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A Q&A with Debbie Williams, Part Exchange and Sales Contracts Manager

8 Mar 2022

There are many unsung heroes at Bewley Homes, working behind the scenes and playing an integral part in the process of driving the business forward.

One such employee is Part Exchange and Sales Contracts Manager, Debbie Williams, who is one of Bewley’s longest-serving employees with over 15 years at Bewley and, according to Operations Director Peter Carpinelli, provides a unique role.

Sharp as a tack, Debbie is held in high regard by colleagues and senior management alike for her larger than life, straight-talking, no-nonsense approach, which gets a very important job done well.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

It’s a celebration of how far we have come in life. The struggle women before me had to overcome has paved the way. We now have female leaders in all walks of life and the sky’s the limit. My mantra is ‘don’t say we can’t because we can’.

Describe your role…

I am the Part Exchange and Sales Contracts Manager for the company; both roles are very “unique” in the industry (so I am told) – it’s nice to know that I am unique! 

My work in the Sales Department is to secure reserved plots by getting them exchanged within the company’s deadline.  To achieve this I liaise with our external solicitors and third-party partners.  I am also involved with our external solicitors and technical team in the preparation of the legal sales pack.

As well as the above, I also manage the company’s Help to Buy processes, monthly forecasting and submission for new funding.

I see myself as the interface between our sales team and our solicitors. There are a number of highly technical land issues that come up when we are trying to get contracts exchanged during conveyancing.

My role can be very challenging in order to meet company targets every month/quarter/year-end but it is enjoyable.  There is great satisfaction seeing a customer go from reservation through to completion.

As Part-Exchange Manager I deal with the marketing (in conjunction with third-party partners) of second-hand properties negotiating, with part-exchange providers, to achieve the best price on resale.  This is a difficult role, as we are selling a property having no personal knowledge of it, but again, very rewarding when we secure a sale.

When did you join Bewley?

I joined Bewley in 2004, as Sales Contracts Manager, but due to market conditions at the time, was made redundant in 2008.  I was then approached in 2011, by the Sales Director, asking if I would return; I didn’t need to be asked twice!

How did your career start?

All of my experience has been achieved from good old fashioned hard work. When I left school the careers officer said I would struggle to find a decent job – I wonder what she’d say now?  My mother was a great inspiration and showed me a real work ethic. She came over from the Caribbean (Grenada) in the 1960s and did whatever work was necessary to provide for us.  When I first began a career in the property sector in the early 1980s, I worked as a mortgage administrator in mortgage securities. A manager there saw great potential and inspired and pushed me, in equal measures, as she knew my capabilities, thanks, Jean Fisher!

I dealt with mortgages on houses and also marine mortgages (boat finance), then I decided I wanted to work in private practice for local solicitors and my first job was as a conveyancing secretary. After a few years of on the job experience/training I took on the role of conveyancing assistant; having my own clients who were buying and/or selling.  I then progressed and worked in corporate law dealing with the sale/acquisitions of businesses.

As well as working in a private company, for approximately 10 years, or even more, I worked weekends for a local firm of estate agents to get even more experience. It was hard work but it helped me get ahead.

Do you have a mentor at work? And how has he helped?

Who said it was a ‘he’!  I wouldn’t say that I have a mentor. I work predominately unsupervised but if there is a situation where I need to make sure I am not putting the company at “risk” I would then seek advice from my line manager.  My work does require being able to work to deadlines, being methodical and diligent with good attention to detail.  I believe the Board have faith and trust that I will deliver.

 Where is Bewley going as a business and how will you play your part in its success?

The business is growing. It’s an exciting time and I would like to be a part of it for as long as possible.