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EG launch new D&I Content Advisory Panel to expand thought leadership

In the beginning there was the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

The truth is, all men [and women] are born equal, right? If that is correct, then why is there such a monumental and growing debate about the structural [and in many ways, systemic] inequalities that have been around since the oldest amongst us can muster within the vast expanse of their own memory banks? Why is it simply not good enough to assert and project one’s own belief(s) upon someone else, without taking into consideration the beliefs and/or opinions of the other person(s)? Worse still, what if the opinions and inherent life chances of ‘the other(s)’ are literally discounted – and dispensed with / denied – simply because their view cannot be comprehended or understood by the majority group, who chose [and choose] to ignore and/or undermine any hint of relevance. That is what denigration of humanity / racism can look like through the lens of a minority professional, where many feel voiceless, acutely helpless and pretty much, lesser than; while having to co-exist in a workplace environ, just to survive and pay their bills.

The question is, do we – as an eclectic ensemble of property professionals – truly exercise the required tolerance, empathy and insight, before we assert and share our own perspective(s) of others? With the exception becoming such a rare event, along with other professionals being at odds with their own inability to ‘phrase their perspective’ [for fear of being offensive], should the ability to recognise difference(s), be considered by way of mandatory CPD? Even in the presence of copious amounts of legislation, it is clear to see that ‘those difficult conversations’ remain the elephant in the room. So, on the topic of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, what topics or areas of professional practice should be included as part of any mandatory CPD requirement? On the basis that all of the above represent just some of the many questions, queries and perspectives that EG Editor, Samantha McClary and the newly formed EG D&I Content Advisory Panel aim to address; it’s time to become vulnerable to the ‘uncomfortable truths’.

Amongst other things, what the COVID pandemic has also done well, is shine a light on and foster greater attention towards the well-established disparities, that for many minority groups have continued to co-exist, with little recognition. Conversely, for those that have relished an opportunity to actively progress the conversation with shared learnings and understanding, much of that effort has been resigned to, at best a tokenistic or superficial affirmation and the very least, blatant denial and ignorance. If the property sector, an evolving people-centric profession, is to continue to attract the widest possible talent pool [including the non-traditional gifted and talented] not just in the UK, but across the world, then we really need to start talking openly, honestly, respectfully and without undue inhibition.

Historically, the established norms have often dictated that members of any minority group, have simply had to ‘suck it up’ and get on with it, often with dire consequences to their mental health, wellbeing and in many cases inevitable breakdowns in personal relationships. Of course, in a post-COVID world this is simply unacceptable, particularly at a time when the entire world is on or in some sort of lock-down. Never before has friendship and kindness meant so much to so many, by doing something so small to the individual; simply smiling and asking “how are you?” can make the difference between sticking with it or throwing the towel in.

The newly formed EG D&I Content Advisory panel, reads like a ‘who’s who’ in real estate – see list below – with a surprise listing and appearance by DiverseCity Surveyors ‘DCS’ Founder & Chair Bola Abisogun OBE. Bola was approached by Samantha, following an earlier and very successful leadership roundtable conversation on the Ethnicity Pay Gap ‘EPG’, which was hosted by our partner and fellow industry gamechanger, Priya Shah, the rising star and founder of BAME In Property. The timeliness of the EPG conversation will no doubt be included as an emerging topic of interest over the coming weeks and months, particularly as legislative guidance is being considered and sought by the sector.

Members of the EG D&I Content Advisory Panel:

Bola Abisogun OBE; Founder, DiverseCity Surveyors

Sue Brown; MD of Real Estate Balance

Emma Cariaga; British Land

Amanda Clack PPRICS; CBRE / Co-Author

Joanne McNamara; Oxford Properties

David Mann; Partner, TFT / Co-Founder, Freehold

Julie Musesoglu; ED&I Lead, Homes England

Hanna Osundina; Balfour Beatty / Black Women in Real Estate

Priya Shah, Founder, BAME In Property

Kaela Fenn-Smith; CBRE / former MD of Real Estate Balance

Dominic Wilson; Proptech Pioneer

Clearly these are both challenging and exciting times for EG and the editorial team led by Samantha. DCS view the formation of the EG content advisory panel [and our role within it] as a genuine opportunity to move the dial and impart further industry insight on a number of topical, legislative, and innovative fronts. We truly believe that such a strong, representative and collective voice, will go some way to expand the current definition of equity & inclusion and in turn, inspire the next generation to consider a career in a sector that, similar to other built environment professions, can achieve the perceived impossibility of sustainable growth and continued innovation.

However, there is one condition, in that everyone - irrespective of their difference(s) - must be sufficiently nurtured and consistently respected.

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