Charlotte Morphet, Women In Planning
Our inspiring individual for today is the wonderful Charlotte Morphet, Co-founder of Women In Planning and Principal Policy Planner for London Borough of Waltham Forest. She tells us about her entry into the property industry, the attraction of working in the public sector and the importance of diversity within the planning and real estate industry.
Thanks for taking the time to speak to us Charlotte, could you please start off by explaining your entry into the property industry?
I graduated in 2009, the height of the recession. My journey from my masters into my first proper planning role wasn’t easy. I undertook 6 internships across public, private and voluntary sectors. I wouldn’t change it, I see it as my planning rotation. All that experience made me the planner I am today and it built my professional network. I learnt so much. My first role was in planning enforcement at Wandsworth Council. Not the role I thought I would end up in but great role to learn how to explain planning to anyone and quickly grasp how to use legislation.
After Wandsworth, I had a 5 year stint in the private sector before moving back to public sector for my current role as a Principal Policy Planner at London Borough of Waltham Forest. At Waltham Forest I am working on the new Local Plan with stakeholders to set a positive, ambitious but realistic and deliverable vision for the Borough. It is the role I wanted 10 years ago when I started out in planning, and I feel lucky to be in it now. Being tenacious and patient has paid off. Two skills you need in property and planning.
In your opinion, what is an important development or theme that will shape the future
of the property industry?
The move towards gender parity is going to shape the future of the industry for the better. With my friend I set up Women in Planning in 2012. Now over five years later we have grown to five branches across the UK. When we started out no one thought there was really an issue in planning but now there is starting to be some recognition and understanding that isn’t enough and we need some action too. Not just on gender but on overall diversity. We have a shortage of planners at the moment across all sectors and we need to be attracting talent and not limiting ourselves. That is why I think initiatives such as BAME Property, Public Practice, Built by Both, RE Women, Women Talk Real Estate, Urbanistas, Planning Out and Women in Planning are so important. There is so much going on in the diversity sphere, there is something for everyone. There is no excuse not to get involved and ensure we get the change the industry needs.
Once we have tapped that talent that is where Creation comes into play – offering high quality free events for early careers will keep talent in the industry. Free events at the beginning of your career are important. I wish I thought of it myself . It also generally important so you get a mix of sectors.
What advice would you give to a young person starting their career in the industry?
Don’t dismiss working in the public sector. It is a really interesting time to work in the public sector. There is a lot going on. Councils are building housing of all tenures. Councils have ambitious asset management strategies and because of this there are some really great career opportunities.
Thank you Charlotte!