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The commitment of Broll Property Group to employee empowerment is evident in Surine Griffin’s remarkable tenure with the company. By asserting her value in what was once a male-dominated sector, she now holds the position of Chief Operations Officer of the company’s Property Management division.
In a time characterised by progress and empowerment, stories of trailblazing female professionals shattering the proverbial glass ceiling continue to inspire individuals and change the status quo of industries.
Surine Griffin’s 15-year journey to her current position as Chief Operations Officer at Broll Property Management, a division of Broll Property Group, bears testament to this ongoing transformation.
Surine’s story echoes the broader narrative of women carving out spaces for themselves in industries where they were historically underrepresented. Her ascent to this prominent senior position is not just a personal triumph, but an illustration that through hard work and perseverance, coupled with a passion for innovation and a willingness to learn and develop the required skills, women can reach unprecedented heights in the workplace.
From humble beginnings
Growing up in Klerksdorp in the North West province, Surine attributes her business intellect to her mother, who worked hard for her entire career, while juggling the demands of family life. Her knack for all things numerical saw her successfully obtaining a BCom Financial Accounting degree with Honours from North-West University while concurrently working as a financial assistant at the North-West Cricket Union.
When an accounting position opened at Broll Property Group 15 years ago, Surine’s eagerness for the challenge was met with doubts about whether she had made the right decision as she had limited knowledge about the industry.
Though a career in retail property management wasn’t on her radar during her university studies, Surine reflects that once she embraced the role, her fascination for the industry quickly grew.
“Looking back, I can’t envision myself in any other industry,” she says. “No two days are the same, and each brings its own challenges and experiences. And while that may seem daunting for some, once a building has been completed, there is no greater feeling in knowing that you’ve had a hand in contributing to the daily lives of thousands of people.”
Mentors can help map the road to success
First employed in the Fountainhead portfolio of the company, Surine’s journey to COO wasn’t an overnight sensation, but rather the result of years of dedication, a steadfast commitment to overcoming boundaries and heeding the advice and guidance of mentors.
Throughout her tenure, Surine has been fortunate to benefit from the guidance of several mentors, including her previous director, Donovan Agar, as well as the current Group CEO of Broll Property Group, Malcolm Horne, both of whom she credits with offering her outstanding support.
Surine also acknowledges the impact that Elscke Badenhorst, CFO at Broll Property Group, has had on her professional life, providing her with the support and advice that has seen her climb the ranks in the company.
“While I’ve gained valuable insights from my male mentors, I believe that female mentors are indispensable for women in the workplace as they can help steer you through emotionally charged situations,” she says.
The challenges aren’t gender specific
Despite the increasing number of women in senior leadership roles in the industry, Surine notes that both men and women face comparable challenges.
“These days, promotions are based on an individual’s ability to perform at the highest level, regardless of their gender. It’s about what you can bring to the corporate table. You need to be able to inspire and develop employees, communicate well, guide change for your company and its clients, and, most importantly, be brave enough to always do the right thing that will benefit all parties involved.
“The culture of the Broll Property Group is one of support and inspiration, and the company has always supported the growth of all employees and strives to provide everyone with the opportunities to thrive,” adds Surine.
Balance isn’t something you find, but something you create
As in all areas of life, balance is key, and the retail property sector is no different.
“The retail property sector today is very different from days past and enjoys an equal balance of men and women. Both genders bring different attributes to the table - from risk-taking and conflict resolution to empathy and adaptability. And while these are not gender specific, I believe that equal representation is key to the success of any business,” she explains.
She emphasises that her greatest challenge is balancing her professional and personal life, stating that while it's important to focus on delivering excellence in the workplace and devoting time to colleagues, it's equally important to switch off after the workday has ended and cherish family time.
Women bring value to the retail property sector
Surine believes that women often have to wear two hats - one as the daytime professional, and the other as the homemaker. The latter, she says, equips women in the retail property sector with valuable insights into what shoppers want.
“I also regard women as exceptional multitaskers, and this is a strength that is required in the current retail environment owing to the different aspects involved in the industry,” she adds.
This has led to immense growth opportunities for women in the sector, even in technical positions that were previously filled by men. Surine adds that the majority of general managers within the company’s retail property portfolio, as well as its executive committee, are women.
There are no limitations to what women can achieve
“Women can achieve anything that they set their minds to if they have the right attitude and aptitude. For those starting their careers, it’s important to master the position they're in before trying to leap the corporate ladder.
“It is always quiet along the extra mile, and it's important to always give your all in everything that you do. There’s huge reward at the end for those who remain steadfast and committed,” she concludes.