Freedom, friends, and new ways of doing things; Amina tells us about her two years at Canning O’Neill

| Leanne Forshaw Jones

Amina Amri is an agency surveyor at Canning O’Neill. Following two years at the business, she’s embarking on a new adventure, taking on her Masters at Salford University.  

Now, as we seek out Amina’s replacement, she tells us about her day-to-day role at Canning O’Neill, the experience she has gained and the freedom she has been given to grow the agency’s digital presence.

It’s incredibly rewarding when I consider the amount of autonomy I’ve enjoyed at Canning O’Neill. I joined this niche, yet perfectly formed team in 2021 – immediately drawn to the great people and the property portfolio we were representing.

I’d studied as an undergraduate in Birmingham before then, reading a degree in real estate and getting increasingly excited about the prospect of a career in property. At the same time, I was a regular visitor to Manchester, seeing friends at university here, while becoming equally captivated by the new buildings and developments popping up each time I stepped off the train.

I knew Manchester was going to be the right place for my career. I believed in the city, its built environment, and the plans for its future.

A new way of doing things

Once I’d joined the Canning O’Neill team, it became very apparent that I wasn’t just a trainee; our directors James and John quickly introduced me to clients and let me work on my own growing portfolio.

Their trust gave me the confidence to introduce new ideas, especially when it came to our digital presence. There’s been a huge shift in the way we consume our media; people want bitesize videos, not old school brochures with reams of text that’s not going to get read. Based on evidence of this kind, I pitched the idea to John and James, suggesting that we invest in more video content and drone films showing behind the scenes of buildings in our portfolio, helping clients view properties from afar.

The films soon evolved and served another purpose too. Some clients were time poor at site viewings, and the films supplemented their visits. It was also good to address seasonal issues; at Towers in Didsbury for example, the building benefits from outdoor spaces and beehives, that was hard to show on winter viewings, but a film recorded in the summer helped viewers visualise what the space would be like all year round.

I was so motivated and confident in suggesting new ways of doing things. We changed the way we used social media; we introduced mailers and the very popular monthly roundup of new properties. The feedback has been great, and enquiries have come through of people seeing our content.

I also was involved in the creation of the new Canning O’Neill website, which we launched earlier in 2023. It’s early days but we’re definitely seeing more people using it and consuming the videos and news articles we publish there.

Pastures new

But as great as this role is, the time has come for me to take on a new challenge, and that’s why I’ll shortly be leaving Canning O’Neill, building on my skillset and taking on my master’s studies at Salford.

I’m sad to leave such a great, friendly bunch of people who’ve opened so many doors for me and I’d encourage anyone looking to get into property to apply. I think I’ve outlined just how much creativity and autonomy comes as part of this role, but there are other things too; the biggest draw was not being chained to my desk, constantly being out at viewings and events, and of course managing my own portfolio.

I’ve gained much great experience – from the aforementioned Towers scheme, to the forthcoming refurbishment of the DeVere Hotel in Cheadle; to be known as South it will bring a new type of workspace to the South Manchester market, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with the client on its restoration – even contributing to conversations around aesthetics and colours.

Whomever takes this opportunity forward has a lot to look forward to, and a chance to make their mark as a pioneer for doing things differently in the North West’s commercial property scene.

Find out more about the job role here.