Alice Williams | Pilot Fish
Alice Williams only entered the bridging sector in 2017 when she joined Pilot Fish as a property finance consultant – having been an entry-level intern at Handelsbanken just the year before – and now the economics graduate is director at the broking firm. Her activity in the last year alone points to why and how she has progressed so far so fast; in the last 12 months she has completed her CeMAP qualification as well as all of the modules for her MSc in Real Estate Finance and Investment. She is also on track to achieve her Chartered Surveyor status later this year.
But it would be incorrect to dismiss Williams as only booksmart. Becoming director in June 2020, if you’ll forgive the mixed metaphor bingo, plunged her into a baptism of fire where it was sink or swim. Back then no one had any idea how long we’d be in the depths of lockdowns. Williams quickly realised the property community couldn’t and shouldn’t be left in stasis. When her team could no longer attend regular mentoring events in person, she sought an alternative way to arm property investors and developers with knowledge on how to fund their projects. The Pilot Fish Academy was launched in June 2020. It offers the first completely free of charge online finance training academy. After a successful launch the Academy continues to attract subscriptions from both new and seasoned developers.
For internal progression, and to ensure her team are all striving for the same vision, Williams also heads up monthly strategy sessions, followed by a team social. Last year, when that was tricky in the usual office-based way for obvious reasons, she sought out ways to use the time to contribute positively to the health and wellness of her colleagues. To continue with in person meetings, Williams introduced walking team meetings, with a view to keeping the team fit, getting a bit of vital vitamin D from the sunshine, and helping to improve team morale and communication during a tough year. Investment in her team has translated into a strength that has increased sales, and numerous accolades, notably winner of Peterborough’s Emerging Leader award.
Unbelievably there is more. While many of us, without reproach, spent last year just trying to get by, Williams was building. She helped deliver the online Property Conference, the first of its kind, in May 2020. Such was the response from leading figures in the property industry that the originally planned 12-hour conference was extended to 36 hours to accommodate all that wanted to take part. The conference went on to raise £18,000 for NHS Charities Together.
Going down this impressive list of achievements you may be forgiven for thinking Williams exists in a state of near-constant self-confidence. How else could she trip into a field with virtually no prior experience and not only survive but thrive, delivering both results and innovations? The answer, as with so many adventurers, is not that she wasn’t scared, but that she did it anyway: “Entering a hugely male dominated industry, as a young female, was at times intimidating,” she admits, “my role regularly involves presenting to audiences of 100 plus people, and it took time and a lot of hard work to prove my capabilities in the sector and to gain the trust and respect of audiences and peers”. Clearly, she has done just that.