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DCS_AGM 2019 – heralded a phenomenal success…!!

With a clear objective to galvanise those operating within the surveying profession (and others from across the built environment) typically, from a non-traditional - or BAME - background, the DCS_AGM held on 21/11/19 at RICS HQ, in Parliament Square was a resounding success.

The collective effort of all DCS Board & Committee members [listed below], translated into a game-changing event that went some way to demonstrate the extent to which the current and emerging talent pool, seamlessly cuts across an array of protected characteristics, including but not restricted to, age, (dis)ability, gender, race and religion; all premised upon their technical competence – thus demonstrating that the surveying profession is indeed a diverse, cultural melting pot of many origins and capabilities.

DCS Board Members:

  • Bola Abisogun OBE FRICS; Founder / Chair

  • Justin Carty MRICS; Vice-Chair

  • Karen Ching MRICS; Head of Personal Development

  • Samuel May MRICS; Head of UK & Global Strategy

  • Faith Locken MRICS; Head of Strategic Planning & Growth

  • Alexander Smith MRICS; Head of Corporate Hospitality

  • Arnold Musisi MRICS; Head of Member Engagement - Training

  • Audrey Vanderpuye MRICS; Head of Member Engagement - Events

Committee Members:

  • Sunny Obasuyi; External Engagement Manager

  • Nana Gdadyu; Internal Engagement Manager

  • Luke Halls; Internal / External Strategy Manager

  • So Sum Lee; Internal Engagement / External Strategy Manager

  • Georgina Walker; Data and Social Media Manager /

  • Joel Ampah, External Engagement Manager

Mission Statement:

Our raison d’etre – is to promote visibility of the BAME talent pool [in Surveying] for consideration and economic participation in the investment, planning, development, management, decommissioning and recycling of built assets, across the globe.

We are also confident that DCS is not only a welcome component to the historic challenge of ‘Supplier Diversity’ in the UK, providing access to a network of independent consultants and businesses, but will also be referred to as ‘a credible constituent’ when Clients and project owners – across the globe – are looking to assemble their teams of professional advisors, who are all trained and qualified RICS professionals.

Following the initial networking session, there was a short introduction by Alexander Smith [Events Manager], DCS Founder and Chair, Bola Abisogun OBE delivered a personal, but rousing introduction, designed to introduce the context of the panel discussion, hosted by Faith Locken.

Faith pitched a short ‘problem statement’ to the audience which was followed by the introduction and invitation of each of the panel members, listed below..

  • Nero Ughwujabo, former Special Adviser to Prime Minister Theresa May

  • Alexander Smith MRICS, DCS Board Member _ Assistant Director, Real Estate – Deloitte LLP

  • Natalie Carter, Associate, Commercial Real Estate, Greenberg Traurig

With standing room only, a lively and informed discussion took place with several thought-provoking questions posed by the audience, in response to the topics that were broached by the panel. All in all, there was insufficient time to accommodate all questions but the attendees left with renewed vigour and an urge to continue to conversation at their respective places of work. One attendee Micheal Mushota, was so inspired he decided to openly share the summary of his positive experience, on LinkedIn, seen here

As DCS progresses towards incorporating into to a fully-fledged trading entity offering, at its core, a portfolio of ‘pro-bono’ services to students and aspiring #NextGen practitioners, we recognise the immediate need to raise the current industry offer to our clients, including the education [i.e. primary, secondary, FE and HE], voluntary and third sectors, all of whom are clearly desirous of RICS led information and guidance to support and sustain the growth of their BAME cohorts both nationally and across the globe.

With 'qualified' BAME membership at RICS, currently less than 1.5%, we believe that there exists exceptional growth potential for BAME participation in a number of geographic locations, with North America [incl Canada], South America, followed by Asia and Africa being the principal areas of emerging and growing interest. On average, 30% of enquiries received by DCS are from overseas candidates / students.

Given the well-defined growth potential, we would also like to thank those that have positively assisted us over the last 15yrs in sustaining the 'business case' behind the DCS network and platform, which has largely been built around the conversation of ‘life as a BAME built environment professional, in the UK'. In recognition of the commendable effort by RICS, we’ll start with "a dedicated champion of change" in the form of Sean Tompkins, CEO of RICS, followed by Matthew Howell, MD, for U.K. and Ireland and then, of course, a good friend and ally in the form of Belinda King, PA to the Senior Management Team. Further acknowledgement is bestowed upon by Lucile Kamar (who has since moved on from RICS and) succeeded by the wonderful Barry Cullen and his number two, Dorota Franzke Poleschtschuk. Then there is an army of RICS 'Senior' support staff, including Abi-Palmer Greenwood, Fiona Fowell, Deborah Knibbs, Susan Mason and the RICS / ROUX Catering Team. Regarding intermittent, outward facing technical participation from BAME surveyors, there are a number of editors and journalists led by Steph Fairburn and Oliver Parsons. We are truly grateful to all of them, not forgetting Neil Shah, MD for RICS Americas and his team, who are all based in New York, USA…… we missed you Neil...!!

And finally, we’d like to thank the dream team at Surveyorhood – Joanna Farnsworth MRICS, Natasha Stone MRICS and Sara Cameron MRICS; aka ‘The 3 Degrees’. Sara is also an esteemed Member of RICS Governing Council, and we were particularly grateful of her open participation and support given the extent of her travel, required, to be present on the day. So many great people that have made a tangible contribution over the years – in fact, far too many to mention, but all are duly noted for their unfailing contribution; thank you RICS.

So, please support our work as we are here to support you, our clients and members. Do sign up to our newsletter via the website [use the link below], join the DiverseCity Surveyors group on LinkedIn [here] follow us on Twitter [here] and Instagram [here].

And, as we 'return to the office', we look forward to further creating and sustaining the positive impact that we know we can and have been appropriately equipped to deliver, on behalf of others, that simply wish to become part of and excel within this wonderful profession, called Surveying.

Roll on 2020……….

Photography & Copyright: Raj Gedhu (2019)

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