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In Celebration of The Women in our Workforce: Marie Lloyd

In Celebration of The Women in our Workforce: Marie Lloyd

In Celebration of The Women in our Workforce: Marie Lloyd

In celebration of the women in our work force this international women’s day, we have spoken to colleagues from across the business to understand the value of investing in women’s careers and inclusion in our workplace.

We spoke to Marie Lloyd, Portfolio Manager at Touchstone about the impact that new initiatives, and empowering female careers has had for colleagues and her career at Touchstone.

We began by asking Marie her thoughts on three important statements relating to the property sector:

  • In 1975, women could finally open a bank account in their own name and apply for a mortgage without facing discrimination.
  • 47% of buy-to-let landlords in the UK are in fact women.
  • 27% of senior leadership in the property sector are female (Real Estate Balance Research)

The first statistic makes a lot of sense in my area of the business as I predominantly deal with retirement properties, so anyone over the age of 60.

We have a lot of women who fail credit cheques because they don’t have a credit history, and their names were never on any documentation, so they always come up as inconclusive.

Having worked in Touchstone for as long as I have, I’ve only ever experienced working under women. So, to see that only 27% of senior leadership in property are women is shocking.

Tell me a little about yourself and your career.

I’ve had quite a convoluted history, having started at places leisure. I started off as a customer advisor, then became a duty manager, and I really wanted to stay working within the Places for People Group, although I didn’t necessarily want to work in the gym anymore. So, I went for the property manager job within the picture living team. I had no property experience whatsoever, although I had been a part of PFP.

I had my little boy about a year after I started, then came back part time as a maintenance controller. I have also been an operations manager for the retirement team, and since October last year I have been a portfolio manager.

Why do you enjoy working for Touchstone?

I really enjoy the job in general and working with the tenants and the people here. The job is very varied, with no day the same, and there is always a brand-new challenge. There are also perks to working for this company, especially now we have hybrid working and the steps that Touchstone are taking to up the pay levels and support their staff.

How has Touchstone supported you as a woman of our workforce?

When I had my son, I genuinely didn’t think I could ever progress in my career in property management because I would need to work full time and I wasn’t able to. However, Touchstone has been open to my progression and sticking with initiatives like hybrid working since COVID has made a huge difference.

I can spend time with my little boy, pick him up from school on my lunch breaks, and this causes very minimal disruption.

In a typically male dominated industry, why would you recommend Touchstone as an inclusive employer and what is your role in achieving this?

You just need to take a look at our workforce in general! Yes, it may be a male dominated industry, although the majority of people that I work with have all been women. That also doesn’t mean that it’s a very female dominated office, I work with both men and women on my team.

There are all types of background and different people, and I don’t think anyone I have ever worked with has felt any discrimination or that there weren’t equal opportunities. Touchstone has got quite a feel to it that no matter what background you come from, we will always put the time, energy, and skills into training you.

I lead by example, getting involved in everything from the ground up. It’s all about team building; getting a new starter introduced to everyone in the team and showing them every element of the business. We discuss all opportunities, any issues, and I constantly have one to one catch ups with every single member of my team.

There are lots of different backgrounds and situations within my team, some not very nice and some more positive, so I take the time to get to know them and understand their needs.

What does international women’s day mean to you?

On the one hand, I feel that women have come a hell of a long way. Although, there are still a lot of issues that we need to overcome.

Even though my little boy is in school, there are still struggles and we (women) are still expected to be everyone and everything in all areas. There is so much pressure on women. My husband is extremely supportive, but he doesn’t understand the pressure that comes behind being a woman, especially if you want a career.

Tell me about a woman who inspires you.

I’ve not necessarily had any female role models to look up to in my personal life, and there are so many inspiring women out there.

I would have to highlight Anna Whitehouse, the heart radio presenter who is trailblazing the flex appeal movement. She found over time, that whenever she tried to get basic flexible work, it was met with such disdain and the country isn’t built for childcare out of normal office hours.

Over the last couple of years, amid her own personal troubles, and divorcing her husband, she’s headlined this charge for flexi working. The most recent appeal, which Touchstone’s Flexi Plus is a result of, is down to her. She’s campaigning and being a mum and battling her own trials and tribulations and it’s inspirational.

She has hammered home that we can’t do it all, but we can all see how one person can make such a big impact and she has directly impacted our working life.

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