Associate Director - Project Management
Joining us via our 2010 graduate programme, Ellie Ashman is a true Mace success story - rising through the ranks and delivering service excellence in each and every project she’s been involved in. Now with a wealth of experience in the education and residential sectors, Ellie also helps to support our ambitious next generation of colleagues, offering mentorship and guidance as an RICS supervisor and counsellor.
- How did you get into what you do?
My dad actually worked in the construction industry and I always enjoyed listening to his stories about what he’d been doing, what he’d accomplished and how varied and different each day was for him. That inspired me to try it for myself as it sounded so interesting.
After some work experience in various sectors within the industry (architecture, site management, surveying) it led me to study Construction Management and Quantity Surveying at the University of Reading. During that time, I also did placements with a main contractor, before deciding to come over to consultancy when I joined the Mace graduate programme in 2010.
- What do you enjoy most about your current role at Mace?
- My job is quite varied as I work on the free schools programme, as well as working with a client that specialises in mixed use development. It’s great to have that mix of education and residential work in my day-to-day. At my level, I have a team that delivers the projects now and I really enjoy supporting them in doing that. I find it really rewarding to guide my team in their careers and help them achieve their goals.
- How do you redefine the boundaries of ambition?
- In my day-to-day, I’m focused on redefining the boundaries of ambition by delivering service excellence on my projects. But another key area is through my role as a supervisor and counsellor with the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, which I’ve been involved with since becoming chartered myself back in 2015. This position allows me to support candidates at Mace wanting to take the next step in their careers and become professionally recognised with the RICS. It’s a really rewarding role and lets me to share my knowledge and experience with my colleagues by reviewing their submissions and preparing candidates for their interviews.
- What has been your proudest achievement at Mace so far?
- As well as my work mentoring others, achieving chartered status has been a major highlight for me. The chartership process took me around six months of dedicated work - covering a written submission and thorough interview process - so it felt like a real accomplishment once I achieved chartered status. Mace takes professional development very seriously and there’s always support readily available to those looking to progress.
- Why Mace?
- My initial draw was the graduate programme, as it’s really well regarded within the industry. But like I said, the focus on continued professional development has been really refreshing throughout my time at Mace. I have also taken part in the Developing Success programme which helps further elevate your skills and it was this that then led me into the chartership process. So for me, it’s been a period of continuous learning and growth, working on some really exciting projects, making the most of opportunities to broaden my experience.
- What motivates you every day and what skills are most important in your role?
Doing a good job and making sure clients receive the best end-product is really important to me.
I’d say that communication and people skills are the most important in the role of a PM. You have to be able to deal with a multitude of people and balance varying demands from stakeholders and project teams.
- What advice would you give to someone looking to get into what you do?
- Getting exposure to the industry early on is really important, I would recommend getting work experience and taking on a placement if you can as there’s such a wide variety of paths to explore within the industry, and I think most people benefit by exploring what they’re interested in as early as possible.
- What other benefits have you found from becoming a RICS Supervisor and Counsellor?
- Predominantly it’s the rewarding element of helping other people, but I’ve also found that it’s helpful on a personal level. It counts towards my CPD but also helps with staying abreast of news and legislation that’s broader than the areas I work in on a daily basis. For example, I interview people with different specialisms to mine and that gives me a greater understanding of other markets and what best practice looks like to them. I also undertake assessments on behalf of the RICS which supports my colleagues in achieving their own chartered status.
- What are you passionate about outside of work?
- Definitely travel. I took a year sabbatical a few years ago which gave me the chance to travel and see new things – it was a really fantastic experience.
“Mace takes professional development very seriously, and there’s always support readily available to those looking to progress.”