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Leasehold Women at Work - Emma Thomas

Why Emma Thomas, Senior Property Manager, MIRPM AssocRICS moved supplier side after 5 years in Property Management


Last week Sam, Alice and Zoe met up with Emma Thomas from CIAR to discuss her latest move to supplier side.

CIAR pride themselves on the breadth and quality of the services they offer, all of which are carried out by qualified professionals with a wealth of experience in their respective fields. From ongoing maintenance support to one-off major works, there’s nothing they can’t do, and do well!

How long have you been in Residential Property Management?

After graduating from Bournemouth university, I worked for the NHS as part of their call centre, using it as a stop gap until a secured a role which I wanted to make my career. Joining Burlington Estates in 2013 as an Office Administrator gave me a taste of the property management industry and I could see great career progression with them. Through hard work and commitment, I managed to move through the ranks to Senior Property Manager in just under 5 years. I secured my MIRPM and AssocRICS in 2015 and managed a high-end portfolio within central London.

I loved my time at Burlington Estates, it was rewarding seeing them grow from a small company to an established firm which they are today. I feel thankful to have experienced this journey with them and the knowledge it has given me to progress onto the next stage of my career.

What prompted the change of industry?

I wasn’t doing the hands-on Property Management anymore after becoming a Senior Property Manager, I was more focused on the team management and missed the project side of things. I really enjoyed working with contractors, dealing with reactive and major works and I felt my new role as a Senior PM had pushed that to one side.

I had an honest conversation with my directors, they were very supportive and told me I needed to do what was right for me. It was so refreshing that my employers gave me this support and celebrated the time I had given them, rather than resenting me for leaving.

Did you have any fears about moving supplier side?

My peers advised against making this move, so I spent a lot of time going to and from the idea of going supplier side. I think sometimes women are more cautious and take less risks even when it comes to putting themselves up for promotion in their company. We need to be more confident in our ability as females, we bring a lot to the work place. I am now loving my role new role and it wasn’t as scary as I thought.

What transferrable skills are there, from property management to supplier side working for property managers?

Working as a property manager, I found there was a barrier between contractors and Property Managers, sometimes things were misunderstood because of terminology that was being used.

Being a female with a Property Manager’s eye and terminology, I can explain everything from a Property Managers perspective. I can also add value to the client by talking Assistants through problems and give them direction through leases, which saves the client time. I have a softer approach, which is great when helping more junior staff. Demanding clients can knock your confidence, I have seen this happen a lot. One of my motivations as a supplier, is to help prevent this for other property managers with difficult clients. At CIAR we keep tabs on all our buildings, so that if a Property Manager has to have a tricky meeting, CIAR are there for support and can nip the problem in the bud.

We can also add value in several other areas. Carrying out site inspections on behalf of Property Managers because I know how busy Property Managers are and we know what to look for.

What keeps you motivated and enthusiastic?

Making a Property Managers life easier. It’s a great feeling to get recognition for your work and a thank you, which you don’t get when you’re working as a Property Manager. When you do a good job, you get more sites, it’s about keeping the Property Managers happy and their clients happy.

Why do you think Doyenne is so important for the property management industry?

It’s a safe space and non-judgemental. It can be intimidating at other industry events in a more corporate environment. At Doyenne, it’s about working together, so we can all achieve more, whether you are a supplier or a Property Manager, we all add value, and this needs to be recognised. Doyenne does this.

Any tips for others in the industry?

Have confidence in what you say – you do know it! Don’t let one comment from a leaseholder knock your confidence. You know what you’re doing, and you have the knowledge and experience for the job. Be more confident and believe in yourself.

A Thank you from Doyenne

Thank you for your time Emma, it was great to meet someone who has a clear passion for what they do but at the same time being humble, professional and genuine. We wish you the best of luck at CIAR.

If you think Emma could help you, please contact her on

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