Rachel has established herself as a role model for women in the construction industry. In March she began her year as National Chair for Women in Property. ‘Stand Tall’ is her mantra – it’s about embracing any challenge, large or small, and supporting others to step outside of their comfort zones.
Back in the office, Rachel is a board director and applies her construction industry knowledge to her roles as Head of Business Development, Director of Defence and Director of Infrastructure. An architect at heart, Rachel has been an outward facing personality for us since joining as a University of Bath student in 2000.
Who is your biggest career influence?
My Dad, an electrician by trade, he was my role model and inspired me to get into the industry. When I was two I climbed up a ladder to reach him on the roof of our house and ever since then he said I should be in construction.
Interesting fact that no one knows about you?
I’m passionate about steam trains! When I was younger, my grandad bought me some shares in West Somerset Railway and going on steam trains keeps alive my memory of him. I’m also a strong believer in health and wellbeing. Yoga has been a love of mine for around 18 years. If I could, then I would spend my whole day upside down in a handstand.
Before sitting down at my computer, I find it helpful to start each day with a walk, it’s a perfect opportunity to get some fresh air and listen to some great podcasts. Power Hour with Adrienne Herbert has been a huge inspiration. It’s all about harnessing the first hour of your day to get the best out of yourself, physically and mentally. It is upbeat, energising and has given me lots of wonderful ideas to help motivate myself and others during lockdown.
How has your role as Head of Business development changed over the last 12 months?
Finding new ways to drive business from home has been tough but enlightening; I’ve discovered that it is possible to network, nurture client relationships and pick up new leads without the need for travel, overnight stays, early mornings and late nights. We’re seeing some fantastic virtual meetings, CPDs and events popping up which are more accessible and inclusive. And our business partners and networks are clubbing together to share resources and ideas. Whilst there will always be a need for people to get together in the same room, in the future it will be about having a clear purpose. I hope we learn the lessons for a more collaborative, efficient, and effective industry when all this ends.
What does your year ahead, as National Chair of Women in Property, have in store?
As National Chair, I hope to build upon the great work Women in Property are doing to improve diversity and inclusion in this inspiring industry of ours, and by broadening our networks. Our best chance of weathering the pandemic is by reaching out to partners – new and existing – and working together towards a more sustainable future, in the broadest sense. A sustainable community that thrives on equity, compassion and a little bit of courage can do amazing things.
- Women in Property, National Chair 2021/22
- Women in Property, South West Chair 2017/18
- Joined SW regional LandAid board
- Shortlisted for Architect of the Year 2014
- Best Female Mentor 2018, Women in Engineering and Construction Awards (Finalist)
- Role model for UKCW 2018
- Property Personality of the Year 2018, Insider South West
- Mentor of the Year 2019, Hargreaves Lansdown South West Mentoring Awards
- Property Week RESI Trailblazer 2019
- Diversity Champion of the Year 2021, Insider South West