CBRE’s Stanley leading the way for women on the way up in property
getting her back to work — initially in a wheelchair and then on crutches.
In 1995, whilst on maternity leave, she was headhunted by the late Fintan Gunne and joined the Gunne valuation department. However, she was finding it difficult to combine her career with spending enough time with her children and she decided to leave Gunne in 1998 to work from home. A chance meeting with Tom Dunne (head of Surveying and Construction at DIT Bolton Street) saw her filling in for a lecturer on leave, which led to five years lecturing on the property economics course.
During this period she continued to do some consultancy work, including all of Vodafone’s acquisitions, reviews and valuations. “You’re very torn, between your kids and not wanting to give up your career,” Stanley told me, adding that “you have to try and find a balance.”
She was then approached by Enda Luddy, now managing the forefront in promoting women” she said, pointing to the company’s ‘working from home’ and ‘remote working’ options, which are availed of by a lot of its female and male employees.
“But it can still be more difficult for women having children,” she said. “I still see a lot of women, especially fee earners, getting to a certain level, and then they disappear.”
A lot of this, she said, is because “to be a top fee earner, means lots of networking and entertaining, and a lot of that is outside business hours. But you just have to do it to bring in the work.”
“In the commercial markets, a lot of the meetings I go to are all men. Most of the top decision makers are men, particularly in property, but that’s changing as more women get top positions in client firms. For example, Vodafone, Microsoft, Facebook and Bank of Ireland all have women CEOs.”
In an effort to accelerate change, Florence Stanley is one of the founders of a female-leadership initiative called WOW. It recently completed a pilot programme where 27 highpotential women were mentored by senior female leaders and supported by sponsors ( both men and women) from within employer organisations. It will be interesting to see where this leads.