Stephen Friel, Gordon Ingram Associates

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This week we are extremely excited to introduce you to our newest inspiring individual, Stephen Friel a Senior Partner at Gordon Ingram Associates (GIA). GIA is an independent firm of chartered surveyors and technical specialists who are market leaders in rights of light and neighbourly matters as well as pioneers in the field daylight design. As a firm, GIA and its employees have been instrumental in writing the new APC Pathway for Rights of Light Surveyors, if this pathway is of interest to you find out more here

Stephen talks to us about his entrance into the property industry, the importance of patience early on in your career and finishes off by giving us a little reminder to remain open minded, career growth is not always a linear pathway and it is nothing to worry about.

Please could you start by briefly describing how you first entered the property industry and describe your career journey to your current position?

I completed a BSc and MSc in Environmental Planning and Urban Design from Queens University, Belfast. I then moved to London and worked for a private property developer as a planning manager. I worked for this company for two years and then got a job at GIA. The first two years as a planning manager were me basically cutting my teeth in London. When the opportunity to start at GIA came about, it felt like it could be my eventual career. I am now seven years in at GIA and have been rapidly promoted through various titles (Surveyor – Senior Surveyor – Associate Partner – Partner – Senior Partner).

As the roles have grown with responsibility, so too have I as a person. There are no two days the same. When projects run smooth, it’s a great place to be. When they’re faced with difficulties, that’s when you realise how important it is to have a good team around you.

What do you wish someone had told you at the start of your career?

That you don’t have to make a difference overnight. One of the biggest issues (I find) with employing graduates is their desire to create impact immediately. We now live in a society where we can order and therefore obtain goods and services instantly. Graduates can be too hard on themselves. I had a recent probationary meeting with a graduate at GIA. She wanted to leave because she felt she hadn’t overhauled the marketing and business development policies… she had been at GIA for three months!

What do you personally feel is the best thing about working in the property industry and why?

For me, without a doubt, it is being involved in landmark developments in the capital. GIA are fortunate enough to be specialists in a niche industry. There is a great sense of pleasure and pride having worked on a project for two years and then see it gain planning permission and become ‘breaking news’ on the front page of the Evening Standard.

In one sentence, what advice would you give someone starting out in their property career?

Be open minded. The degree you chose may not necessarily become your eventual career and that’s perfectly fine.

Harri John