Recent media activity by the DCS Board and its Members, has propelled us into the cross-hairs and visibility of many established industry groups, networks and influencers. Here is a summary of our recent activity during the first half of 2020.
Government Property Profession
Care of a kind introduction by a strong ally in the form of Matthew Howell, MD for UK & Ireland at RICS, our Founder and Chairman, Bola Abisogun OBE FRICS was introduced to the Government Property Function ‘GPF’ and in particular the newly appointed ED&I Champion, Lara Newman. With ex-RICS Future Talent Director, Sally Garcia in the background, an interesting and contextual conversation was conducted via an MS Teams meeting on 15 May 2020. The topic and focal point of the discussion was GPF’s ambition to better engage with its own workforce to address ED&I [and specifically within that, ethnicity] across its ‘people footprint’, recognising the strapline of DCS regarding ‘individual potential’.
An interesting conversation followed between Bola and Lara with some interesting actions that will no doubt dovetail into the wider strategic work of DCS across the global Surveying profession.
During the recent lockdown, Bola was approached by ‘Chief Dot Joiner’ Rebecca Lovelace and agreed to an informal conversation along with Terry Watts, Chief Executive Officer at the Chartered Surveyors Training Trust.
The essence of the Part 4 of the Building People ‘who’ conversations was a ‘tri-partite discussion over a virtual coffee’ which led to a thought-provoking piece, where the collective energy of the three industry leaders was an informed attempt to address the question ‘how do we change the culture in the sector...?’.
The recorded event, held on 12 June 2020, can be seen here.
New London Architecture
Separately DCS were invited to contribute to a select roundtable convened on 24 June 2020, by New London Architecture, called the Diverse Leaders Think Tank. The event was chaired by Benjamin O’Connor, Director at New London Architecture ‘NLA’.
The NLA led conversation, was wide ranging and conducted with a number of key industry groups, all of which was succinctly captured by Gabrielle Appiah / Charlotte Morphet, both of Women In Planning, and revolved around the ‘urgent need’ to revisit the New London Charter to ensure that diversity is [and remains] a key component in creating a stronger, better and more inclusive future for London[ers]. The intrinsic relationship between the efforts of NLA and the London Mayor's Good Growth by Design Guide helped to provide a meaningful reference point in which to progress the groups consensus around future actions, discussions and conferences.
Along with others, the aforementioned members stated therein, can be seen above.
Construction Excellence / Leaders Meets
An interesting opportunity arose through a mutual friend and long-term industry colleague in the form of Steve Sugden [who remained a great contact whilst our Founder and Chair Bola Abisogun OBE, was a Non-Executive Board Member at Construction Youth Trust]. Following an earlier lunch meeting at RICS HQ [which took place just prior to the COVID lockdown], Steve introduced Bola to the founder of Leaders Meets, who in turn facilitated a unique opportunity to extend the wider conversation and mission statement of DiverseCity Surveyors, to a wider audience, in a live setting. The event held on 19 June 2020, was captured on YouTube Live and can be viewed here.
Various online posts, across social media, including LinkedIn and Twitter were created by colleagues and other ‘virtual attendees’ including the ever resourceful Liz Male MBE and Hattie Thompson, along with several others across the national footprint of the Constructing Excellence footprint, with the most prominent seen here.
The feed-forward since the online conversation has been absolutely phenomenal and has generated a number of interesting domestic and international enquiries as well as future collaborations. Watch this space for future updates!!
UK Construction Week
Again, fellow and longstanding allies in the form of Rebecca Lovelace of Building People and events specialist, Nathan Garnett of Media 10, facilitated a unique opportunity for DiverseCity Surveyors to assemble a panel of Senior Black Surveyors to discuss the potential risks associated with the ongoing CLC led “Roadmap to Recovery”, that currently remains devoid of any meaningful Diversity and Inclusion [and in particular, that pertaining to the BAME community]. If 'the roadmap' is to be regarded as a composite pillar of a sustainable UK growth plan, then we look forward to working with the team led by Sharon Slinger to support better recognition within the context of a revised and inclusive strategy / roadmap.
Held on 1 July 2020, the interesting [and somewhat passionate] conversation that took place between Bola Abisogun OBE and other selected DCS Members, Christopher Browne, Anthony Oloyede and Learie Gonsalves; can be seen here.
And, in an attempt to contextualise what progress needed to look like, the discussion also ran a number of ‘live’ polls with the audience, all of which sought to address the following queries:
1: Are we in danger of reinstating a flawed status quo?
2: Is the industry’s current leadership in a position to positively support the ‘cultural’ change required?
3: Is enough being done by industry leaders to attract BAME talent into the Built Environment industry?
4: Sean Tompkins (RICS CEO) asked to hear the uncomfortable truth from BAME members. Should other leaders follow?
5: How much is Covid-19 affecting recruitment?
Clearly, the results whilst not completely reflective of the industry sentiment, or damaging to future plans currently being considered, the results posted by attendees were quite conclusive and spoke of more work needing to be done, or better still, “must try harder”.
Sikh Surveyors Network ‘SSN’
Approached by a fellow Surveyor of Asian origin, an initial and hugely productive conversation has been conducted with a group of young and aspiring Chartered Surveyors, who are all of the Sikh faith. An inspiring, yet informal discussion between DCS Board Members, Bola Abisogun OBE and Arnold Musisi, took place with the co-founders of SSN, on 15 July 2020.
It was agreed that given the early stages of their evolution, a close and open dialogue would be maintained between the DCS Board and their core team. Naturally, and with the common interest of seeking better ethnic diversity and industry representation, we wish them well in their journey to further their cause, educate others and tangibly address, the multi-faceted critical concerns as well as a number of other ‘cultural and commercial’ opportunities, identified and discussed on the day.
Real Estate Balance
In an increasingly small ‘digitally enabled’ world, industry colleague and fellow Chartered Surveyor Olu Olanrewaju [Chair of Leadership 2025] reached out to Bola with a view to connecting DiverseCity Surveyors with [former British Property Federation, CEO], Liz Peace, Chair of Real Estate Balance 'REB'. Notwithstanding and unbeknown to Olu, one particular relationship had simultaneously, been established with the SMT; between Bola and Sue Brown, Managing Director 'REB'.
Although REB's origins were to principally address the historic challenges of ‘gender imbalance’ across the real estate sector _ particularly at Senior Level _ this has since evolved into a current aspiration to progress and harness intersectionality. This aspiration has meant that they [REB] have a renewed focus on ethnicity, as a further string to their armour. A group discussion was held on 16 July 2020 via MS Teams between four individuals, including Suzanne Avery.
In addition to assisting DCS with our strategic role with RICS, future areas of seamless collaboration with REB are likely to include, inter alia, thought leadership and mentorship; with a view to challenging both existing corporate cultures and current industry leaders as well as empowering the #nextgeneration talent-pool across the global Surveying profession.
And on the topic of the #nextgeneration talent-pool, REB are currently conducting a piece of research targetting the under-35's across the real estate and Surveying profession. Presented by Charlotte Dawidek who is one of the co-chairs of the REB NextGen committee and Paul Modu, the BAME representative on that committee, the ask of interested members is detailed below:
"Real Estate Balance's NextGen Committee is researching how diverse and inclusive our industry is. We are gathering data on barriers to entry, behaviours in the workplace, company culture and line management. The survey is short, with multiple choice answers, and will take less than five minutes to complete. Thank you for taking part and sharing your experience."
Their research poll / survey can be accessed here
Other valuable and existing partnerships / affiliations, continue with longstanding and solid relationships, including the following
Chair, Dr Nike Afolayan MBE
BAME in Property
Founder, Priya Shah
Black Females in Architecture
Alisha Morenike Fisher / Selasi Setufe
Built By Us
Founder, Danna Walker
Chair, Annette Fisher
Co-Founder, Yemi Aladerun
RIBA Architects for Change (AfC)
Chair, Femi Oresanya