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International Women's Day: be bold for change

On International Women’s Day, the global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, I find myself in Singapore.

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I am here because of the support that I have been very fortunate to receive, over so many years from women that have assisted, supported and mentored me, as I have strived to achieve my goals. 

Women from so many walks of life have made a personal difference to me. These include my school teachers, university lecturers, Pat the landlady of The Crown and Cushion pub in Birmingham, and a social worker, for whom I worked: caring for her children overnight, when I wasn’t behind the bar working at the local pub, so that she could work night shifts, and I could afford to make ends meet as single parent studying for my degree in Estate Management. 

I count my blessings everyday that I have been supported and nurtured by so many women.

Christie & Co's Childcare & Education team

In the property world, I am in the relatively unique and privileged position to lead a market-leading, highly respected, female dominated team of business property experts. Our Childcare & Education specialists at Christie & Co have in one way or another been involved in every major UK day nursery portfolio transaction since 2006 and working closely with Joanne Jia, Christie & Co’s Head of Asia, we are swiftly becoming an international force to be reckoned with. Fuelled  by our reputation, market expertise, knowledge and client service our team is building new relationships and gaining recognition and respect from trade operators, investors and fellow professionals across China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, South Korea and Vietnam. 

Earlier today I met with Mr Dexter See, Managing Director RICS, World Regional Director and Managing Director ASEAN. RICS is the world's leading professional body for qualifications and standards in land, property, infrastructure and construction and is leading the way across the property profession with a wide range of initiatives including:


  • The Inclusive Employer Quality Mark
  • Their sponsorship of an Awards category for Women of the Future in Real Estate, Construction and Infrastructure
  • The establishment of RICS Visible Women group for leaders and influencers in the profession and the wider industry
  • The #SurveyingtheFuture campaign, which strives to increase the overall diversity of the workforce within the profession

We discussed many topics including gender parity and it’s very positive and exciting to note that, as published in the RICS Global Performance Q2 Report 2016-17, 43% of new RICS trainees in ASEAN are women.

I am incredibly grateful for the support that I have received over the years and I’m a firm believer in ‘paying it back’. During a meeting last year with Amanda Clack FRICS, RICS President, and fellow UK based RICS colleagues, I was delighted to be invited to join the female mentorship programme, an initiative being piloted between South Africa’s Women’s Property Network (WPN) and RICS. 

Christie & Co's Courteney Donaldson & Joanne Jia

Talking about experiences and challenges in non-judgemental manners can provide a different perspective on the issues that individuals face. Sharing experiences can assist others in considering different pathways that may be open to them and supportive and constructive dialogue can provide support to individuals in order to overcome challenges and achieve their goals.   

I have had a number of mentors during my career, although very few of them knew that they were my mentors because of the informal nature of the relationships that we had. There are certain things that I learnt from them that I continue to reflect on, on a very regular basis. The advice my mentors shared with me over a decade ago continues to form some of the cornerstones of the way I approach and conduct business today.  

On this International Women's Day let's #beboldforchange

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