"Never be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and tackle things head on": Kharla Mullen, Countrywide

We spoke to Kharla Mullen, chief operating officer at Countrywide, about her advice for women starting a role in the industry, how technology is continuing to improve the property industry, and Countrywide's plans for the rest of 2024.


Related topics:  In The Spotlight,  Mortgages
Rozi Jones | Editor, Barcadia Media Limited
15th March 2024
Kharla Mullen, Countrywide
"Overall, it promises to be an exciting year of growth, innovation, and opportunity for our business"

FR: You were appointed around this time two years ago - can you explain your role and how it has changed since you were appointed?

As chief operating officer (COO), I am typically responsible for overseeing daily operations, ensuring efficiency, and implementing strategies to achieve the company's goals. Changes in the role over two years have involved adapting to industry trends, implementing modern technologies and addressing evolving organisational needs. A particular focus has been the growth of our survey business for consumers. You enter no day as planned and every day brings different opportunities and challenges. We strive first to be the best and then to be the first.

FR: The Countrywide Surveying Services board has a strong female contingent, how do you feel this helps how you all work together and make decisions, plus what example does this provide to your women starting a role in the industry?

We are fortunate to have a mix of strong leaders within our business with a diverse background. Having a strong female contingent in the Countrywide Surveying Services Board brings diverse perspectives and ideas to decision-making, fostering a more inclusive work environment. This sets a positive example for women entering the industry, demonstrating that their contributions are valued and that they can thrive in leadership roles.

FR: You recently appointed CoreLogic and adopted their mobile application and workflow management software, so how did this huge IT project and change go and what improvements have you already seen?

Implementing CoreLogic's mobile application and workflow management software has aimed to streamline and simplify our processes, enhance efficiency, and improve overall productivity. Success is measured through metrics like faster task completion, reduced errors, or increased collaboration. We are in the initial stages from go-live, but the specific details on improvements are starting to become apparent and we will continue to review performance metrics and gather feedback from our users post-implementation. This was our biggest wholesale change that business has had for a number of years and so thanks to a marvellous team, we have delivered the project above expectations.

FR: You’ve worked within the Countrywide/Connells group for quite a few years and so how does being part of such a diverse group of businesses benefit those seeking a career in property and what advice would you give to anyone starting out?

Being part of a diverse group like Countrywide/Connells can provide people seeking careers in property with exposure to various aspects of the industry. This diversity allows for a broad range of experiences, skills, and opportunities. My advice for anyone starting out would be to embrace this diversity, actively seek to learn from different areas within the group, and network with professionals across various specialties. This can help build a well-rounded skill set and understanding of the dynamic property sector. Never be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and tackle things head on.

FR: It feels that 2024 will be another pivotal year for the business, what can we expect to see from the business for the rest of 2024?

You can expect our business to continue prioritising our core values, leveraging our renewed agreement with Santander UK and other clients to further strengthen our relationships. Building on our recognition as the best surveyor in the equity release awards, we'll strive for even higher standards of excellence and innovation in the delivery of our services. We will continue to focus on fostering our ever important strategic partnerships, our survey offering, investing in technology and talent, and exploring new avenues for growth and impact in the industry. Supporting our clients and the communities we work in with their ESG landscape will be critical throughout the years to come. Overall, it promises to be an exciting year of growth, innovation, and opportunity for our business and one that I am thrilled to be part of and honoured to work with such a talented team.

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