WISH Events

WISH East: Women In Construction

Friday 6th October 2023

12:00pm - 1:00pm

 Online Event

WISH East: Women In Construction

WISH East: Women In Construction

Date: Friday 6th October 2023

Time: 12-1pm

Venue: This is an Online Event on Zoom.

This will be an online panel discussion with leading professionals from the local authority, housing association and private sectors to discuss the challenges and opportunities for women in construction.  Our panel will share their experiences of being a woman in the construction industry, and offer their insights, thoughts and advice to our audience.  There will be time for Q&As.



Estelle Corner, Partner, Howes Percival LLP (chair)

Estelle is a specialist social housing solicitor who advises on all aspects of affordable housing acquisition, development and disposal.  She has gained broad experience in commercial property over 20 years of legal practice, acting for institutional landlords, real estate funds, public bodies and national retailers before specialising in social housing.  Estelle heads up the Social Housing Team at Howes Percival LLP and is a WISH East Board Member.


Suzanna Wood, Regeneration Programme Manager, Harlow Council

Suzanna has spent the last 20 years working in the housing sector in a variety of roles. Her experience has been gained mostly in Local Authorities across Essex and East London managing teams of staff across a wide range of areas. This has included strategic housing, affordable housing development, planning policy, housing policy, homelessness, provision of specialist supported housing and finding innovative solutions to meet housing need.

Suzanna now works at Harlow Council in the Regeneration team delivering major town centre regeneration funded by DLUHC Levelling Up and Towns Funds.

She is a WISH East Board Member and Chair of CIH Eastern region.


Sasha Bainbridge, Regional Partnerships Director, Lovell

Sasha Bainbridge is the Partnerships Director for Lovell Partnerships in East Anglia.  She is responsible for building and maintaining relationships with clients and consultants across the region, helping to establish the long-term partnerships that form the heart of our business and inform the region’s strategic direction.

Having worked in business development since 2002, she specialises in working with Local Authorities and Housing Associations to determine the correct partnership arrangement to meet their needs.


Hannah Beeslee, Senior Development Officer, Saffron Housing Trust

Hannah completed Sixth Form in 2013 and got a place at Lincoln University on their Nursing course. But there was a voice in the back of her head telling her it wasn’t the right career path, so she listened and declined the offer. Ten years later and she is loving a career in an industry that she never expected to fall into and very different from the nurse she thought she might be. She secured a job as an Apprentice Admin Assistant at Saffron Housing Trust in their Development Team and on completion of the apprenticeship, became a full-time Admin Assistant. This job gave her the knowledge and experience for when a job became available as a Development Officer within the team. This allowed her to start managing projects of her own, mainly Section 106 developments or small land-led sites. In September 2019 Hannah enrolled on a 3 year HND in Construction and The Built Environment course specialising in Construction Management which she was lucky enough to have funded by her employer Saffron Housing Trust. On successful completion of the course, qualifying with a Distinction, Hannah was promoted this year to a Senior Development Officer. The experience gained in her role and the knowledge from the course has allowed her to take on more responsibility, project managing larger land-led developments. This includes completing her first Extra Care development last year and project-managing Saffron’s largest development to date of 90 affordable homes which is currently on site.  She is now preparing for the start of the next largest site of 151 affordable homes with a 91 apartment Extra Care scheme. She has never looked back on the decision to decline that university offer and feels grateful to be in a role and industry that is exciting and ever-changing.


Julie Abbey-Taylor, Head of Investment and Delivery at Dacorum Council

Julie has worked in housing for over 35 years, which has been split between working for Local Authorities (6 in all), a national disability charity, housing association and a For Profit housing provider. The first half of her career was involved in delivering and managing front line services including Homelessness, Allocations, Supported Housing and General Needs housing. Over the past 15 years Julie moved into Strategic housing, delivery and development which is where she is most happy and fulfilled. In 2014 she set up the development function for 2 councils in Suffolk after a 30 year gap in housebuilding – this was a steep learning curve! She is now Head of Investment and Delivery for Dacorum Borough Council where there is a programme of 300 new homes for Social rent. She is regularly out on site inspecting scheme progress and whilst she sees an increasing number of women working in the construction industry, they are still in a minority so still work to do to promote the industry.

Tickets for this event coming soon.

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