International Women’s Day

8th March 2022

Today, on the 8th March 2022, Bell Cornwell is a team of 20 people, 10 of whom are women. So, in honour of International Women’s Day, we asked two of our equity Partners, Rebekah Jubb and Diane Hughes, about their experience working in the development industry, the importance of women in leadership roles and their journeys to success…

Rebekah was the first female planner to make Partner and the youngest to reach the position here at Bell Cornwell. She is currently responsible for our Buckinghamshire office, leading our team of Chartered Town Planners, progressing strategic projects across the company, as well as managing her own client work of planning projects.

Diane is our only Partner who is not a planner and brings with her a wealth of business management, HR and accountancy experience. Diane leads the overarching business strategy and heads up the business support team and functionality across all five of our offices. She is currently responsible for finance, HR, marketing, administration and IT across the business.

This year’s International Women’s Day message is #BreakTheBias – what does this mean to you both?

We should treat everyone as equal, recognising that everyone has something to contribute and a role to play.

Society benefits from diversity and this should be celebrated. There is no space for bias.

Have you faced any barriers as a woman working in the development industry?

There is no denying that parts of the development and construction industry are still very male dominated. It is still not unusual for our planners to be the only women in a large meeting of clients and other consultants. Despite this, they do not feel it holds them back.

Planning plays such an important role in the way that we live our lives and helps to build a better future. Let’s get more women at these meetings!

Why is female leadership important and how do you think it benefits Bell Cornwell?

Women have a lot to offer in leadership roles. Our differences provide a real balance to our partnership team and ensures a mix of skills, experience and approaches. A strong shared purpose and values gives us a real strength to get things done and move the business forward in the best way. We believe this rubs off on the staff and creates a positive working environment and team ethos.

What are you most proud of?

We are both proud to be part of a company that creates an environment for people to thrive. We allow everyone to take ownership of their work, build their own network and develop their skills under the umbrella of the Bell Cornwell brand. By working as one team across the business we can all benefit from the experience and support within.

Do you have any advice for young women starting out their careers?

  1. Be yourself.
  2. Decide what you want and identify the opportunities to achieve it.
  3. Don’t expect opportunities to find you. Sometimes you have to create them for yourself.
  4. Be brave in your decisions and don’t let anyone hold you back.
  5. Work hard, be confident and it will pay off.

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