Introducing Laurence – MIH’s Head of Property Management
Updated: Feb 23
Tell us a little bit about yourself? What’s your background and experience?
Having a degree in Sports Coaching and Conditioning the natural next step was to go into Property Management of course……. Like most who joined the industry (well certainly 15-20 years ago) after finishing University I wasn’t sure what to do next. I applied for a job at a Property Management company looking for people with a University Degree back in 2002 and the rest is history.
What made you want to get back into property management and working in London?
My wife took a job working in Norwich back in 2015 (She’s a Helicopter Pilot, certainly nothing as exciting as Residential Property Management) I took the view that it was time to branch out and away from Property Management in 2017. Having risen the ranks from an Assistant to an Associate Director, achieved AIRPM, MIRPM and my AssocRICS I took up a Project Management role on the beautiful North Norfolk coast. Gone was the hustle and bustle of central London the overcrowded tube, nowhere to park and £5+ for a pint of shandy. My biggest challenge was now avoiding the odd Pheasant and the 20-minute drive to civilisation for a supermarket or petrol station.
Having only ever worked in London my whole life, after 18 months I needed to get back. My wife and three children (Aged 3, 1 and 6 weeks) are still based in Norfolk and I come to London on a Monday and head back north on a Friday. If you’ve ever been to Holkham beach, you’ll understand why I couldn’t give up living where I do.
What attracted you to MIH and made it stand out?
In simple terms everything. The business that Sarah started from scratch at MIH is exceptional and I immediately knew I needed to be a part of it. The investment, the drive and desire to offer a service that makes a difference I’ve never experienced before. The client comes first, and it was obvious MIH wasn’t just ‘another managing agent’
As head of property what exciting developments do you see happening for MIH in 2020?
MIH is going from strength to strength, we’ve invested hugely in recruiting like-minded members of staff (the interview process is like no other and we need to make sure we get the right person in). The service we provide is becoming clear and through word of mouth we are making a name for ourselves in all the right ways.
What changes are you looking to implement?
I’ve been very lucky since I started, on my first day Sarah effectively gave me a blank canvas to work with and asked me to look at what was working well and wasn’t. Having a well settled happy group of staff is something I’ve always encouraged. I’ve always liked Richard Branson’s quote
“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to”
This for me is exactly what we were about here at MIH. Making sure staff feel loved and have the support and training they need whilst feeling they can achieve their own personal goals right here.
How do you work with Sarah?
I’m not a religious person, but God only knows. . . .
The saying Marmite was I’m sure invented for Sarah. She’s exactly that, she gets things done and I can genuinely say I’ve never come across someone who has so much drive, ambition and passion not only to succeed but to do it the right way.
Sarah and I are very different people, but I think that’s why we are so effective together. We will openly disagree with each other in a meeting or new business pitches but fundamentally it always comes back to the fact that we both have the same desire to provide a service that really makes a difference.
Clients have called us the ‘Ying and Yang’ and that’s probably about right. We aren’t just another Property Management Company; we strive to stand out and show we really care and that comes from the top. Clients see that and I’m pleased to say buy into what MIH is all about. Sarah knew what she was getting from me (She never even read my CV when I applied for this role, but she’d spoken to roughly half the industry so knew what she’d be getting when she employed me).
What’s the biggest challenges that you think MIH face?
It’s undeniable we’ve grown since Sarah started with a handful of units and one building just over three years ago. The key to MIH continuing in the way we do is the people, the systems and the processes we put in place. The last thing we wanted to do was grow and not be able to offer the service we promise we can. Recruitment and staff retention have been key and will continue to be as with any successful organisation.
Where do you see yourself and MIH in the next decade?
I’ve never been one to jump around and as I enter my 18th year of what I call real employment, MIH is only my fourth job. (carrying out the 143 days of auditing the 128,679 computers and monitors at Microsoft’s HQ in 2001 I didn’t class as a job; it was much more of a prison sentence than a way to earn £6 or £7 an hour).
Having started in Property Management, then moved across to Project Management and now back to Property Management I’m probably now in this industry till the end of time.
This is definitely not a negative though, I’m still learning as we all are in everything we do. Being comfortable in the knowledge that you know what ‘you’re talking about’ and can demonstrate this to both staff and clients is rewarding.
I really do see myself as a key part of spreading the word about what it is that MIH do, word of mouth continues to be our best tool and I’m excited by the prospect of demonstrating this in person to potential clients.
The management of the team is something I enjoy and take great pride in, I remember myself when I first started out in Property Management how vital having a good mentor was (I won’t mention his name but he who has always been follicly challenged provided me with the advice and guidance someone starting out so needs).
One of my priorities has always been to make time for others, when staff can be in the knowledge that they have people around them who they can turn to for support, advice and the odd “Laurence pleeeeease can I leave at 4pm today and I’ll be in early tomorrow” it makes for an environment where people can strive and want to do a good job.
For me MIH will continue to go from strength to strength, the investment and time that has been put in place to make us stand out from the crowd will allow this to happen.
I’m thrilled to be a part of the ‘MIH Team’ (I can’t emphasise how much of a team we really are).
In terms of the service we provide and where this company will go the sky is the limit.
Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that. . . . !!!!!!!!!!!!!!