Monika Newton, partner at Workman, tells Property Week about her time in the industry and shares her cultural recommendations.
How did you join the property industry?
I was in the right place at the right time. In 2006, I was working for a real estate firm as admin support and was fortunate to have an amazing boss who spotted my passion for providing great customer service to occupiers. A few weeks later, I enrolled on a property course and the rest is history. I have been blessed in my career to work with wonderful managers who have helped me realise my full potential.
What does your job entail?
Welcome – Workman Offices focuses on providing exceptional service for occupiers. My background is in hotel management, so I am very passionate about customer service. There is an interesting dynamic today in the landlord and occupier relationship in workspaces; and with heightening competition between office landlords, the customer experience often becomes a deciding factor. My team and I continually strive to evolve the customer experience, bridging the gap between traditional offices, flexible workspaces and the home experience. The true point of difference now lies in collaborating with customers to co-create attractive workplace communities, which sit somewhere between a hotel and home.
What do you like most about the property industry?
The office environment has changed dramatically over the past few years – expeditated by the pandemic – and I truly enjoy the challenge this change has brought about. I love collaborating to find new and exciting ways to develop and improve the new workplace environment.
And what do you dislike most about it?
Never-ending delays in completing projects in the post-Covid, post-Brexit world. I am hoping this is temporary and things will shortly go back to some sort of normality.
What would you change about the property industry?
I still believe women in the property industry could be better represented at board level; things are changing and moving in the right direction, but we still have a long way to go.
What barriers or challenges have you overcome?
The industry is still very male-dominated and was even more so 10 to 15 years ago. It has been a challenging road, but it has made me even more determined to succeed. The words of my gymnastics coach keep me going when things are tough: “Never give up just because you fell; you must get up stronger and keep going until you succeed.”
What are you most proud of in your career?
I am proud to see people I have mentored in the past carrying forward the Welcome ethos – many of them are now mentoring their own teams with a customer service focus. I feel I have helped change perceptions as property management is about not only collecting rent but also working in partnership with landlords and occupiers to provide exceptional customer service and excellent working facilities.
What do you value in people?
Honesty, a sense of humour, a strong work ethic and the ability to effectively communicate.
What advice would you give someone starting a career in the property industry?
Be brave, do not be afraid to speak out, and work hard and the sky is the limit. It is an amazing and very rewarding industry, which needs people who are passionate and willing to challenge the current status quo to deliver tangible benefits for the future generations to come.
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