Women in Flex 2024: Five Things We Learnt

Women in Flex

Women In Flex is an event series aimed at encouraging women working in the flexible workspace and coworking sectors to take time out to nurture their careers.  Jointly conceived and developed by the Flexible Workspace Association and technologywithin, they are unlike any other panel discussion events because the subject matter is personal. Successful women in the sector share their career stories to inspire others and create an open conversation about the challenges they encounter along the way.

The fifth in the series was kindly hosted by Runway East Bloomsbury, by CEO Natasha Guerra.  Natasha was joined by Lisa Cations (Founder and MD, JCR Advisors), Myf Plunkett (Head of Sales & Marketing, LentaSpace and Suzanne Murdock (Founder and MD, The Hub Newry).  Our thanks go to our panellists for sharing their stories so honestly.  New for this event, was a practical workshop, offering attendees the opportunity to improve how they use LinkedIn to develop leads for their workspaces, led by social media expert and trainer Becs Bate.

There is more than one route to a senior role

Each panellist had taken a very different route to both the industry and senior roles.

Myf had taken the classic route – albeit in Australia – starting at reception and working her way up through the ranks over 27 years, several operators and two continents. Lisa’s career started in hospitality with an internship and the passion stayed with her through 20 years of international moves and study breaks, into CRE, flexible workspace and consultancy.  Suzanne’s route was completely different – she came into the market looking for an office to work in and build a network and ended up renovating a building and opening her own flexible workspace in 2012, where she also offers 121 coaching.

Passion + people skills + education = progress

All agreed that in a hospitality-led business, people skills and hands on experience were key to success.  But, having a passion for the industry was the point of commonality for the panellists. This motivation kept them developing, growing and working hard. Education wasn’t an entry barrier but had contributed to progression to more senior roles and was seen as beneficial when in roles dealing with investors and landlords.

Try things that scare you

One thing that our panellists had in common was trying new things that developed them, even where they felt uncomfortable.  All agreed that being open to new things and going outside your comfort zone had helped them progress; whether it was speaking on a panel, becoming a charity trustee, setting up a podcast or taking a course to develop a new skill.

Ask for help

When asked for their top tips the Women in Flex panel had loads of great advice to share about asking for help instead of trying to solve everything by yourself.  Use your network when you need advice; ask for support and learn to say no when you’re over worked (especially if you have a family).  They had also tried both mentorship and 121 coaching to help guide their career paths.

Worry less!

When considering what advice they would now give their younger selves about their careers, the response was to worry less, to overcome that fear of failure and imposter syndrome. Overworking could lead to neglecting your mental health and become a negative for progress. Instead, be guided by your values and passions; know your strengths and align yourself with people who will build you up.

How we make change at the top

Natasha asked the panel about the change still needed to increase the number of women at Board level in the CRE industry as a whole.  Suggestions included offering more working flexibility and judging performance on achievements; not presenteeism.  Proactive creation of more female mentorship schemes was also thought to be impactful.

Thanks again to all our panellists and attendees. We look forward to bringing you another Women in Flex event soon.  In the meantime, you can read blogs from previous events here and watch a previous webinar here.

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