International Women’s Day – Q&A with Laura Stenhouse

International Women’s Day takes place today (8 March 2019) and this year’s theme is Balance for Better.  We were pleased to see a good split in our recent graduate intake, a first for DM Hall and hopefully a clear sign the industry is achieving a better balance for all.

However, the backbone of our business is our support staff, who work hard to ensure our surveyors can do their job effectively and that our clients are happy.

We spoke to Laura Stenhouse, who joined DM Hall in 1983 and has just celebrated 36 years with the company – a fantastic achievement. She works between our Kirkcaldy and Cupar offices organising residential surveys, liaising with clients and supporting all administrative needs.  She reflects on some of the changes she’s seen over the years.

What are the biggest changes you have seen in day-to-day working life over the years?

Oh, definitely the technology.  There were originally only two electric typewriters, a manual typewriter (mine) and a photocopier and lender’s forms were typed on paper copies that we used to obtain supplies of from local branches.  The surveyors used to have radios in their cars so, if we had to contact them, we used to have to phone Head Office (then at Gogar Park) where the radio base was and carry on a three-way conversation.  Now, we have the internet, emails, mobile phones and digital dictation.  Instead of being in a local office “bubble” under the DM Hall umbrella as it seemed in the beginning, we are now much more integrated and are able to help out other offices more.

What are the biggest changes you have seen within the industry and DM Hall over the years?

It used to be that the majority of our business was Mortgage Valuation Reports, Further Advances etc. from the local branches of banks and building societies, with the occasional Market Valuation and Homebuyers Report.  Nowadays, it is mainly Home Reports from Solicitors and Estate Agents, with any lenders instructions coming via Panel Managers.

What have you enjoyed most about working for DM Hall?

I’ve dealt with all aspects of being a member of the support team over the years and enjoyed them all but I think I really enjoy the most what I am doing now, the majority which is the typing up of reports.

How do you think the industry can help to support more females thinking about a career in surveying?

Not an easy question for me to answer.  I don’t think there were any female surveyors working with DM Hall when I first started but that has greatly improved and, from what I understand, the ratio between males/females is almost equal so something must be happening right.

Of course, it is not all about professional females in DM Hall.  We can’t forget all of us in an administrative role in the company.  We all help to keep DM Hall as a leader in the community.

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