Podcast Summary 23: Women in Surveying with Mandy Spencely

Mandy Spencely BSc FRICS is the Area Operations Manager at e.surv Chartered Surveyors, responsible for a team of residential surveyors in Nottingham and Lincoln. e.surv are the UK’s largest provider of property risk expertise and residential surveying services, employing over 600 surveyors across the UK.

Mandy is also very passionate about training and counselling surveyors on their qualification journey. In her spare time, she serves as a local town Councillor.

 

Falling Into Surveying

As so many other surveyors, Mandy says she “fell” into this profession. When she interviewed for different positions at the age of 19, she didn’t even know that the surveying job existed.

“I had three interviews – legal executive, local authority rating trainee, and a trainee chartered surveyor. I didn’t actually know what any of them did, but I got offered all three jobs. And I decided I didn’t really want to work for the council, I hadn’t really thought about law, and I didn’t know what a chartered surveyor was. So I gave that a go and absolutely loved it right from day one. It was residential surveying for a local estate agency. I started at the bottom, making tea, doing the filing, but also spending half of my days going out with surveyors and lifting drain covers, testing for damp, setting ladders up, and I just thought wow, I didn’t even know this job existed. From that moment I had a tunnel vision to get qualified, and I’ve never wanted to do anything else.”

Passion for Training And Counselling

Mandy went on to work and study part-time and got qualified, and she discovered she was passionate about training and counselling.

“I got into training with my last employer. I was offered the role of training director, and I developed the training program for ASSOCs based on what they’ve done previously. I was also the counsellor to all of the candidates and managed them for short term after qualification. Alongside that, I went into assessing and became an APC Assessor and AssocRICS Assessor. But out of all of those roles, I really enjoy being the counsellor. I enjoy seeing a candidate grow, help and support them towards their qualification, identifying gaps, signposting them to their further learning, and then the most rewarding part is to see them come out with a qualification at the end, and supporting them to become fairly good surveyors.”

Developing A Leadership Style

There are not many women in this industry who are managers and have the experience that Mandy has. Here’s what she says about developing her leadership style:

“I have a team of surveyors, and everyone is an individual, so I manage my team as individuals. If they need help, I will help them, if they don’t need help, I will leave them to it and just make support calls as I need to. I’ve got a very good team, but I say that because I always get to know them, and enjoy the company of each of them. I see the positives and potential in everybody. I think that’s really the key, to see that potential and strive to get them to maximize their potential. People often forget what management is about. It’s not just about being in charge and telling people what to do. It’s actually a two way relationship built on trust and support.”

Local Town Councillor In Her Spare Time

Mandy serves as a local town Councillor as well, and when asked how she manages to do all of that, she just says she loves every part of what she does, and she makes everything fit in with her life and the family.

“I had a career but at the same time I wanted to be in management and I’ve always wanted to progress. So I’ve been a census district manager in the Millennium when I had a six month old baby and no prior management experience. I did that to put myself out of my comfort zone and gain experience. I’ve been a school governor, which I really enjoyed, and I wanted to be a counsellor for a couple of reasons, selfish and non selfish. The non selfish reasons were that I wanted to make a difference, and the selfish reasons were that I thought it was a great place to get experience on board. And it’s really been a brilliant experience. We’ve got financial decisions to make all the time, we’re 100% accountable to the public, we’re having to make strategic decisions, and get along with each other and also deal with a lot of flak all the time.”

How A Female Role Model In Surveying Should Look Like

“When I was a trainee,” Mandy continues, “I didn’t have many female role models, and working in a male dominated environment, in my previous roles where I was heavily biased on negotiation, felt like I needed to put a mask on. So coming back into residential surveying was so refreshing because it was the first time I could be myself in years in my job. And I thought if I ever get to be a manager, I’m going to be me. I’m not going to be trying to be somebody else.”

“I do like to nurture people and give them the confidence to be themselves in their roles. I think female role models need to look like themselves. I don’t think they need to put a mask on, and I think they need to help the next people along. It’s not about elbowing your way to the top, it’s about being the best you can be, and helping other people along the way,” Mandy concludes.

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