Christina Williamson, MIRPM, AssocRICS
Published on 11th September 2017

The face of property management 
Christina Williamson, MIRPM, AssocRICS

As Chief Operating Officer of Gateway Property Management, Christina Williamson brings over two decades’ experience in leasehold management to our clients and customers. Her interest in property began when working for the University of East London, sourcing student accommodation. Christina takes time out from her busy schedule to answer some questions about herself and the company.

What was your background before joining Gateway?

I’ve been in leasehold management for some 22 years, starting from the bottom and working my way through. In my early career, I worked in London, first as a trainee in Japanese equities and, subsequently, as a legal PA for prestigious, global law firms.

When did you join Gateway? What roles have you held?

I joined Gateway in 2014, initially as a Team Leader. I moved on to become Head of Customer Services, then Director of Property Management and now I’m the Chief Operating Officer.

How has Gateway evolved in that time?

I’ve been very lucky to be part of the evolution of Gateway and involved with many transitional changes. The main developments have been a rigorous focus on customer service and service delivery. Everyone at Gateway is on board 100%. This focus has contributed hugely to sustaining and expanding our client base.

What are your key responsibilities?

Managing staff is a main role, including mentoring and training, as well as looking after client and customer relations. My primary objective is to ensure that Gateway delivers a service that’s second to none. I’m very hands-on and will randomly visit sites, meeting with residents to see what they think of our service; their comments and feedback are so important. It’s a challenging role, but the most rewarding position I’ve held.

Who do you work with?

I report to the Chief Executive and oversee all of our Property Managers, Associate Directors and the support staff around these people. There are three main teams and I can only say really positive things about them. I get the absolute best out of team members and, hopefully, they get the best from me. It is team work all-round, day in and day out.

What makes Gateway different?

At Gateway, we listen, we care and we pull out all stops to work through any issue that may arise. We also acknowledge that we don’t always get it right, but we work towards ensuring that we do. Clients value our honesty, clarity and transparency. Everyone is looking for exceptional service and value for money. I firmly believe we deliver here.

What have been your work highlights?

Being successful in developing and delivering industry-leading customer service is a real highlight. I’ve also enjoyed watching and learning from the changes that we’ve made, as there’s always room for improvement. Seeing certain individuals flourish into confident, knowledgeable professionals and progress into other roles within the company is another career high point. I’ve been fortunate enough to see this a number of times at Gateway.

What’s the greatest thing you’ve learned while at Gateway?

That having a diversity of people in a company makes a positive difference. I’ve never seen such commitment and team spirit from anywhere I’ve previously worked. Gateway people work together and get along together. We all help each other with continuous support.

What’s your outlook for the sector?

I see increasing rights and choices for those who purchase or rent an apartment, which is a positive thing. Property management companies will need to be prepared to work harder to meet these developments.

What are the main industry challenges ahead?

The Right To Manage (RTM) process has proved a real success for many leaseholders, with an experienced property management company like Gateway behind them that truly understands director relationships. We’re also seeing a change in property development, as more sites become purely rental only. This may change the way people think about their short- and long-term living arrangements. Such developments would appear attractive for those wanting to get on the property ladder or requiring a home for a long-term rental period in a city, such as London, where it’s difficult to own a place.

And opportunities?

There are always opportunities if a business is ahead of their game. Many companies are equipping themselves for enquiries to manage private rental schemes.

How important is it to continually evolve the company’s offering?

It’s critical to success as a forward-looking business. Investment and training is particularly important at Gateway, ensuring that our people are equipped with industry knowledge and have the right qualities to adapt to different situations. We’re also bringing in young talent through a new government-backed apprenticeship scheme. This will be overseen by staff who have worked in the industry for many years.

What next?

We’re continuing to grow as a business, which I attribute to excellent customer service and a level of complaints which is extremely low in the industry. This is good news not just for our employees who have put in so much hard work, but for new people joining our successful, supportive and fun company.

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