What does your role involve?
I have a dual role at Naylors as MD and also head of asset management. As MD I am responsible for the overall direction of the practice and implementation of the recently agreed business plan, which is focused on the growth of the business and increasing the business’ profile in the market place. As head of asset management I also manage the ontinued growth of the department in the market place and look to continue to improve the client service.
What is it the company does?
We are your Commercial Property People for the North East. Established for over 25 years we are a firm of Chartered Surveyors owned, managed and run from our head office in Newcastle City Centre.
We specialise in all aspects of commercial property including; Property Investment, Industrial, Office & Retail Agency, Building Consultancy, Asset & Facilities Management, Valuations & Lease Advisory, Rating and Development & Consultancy.
Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?
I graduated from Liverpool Polytechnic in 1986 and worked at Sanderson Townend and Gilbert’s Newcastle office until 1989 as part of the property agency team.
In 1989 I joined Sunderland-based Lofthouse and Partners and became a partner in 1993. In 1996 I set up my own practice ABW Associates based in Newcastle, which then merged with Naylors in 1998 and became Naylors’ Newcastle office.
Naylors incorporated in 2000 and I became a director of the business. I took on the role of finance director in 2006 and became managing director in 2013.
What do you believe makes a great leader?
Someone who is prepared to lead by example, listen to advice from others, makes and stands by their decisions.
What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?
There has been two big challenges – the first one was steering the business through the recession, particularly 2008-2010, when we had to make redundancies and refocus the business.
The second one was more recently managing the refocus of the business with the retirement of the founder, Bill Naylor in April 2015 – which led to a major rebrand and a change of emphasis to being a more open and forward thinking business – we are still working on this but have come a long way in the last year!
How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?
The biggest issue is not to take it home with you and if there is a problem or issue which needs resolving share and discuss it – a problem shared is a problem halved.
When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Apart from the usual - to be a number 9 for Newcastle, I don’t think I had any great idea, other than being told I wasn’t bright enough to go to university and brave enough to go into the Army.
Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about then?
My major pet hate is negativity and the word ‘can’t’ – I try and encourage a positive outlook amongst all staff. I am very much a glass half full person and hope by conveying this outlook it encourages others to do likewise.
Where do you see the company in five years time?
If we work in accordance with the business plan we will have cemented our position as the leading, owner managed firm of Commercial Property Consultants in the North East and stayed true to our core principals of People, Place, Ambition and Knowledge. We believe there is a niche we can continue to develop, offering specialist advice based in the North East.
What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?
Take advice, listen to others but ultimately go with your gut feeling and instinct.