Meet the MD: Lorraine MacDonald of Speirs Gumley

Meet the MD: Lorraine MacDonald of Speirs Gumley

Managing partner of Glasgow property management company Speirs Gumley, Lorraine MacDonald, tells BQ what her role includes and how she alleviates the stress that comes with her job.

Describe your role in brief:

My role is to manage the team within the various departments at Speirs Gumley, at all levels, to develop the business at a rate that is manageable, to impart knowledge on the business ethos and vision.

To monitor the performance of the team to ensure that they deliver a good level of service to our varied client base. 


What is it the company does? 

There are three sectors with the business, (1) residential property management (2) commercial management and (3) residential letting.


Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?

I started in Ross & Liddell as an office junior at the age of 17 and progressed within the business to a senior property manager. I then moved onto Speirs Gumley in 1989 as the senior property manager.

By the time I was 30 I became a director, at 35 became the managing director, at 40 became a Partner and now at the age of 52, I’m senior partner for the company.


What do you believe makes a great leader?

Empathy, determination, strong work ethic, never be afraid to “get your hands dirty”, maintain a hands on approach in your business. Never lose sight of why you are where you are, which is, more often than not, down to your employees. 


What has been your biggest challenge in your current position? 

The downturn in 2008 identifying very quickly how to “cut our cloth” and do it quickly, whilst mitigating any job losses and salary cuts. Working with partners who all had different agendas was the biggest challenge.


How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?

Good friends. Tennis and more tennis. Frankly I think I have been to more gigs than anyone at the Hydro, as music is a big part of my life. 


When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a policewoman first but I was too small. I stayed on at school for a year to grow and I was still too small. I then started in property management.


Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about then?

Housekeeping is one of my pet hates. I honestly nag everyone to leave things the way you would expect to find them and to put things away. We also have a clear desk policy.


Where do you see the company in five years time? 

I see the company growing at a steady rate, ensuring at all times that the growth is still manageable. Developing the Speirs Gumley Foundation and staff bonus scheme. Potentially increasing our turnover by 20%.


What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader? 

Work hard, set goals that do raise the bar but are achievable, know your product, avoid buzz words and sayings, be real.