Promoting Women in Property: Shelley Phillipson, WGE
Shelley Phillipson, Marketing Manager Wood & Grieve Engineers believes red tape is one of the biggest issues affecting the property industry.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievements in life? ( personally or professionally)
Wow – big question. Only being 35 I’m not sure I’m in a place to say ‘greatest achievement’. Professionally I am really proud of all the work at Wood & Grieve Engineers. Being part of a company that trusts their marketing team and is willing to take risks has been hugely rewarding and fulfilling. I was very humbled that these achievements were acknowledged when I was invited to become a shareholder in 2016.
What advice would you give to future leading women in property?
Hold true to yourself. I was once told ‘Never wear your hair down’ in professional situations, ignoring that advice was the best thing ever. Being yourself gives you confidence that you can’t fake. It is what can make you stand out and succeed.
What are the greatest challenges you have had to overcome in your career to date?
Each job I’ve had has brought about different challenges. Working in professional services marketing, the biggest challenges you face are the stereotypes surrounding women in marketing. People often assume you ‘fell’ into it and often underestimate the strategic value the function can bring.
What can/ should the industry be doing to promote women in industry?
I believe we are already seeing a shift in thinking across the industry. We are seeing more senior female leaders in our companies and we are understanding the value different types of thinking different individuals can bring. We should continue to raise awareness around the benefits of diversity and share strategies that have been successfully implemented to promote diversity.
Did you always want to work in property, if not what were your original plans?
If I had more talent, I wanted to be a singer on Broadway – but we can’t all follow our dreams! Since that was a non-starter I have always wanted to work in professional services which property falls into. I enjoy working with likeminded individuals and the strategic approach the marketing function can achieve in professional services.
What is the next goal or project you are working towards?
My next goal is focussed around the digital world and looking to enhance WGE’s presence in that space.
How did you come to be the National Marketing Manager of Wood & Grieve Engineers?
It won’t surprise any PCA members that have worked with my engineering team, but I got the job through a very very detailed and structured interview process. My second interview was with 6 people and I had 45 minutes to present a full marketing strategy to the team. #nopressure
I chose to work for WGE as it is a company that has an enormous focus on people. It is a place where you can be yourself and it really is more than just work to most employees.
Who have been your greatest influences, both personally and professionally?
Professionally my greatest influence was my Managing Partner from the job I had at Ogier (an offshore law firm). His guidance, support and advice was what really allowed me to develop my own style and feel confident in myself and my convictions. It often isn’t easy walking into a room full of people that don’t understand what you do. The confidence to stand strong to my ideas drives me and has helped me succeed in my career.
What do you think are the biggest issues affecting the property industry?
I think red-tape is a big one. We need to be encouraging development in WA and moving to a 100% private certification process would significantly aid this. Building a sustainable future is also an issue. I would like to see more government assistance to make sustainable development more economically viable.
Why did you choose to be involved in the Property Council and what are your thoughts on our various diversity initiatives?
I chose to be part of the Property Council as I believe we need to come together as an industry to make change happen. Being part of the Diversity Committee I think the various initiatives being rolled out are all great steps forward to building a more cohesive, diverse industry.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given?
I have been given two equally good ones:
‘Walk the floors’ - meaning, stop sending email and build real face-to-face relationships. People do business with people not emails.
‘Hold true to yourself’ – this will make you more confident and a happier person