards allowed branch members to support students into work experience placements and the early stages of their careers.

After 23 nominations across two judging days, the South West’s regional winners – both civil engineering students – made it to the national finals.

As part of the organisation’s mentoring programme, 40 mentors and mentees were trained by national coach Sandi Rhys Jones, resulting in additional mentoring matches under the scheme. This was one of a number of soft skills events run throughout the year.

The branch also partnered with industry bodies such as Forum for the Built Environment (FBE), Bristol Property Agents Association (BPAA), British Council for Offices (BCO), Constructing Excellence and Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE), enabling it to reach thousands of professionals in the sector.

Meanwhile, through its events and raffles, Women in Property South West raised £2,346 for property industry charity LandAid, supporting life-changing services for young people who are, or are at risk of being, homeless. Some £2,430 was also collected with BPAA for the Malcolm Gunter Foundation, which supports those living with motor neurone disease.

Over the course of her term, Ros encouraged women in the industry to ‘Make Your Mark’, raising awareness and pushing the objectives of the organisation at leading industry events.

Highlights included speaking on diversity and inclusion at the South West Construction Summit, chairing the One City Plan panel debate with BPAA – which featured the Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees – and leading a ‘movers & shakers’ panel and Bristol Law Society debate marking 100 years of women practicing law.

She also judged key industry awards and was featured in a list of the region’s most influential people in property.

Ros said: “After another year of growth, our membership figures are at a record high – which is testament to the value we’re bringing to the property and construction sector in the region.

“A goal of mine was to support our members to make their mark by equipping them with the skills, support and opportunities to achieve their ambitions, and to give back to the industry. I’m extremely proud of the engagement we have had with our workshops and events and I’ve seen first-hand how individuals’ confidence and ambition can grow with the right role models around them.

“That’s why our mentoring programme is so valuable, and I would encourage everyone in the industry to seek out a mentor, or consider becoming one for others.

“But it’s not just about those already working in property. Inspiring the next generation into careers in the built environment is a central part of our work, and we are pleased to have reached out to so many school-age and university students across the South West.”

The Women in Property South West committee includes more than 30 individuals from the sector and meets monthly in Bristol. There are four satellites committees covering Swindon and Wiltshire; Bath; Solent and Devon and Cornwall (including Somerset).

Ros added: “I’ve worked hard to practice what I preach this year, which has pushed me out of my comfort zone on more than one occasion. It has been a privilege to stand up and be counted as an advocate for greater diversity in the sector at some fantastic events.

“The outstanding achievements of the South West branch would not have been possible without the support of the talented and driven women who make up the committee. They dedicate a huge amount of time and effort to making things happen. A special thank you goes to Rachael Sherratt, who has been a real asset and a valued sounding board for me.”


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