Ringley Group Managing Director Shortlisted For Three Women In Property Awards

by: Mary-Anne Bowring

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Ringley Group Managing Director Shortlisted For Three Women In Property Awards

If the cleaner didn't clean, the spaceship wouldn't have made it to the moon. This is just of Mary-Anne's innovative ways of showing that at Ringley every role matters and every processes needs to come together in unison to deliver a result. You'll find Mary-Anne in IT telling them that they make her dreams come true, with Managers discussing how management is a transferable skills and if you can manage you can manage anything from running a battleship to Sainsburys. She's blunt, driven and focused, short at times but leads in an engaging way. And as a result, The Ringley Group have won a number of industry awards. And from an individual perspective, Mary-Anne Bowring, has been shortlisted for three awards, to be given to women for their achievements in the property industry. The interviewer compared the success she pulled off in the Mundania Court enfranchisement one of those Erin Brockovich moments.

She has been shortlisted for: Estate Agency Trainer Of The Year Surveyor Of The Year Women Business Owner Of The Year Earlier this year, Mary-Anne was a finalist for Individual Valuer Of The Year at the Enfranchisement and Right To Manage Awards. Most recently, The Ringley Group bagged a National Training Award from The Skills Funding Agency. The winning entry was entitled a belief system to support a money back guarantee. The programme, devised by Mary-Anne took 3 years, think what tickled the judges panel, said Katie Field, was the course Mary-Anne put together on Simple writing. We analysed the Sun and the Financial Times. We learnt about sentence length, average reading age, sentence construction and to avoid non-everyday words. We've agreed letters should be 1 side max, sentences 20 words or less, banned words like clutter that non-native speakers don't understand. Where some trainers are stuck in an academic mindset, Mary-Anne is solution oriented and just cuts through the problem and expose to us that almost everything can be made simple.

The Ringley Group were also awarded Gold for the Best Block Management Company by The Times/Sunday Times. Women Business Owner Of The Year With Mary-Anne's vision, Ringley have driven change in the industry. We've called this year our year of leaseholder love. With the majority of owners (whose property we manage) not having English as their first language, Ringley decided to introduce the I don't know anything about Property Test when communicating with owners, so they understand what it means to live in a leasehold property. And if this means using colourful pictures instead of a page of text, then so be it. Mary-Anne has been a driving force behind this, such as leading training sessions on how to write to owners in a simple and friendly way, rather than a text heavy and confusing corporate style.

She's helped Ringley to build a community spirit for owners. In terms of leading change in the industry, we were the first property company to offer a virtual concierge service and first to offer a money-back guarantee. We're proud that we've given money back as it means we can learn and specify training to staff in order to improve services we offer. We hold customer focus groups to meet clients so we can take on board their feedback, and every staff member is a mystery shopper, so receives communication we send out to clients. If you can't change the culture within the company, you can't expect to become coveted by clients externally. We can even email a bunch of flowers to someone to say thank you.

Mary-Anne's philosophy is that Ringley will achieve its vision, good advice, great service from brilliant people every time, by remaining true to its core values and listening and innovating at every opportunity. Surveyor Of The Year Mary-Anne champions the underdog. In one example, she was outraged that an injustice was being done. The freeholders Section 21 Notice was £925,000. But by destroying the Freeholders case and over-estimated value of the telecommunications installations, she settled the case at £356,000. This was for Mundania Court, where she took the client on (on a no win no fee basis) four days before the tribunal.

The client was £17,000 down in fees and their solicitor and surveyor had advised them to give up. Mary-Anne got involved and set about proving that if the enfranchisement group fell apart, each would have circa £4,500 to lose as the cost of individual lease extensions now significantly exceeded what she believed she could deliver as the enfranchisement premium. Her ability, beyond surveying, to bring a group of once optimistic leaseholders who were falling apart was incredible. A huge flurry of emails, explanations, making concepts simple in laymans terms and sheer reality, how much they had to lose were tactics employed.

Estate Agency Trainer Of The Year Mary-Anne, daughter of a school teacher, has no formal training in education but seems to have the natural ability to see things through our eyes and make a message simple. Mary-Anne has led the Ringley Group from realisation that we were giving no better than 2 star service in 2009 to bagging a string of property awards. Ringley decided to include the whole firm in a training programme that would run for 18 months, up until December 2011. It was led by Mary-Anne and Operations Manager Jason Karim, working with HR specialist Rachel Block (RBHR), and business coach Michael Heppell. The learning approach centred on a series of workshops and aimed to achieve public group acceptance of what needed to be learned, using peer pressure to make the personal and working-practice alterations that were necessary.

Ringley used many innovative methods and techniques, for example, writing workshops that examined the styles of various media publications; a problem-solving session called Heroes and Spanners; and an exercise where learners described building defects with their eyes closed to demonstrate the need for clarity. As a result of the training, output per employee has risen from £21,000 in 2005 to over £40,000 in 2010, with average annual sick days plummeting from four a year in 2004 to less than one per annum in 2011. In addition, over three quarters of staff now have professional qualifications relevant to their roles, and staff appraisals have shown that morale is growing. "Staff, now more than ever, are valuing Ringley as an employer of choice," says Mary-Anne.