“At your weakest, you must be your strongest” – Abisogun OBE
It has been the most surreal start to 2020, for so many reasons, not least of which because the beginning of this new decade is currently being defined by the global pandemic – technically referred to as COVID-19 alternatively known as, CoronaVirus.
In these trying times, it absolutely necessary to take stock of what is important to each and every human being on the planet – kindness and empathy. Material wealth, riches and ‘privilege’ all have their place and have the capacity to make you happy, but when the chips are down; not even money can put somethings right. Such is the indiscriminate nature of the COVID19 disease, every single human being on the planet has been forcibly presented with a form of equality that would never have been considered possible just sixteen weeks ago. Prior to COVID-19, the push for greater equality was largely premised upon ‘a lack of opportunity’ mostly economic and intellectual, amidst the wider pursuit of freedom; of – expression, ideas, to entertain others, to travel, not to travel, to drive, not to drive, to take the train or even fly. But, for the first time in living memory ALL of those freedoms [often taken for granted] have now been taken away, from everyone – at the same time, irrespective of your age, race, gender, (cap)ability, or geographic location. It’s a game changer and we are currently witnessing a paradigm shift of the established norms.
Caring for others, less fortunate than YOU
One of well over 100 livery companies, The Worshipful Company of Chartered Surveyors (WCCS) / ‘the Company’ maintains a colourful and deep history of charitable activities, intrinsically associated with the advancement of education and helping young people achieve their potential. Nurturing the wellbeing of the profession, being of service to the local community, attending to the needs of the City of London and promoting relevant skills amidst wider professional development, encapsulates the aspiration of WCCS’ Statement of Purpose, the details of which can be found on their website.
Now associated with the University College of Estate Management ‘UCEM’ the intrinsic relationship between the Company and the Chartered Surveyors Training Trust ‘CSTT’ facilitates a growing opportunity for the Company to engage with a much wider audience. The CSTT is another charitable organisation that DCS Founder & Chairman Bola Abisogun OBE, has supported during the last 15 years – being profiled by them, together with RICS, back in 2005 – with a view to engaging with the ‘hard-to-reach’ across London’s urban inner-city core. Amongst other things, Bola is keen to impart and share the wider spectrum of opportunity to current and future members of DiverseCity Surveyors, given our growing international footprint.
At the core of WCCS, the ultimate bond is one of companionship – i.e. caring for others, mutual friendship, respect for others and humility. What better time to become a Liveryman, given that the only real comfort to many during the current COVID19 lockdown, is simply that – companionship. It is extremely humbling to be joining such an eclectic talent pool of C-Suite Surveying practitioners, drawn from across the capital of the UK.
Bola Abisogun OBE, had this to say, “As the first British-born Liveryman of black origin, to be invited to join the WCCS, I am extremely humbled and keen to ensure that the work of the Company is better understood and communicated to a wider, more diverse and non-traditional audience. Surveying is a wonderful profession and, whilst currently at a crossroads in her own journey of exploration, the myriad opportunities for the profession to create sustainable social impact, across the globe, remains unlimited and with ever increasing ‘disruptive’ potential. I am excited and equipped to serve others and want to share my passion and vision with all sectors of the global Surveying community, with a distinct focus towards those that hail from [or have been privy to] an economically challenged and/or disadvantaged background, in London”.
With unwavering support from three fantastic individuals, William Hill [Past Master], Amanda Clack PPRICS and Louise Brooke-Smith OBE PPRICS – all Chartered Surveyors themselves – the process of engagement with WCCS was heartening and extremely comforting. Other amazing Chartered Surveyors, include Ken Morgan [Senior Warden], Antonia Belcher, both supported by Amanda Jackson, WCCS Clerk – who individually and collectively have ensured that the journey, thus far, has been free from any anxiety or diary clash, culminating in a friendly face-to-face meeting held last month, at RICS HQ in Parliament Sq - ironically, just ahead of the current crisis. It was all very welcoming, and overwhelmingly reflective of the Company motto; ‘modus ab initio’ meaning ‘method from the outset’. We look forward to observing and charting the ‘formal’ next steps of Bola’s journey of admission to both the Freedom and Livery of the Company.
With the above in mind, Bola has elected to support the well documented efforts of both the Education and Marketing & Communications Committees. Like others across the Company, Bola will also support the current Almoner to the Company [and Past Master], Lady Davies; who has already expressed a keen willingness to support and progress an exciting and impactful agenda.
Will it be a return to BAU?…………[we don’t think so]
From a Surveying perspective, we are clearly observing [and for those still in gainful employment] working, in times of extreme turbulence and uncertainty for every Client, business and individual, directly or indirectly associated with those Clients and businesses, across the globe. This is the time for the profession to embrace the paradigm-shift that is in train alongside the innovative, technology-led pressures that continue to co-exist. The entire leadership of the Surveying profession has now been presented with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity [or challenge] that will continue to increase exponentially over time, a direct result of the current pandemic. It is also clear to us at DCS, that the WCCS is suitably prepared to collaborate with other organisations across the built environment and meet to address the over-arching challenge(s), head-on. Along with the requisite thought leadership and diversity of thought, it is likely that any positive outcome(s) will be designed to ensure that the charitable activities, of Chartered Surveyors in particular, continue to translate into opportunities for all – who seek to exploit their true and individual potential.
The next generation of Surveying talent is desirous of ‘nothing more than a tangible opportunity’, predicated on correct information, inspirational guidance in support of their careers, which ideally, should be practiced in culturally competent working environments – potentially, delivered in real-time. Along with our Founder, the current Board Members of DiverseCity Surveyors are keen to reshape and update our ‘raison-detre’ noting that innovation, empathy and humility must remain at the core of all that we do. As a forward thinking organisation, and although slightly premature, we remain excited about future announcements that will support and underpin our mission statement.
As we begin to observe and navigate the #NextNormal, [big thanks to David Emuan!] one simply has to admit that these are clearly interesting times, with a return to BAU [business as usual] increasingly unlikely. And as we continue to look out for and engage ‘virtually’ with one another, in search of those mission-critical solutions, designed to disrupt the established norms and benefit both society and our Clients, we must spare a thought for those that have already lost loved ones to this destructive disease. In the between time, please choose to support the indomitable strength and unwavering effort of our NHS staff et al, and in doing so, protect the lives of everyone, including our loved ones........ take great care.