Hard work, education and a dependable support network are just some of the factors which have enabled Michelle Motion to become financial director at Springfield Properties.
June 1991 – May 2001 – Morrison Construction Group
I spent ten years with Morrison Construction starting as an Assistant Accountant and finishing as a Finance Manager.
May 2001 – November 2013 – Gladedale (Now Avant Homes)
I joined in 2001 as a Financial Controller leaving 12 years later as a Divisional Finance Director.
November 2013 – Present – Springfield Properties PLC
The next step in my career brought me to Springfield Properties, where I was appointed as Finance Director in 2013. Today, I am one of just five female executive Directors of a listed company in Scotland.
Projects completed in the past
The past five years at Springfield have been some of the best of my career, and I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to lead on some incredibly exciting projects.
In May 2017, we achieved record turnover of £110m – a phenomenal accomplishment for the business. This was followed by the construction start and sales launch of a 3,000 home village in Perth. Bertha Park just off the Inveralmond Roundabout, will be complete with all the facilities a community needs to thrive, including private and affordable homes, commercial units, health care facilities and schools.
Both these projects took place in the weeks leading up to listing Springfield on the London Stock Exchange with the Alternative Investment Market (AIM.) After sharing the Springfield story with investors in London and Edinburgh, a whirlwind of numbers, late night emails and lots of caffeine, the hard work paid off, and on 16 October, Springfield made its initial public offering on AIM, with the placement of 23.5 million shares.
Visiting the stock exchange was certainly a tick off the bucket list. I had my family by my side with Springfield’s name in lights alongside a countdown to the market opening – it was a real celebration for such a significant accomplishment.
A main focus for the business will be to progress our Village developments, which include Bertha Park (Perth) Durieshill (Stirling) Elgin South and Dykes of Gray (Dundee) where sales are already ahead of target. Comprising both affordable and private housing, these villages will become home to thousands of people across Scotland in the coming years.
The first annual results as a listed company is going to be another key milestone for us as a business, and on a smaller scale, I’ll be looking to grow and develop my own team. I am currently directly responsible for 16 employees in accounts and four in IT and as the company grows there will be a need to expand both departments.
How have your employers helped your career?
Throughout my career I have been fortunate to work with people I respect and could learn from. Sandy Adam, chairman of Springfield, is an incredible entrepreneur, who has created an environment staff not only enjoy working in but can successfully develop their careers.
There are lots of opportunities for people to progress and Springfield invests heavily in training programmes. Encouraging the development of staff and mentoring them from entry level onwards is central to the company’s strategy.
Of the 500+ Springfield employees, 95 are apprentices with an additional 17 in further education.
Having an MBA has been fundamental to my move up the career ladder, and it’s great to see Springfield supporting the future of the business by giving staff the same opportunities.
What barriers have you faced?
In order to succeed, you need to strive to be the best, and this often involves setting the time aside for hard work and continuing in education.
This, as a woman, can be harder to do alongside taking time to start a family, but in many ways I attribute a lot of my success to them. I have two fantastic children and I’m married to the most understanding man. My family are my rock and they are the biggest support network – that’s why it meant so much having them celebrate the achievement of the float with me at the London Stock Exchange in October.
Rising to the top
In my later years at school I wanted to be an accountant and I was lucky enough to find a profession I love within an industry that excited me.
Through determination, hard work and the support of my colleagues, I am now a PLC Finance Director of a publicly listed company, at possibly one of the most exciting stages in the history of the business.
My advice to any young person is to find a career that you enjoy and don’t let anything hold you back – including yourself.
Catch up with the rest of Scottish Construction Now’s International Women’s Day feature here.