NextGen committee

The NextGen committee was set up at the end of 2019. We are a group of Real Estate Balance members in the early stages of our careers whose goal is to represent the next generation of property professionals and be the focal point for delivering Real Estate Balance’s objective to develop a diverse pipeline of talent in the property industry.

One of our first tasks in 2020 was to conduct a survey of real estate professionals under 35, to investigate barriers to entry, attitudes and behaviours in the workplace and line management. The results can be found here. We carried out the research again in 2022. Please click here for commentary and to download the results in full. Commentary and research on our 2023 survey findings can be found here.

The findings continue to shape our plans for the programme of events and activities we organise throughout the year.

NextGen LinkedIn network

The NextGen LinkedIn network is a private group for Real Estate Balance members who want to develop and support the emerging generation of real estate talent. It is a chance to connect with peers, exchange information and hear about the activities and initiatives organised by the NextGen committee.

We encourage any existing Real Estate Balance members who are interested in this area of work to join our LinkedIn group.

Get in touch

If you would like to get in touch with the NextGen Committee to discuss an idea for collaboration, please contact one our co-Chairs:

Emma Guthrie - Partner, Property and Infrastructure at Shepherd and Wedderburn LLP:

Kevin Boakye - Talent Acquisition and DEI Specialist at Hines:

Jasmine Ceccarelli-Drewry - Senior Advisor, Strategic Advisory at Montagu Evans: 

Joining the committee

We periodically advertise for new members to join the NextGen Committee, so if you would like to get involved, make sure you are on our mailing list by filling in the short form on our homepage.

Who we are

Emma Guthrie, Real Estate Partner, Shepherd and Wedderburn LLP (NextGen co-chair)

My firm became a member of Real Estate Balance in 2019 and I believe we can play an important role in the development and cultural change of the real estate sector. I am delighted to have joined the NextGen committee and be part of continuing and developing the excellent work it is already doing. As a partner in a Scottish-headquartered organisation, and myself based in Scotland, I am keen to support Real Estate Balance's ambitions to ensure that it is truly a UK-wide organisation.

I am committed to empowering and championing opportunities for all, reducing barriers to entry and increasing representation across the sector.

Emma Guthrie

Jasmine Ceccarelli-Drewry, Senior Advisor, Strategic Advisory, Montagu Evans (NextGen co-Chair)

My own experiences as a young woman in the industry have shaped my perception of some of the challenges that still prevail and prevent progress. I am committed to continuing to learn about individuals' experiences, and breaking down the wider barriers which may prevent or deter people from careers in property and development. I am delighted to be working with NextGen colleagues to bring people together to make real change and am passionate about tackling the big challenges facing the sector.

I believe that the built environment can fundamentally change society for the better when it is positioned to do so. However, truly inclusive design, innovation and the delivery of successful and sustainable places cannot happen unless the industry is able to diversify and become less insular.

Jasmine Ceccarelli-Drewery

Kevin Boakye, Talent Acquisition & DEI Specialist, Hines Europe Limited (NextGen co-Chair)

Over the past decade I have had the privilege of partnering with organisations across the property and real estate sectors and have been privy to the distinct lack of diversity – both in terms of gender and ethnicity. Having served as a School Governor, I have also observed a clear lack of awareness of the industry amongst the younger generation as well as the opportunities available. By virtue of joining the NextGen Committee, I am wholly committed to advocating for initiatives that will not just attract employees from less represented groups but also actively retain and promote them. 

My commitment to D&I is fuelled by a desire to see individuals from a range of backgrounds being equally recognised for their unique talents and abilities across the industry.

Kevin Boakye

Paul Modu, Surveyor, Knight Frank

In a global environment, there's a pressing need to bring to the table diverse thinkers from a variety of backgrounds. There is vast disproportionality across the real estate industry, including ethnic minorities in the workplace and women in senior management. As one of the NextGen committee, I am committed to driving efforts to build a more expansive pipeline of talent, while installing the mechanisms to develop higher employee retentions from individuals in less represented groups

I’m committed to driving efforts to build a more expansive pipeline of talent, while installing the mechanisms to develop higher employee retentions from individuals in less represented groups.

Paul Modu

Carolyn Milligan, Partner, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

It's a fact that diverse and inclusive cultures make good sense and better places to work. Yet achieving that diversity is a challenge and one that we all need to be involved in overcoming. I look forward to working with the other Real Estate Balance NextGen committee members to help create that culture at all levels of our industry.

Carolyn Milligan

I believe that stereotypes are unhelpful. Unhelpful to the business and the bottom line but especially and, more importantly, unhelpful to people.

Carolyn Milligan

Amelia Ryan, Asset Management Surveyor, Shaftesbury Capital 

My reasons for wanting to be involved in the committee come from knowing the barriers to entry to the real estate industry for those not from wealthy backgrounds and considering the effects this has on diversity in the industry. I believe a balanced sector doesn’t stop at a 50:50 gender balance, but in striving for an open and inter-sectional industry where there is opportunity for all and prejudice for none.

I believe a balanced sector doesn’t stop at a 50:50 gender balance but in striving for an open and inter-sectional industry where this balance is not limited to the privileged few.

Amelia Ryan

Adam Baskett, Senior Analyst, abrdn

My vision is to foster an open industry where opportunities are accessible to all, and prejudice has no place. As part of the NextGen committee, I am excited to collaborate with my fellow committee members on fulfilling this vision, fostering a culture of diversity and inclusion that will spread through every level of our industry.

Embracing diversity and inclusivity isn't just a good idea; it's a necessity for creating a more vibrant and productive workplace.

Adam Baskett

Grace Kan, Associate Partner, PLP Architecture

Having experienced firsthand the challenges within the architecture and construction industry, I firmly believe that talented individuals should not be excluded based on their background or gender. Furthermore, creating an atmosphere of respect and open communication in the workplace is essential for both individuals and organisations to thrive. I am delighted to have the opportunity to be involved and make positive changes to the industry together with the NextGen committee.

I believe diversity is the key for both individuals and organizations to thrive. Creating an atmosphere of respect and open communication in the workplace is essential now more than ever.

Grace Kan

Martin Yarwood, Associate, Savills

Despite moving in a positive direction, we cannot ignore the fact that there remains huge barriers to entry in our industry. I believe this starts with the unfortunate failings of the education system, which for most does not provide the necessary support to have a chance at a career in real estate. As part of the NextGen committee, I am committed to supporting the growth of the industry and, in particular, providing support to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds who have likely never considered a career in the built environment. 

I hope to contribute to driving cultural change in the industry and opening doors to a wider talent pool.

Martin Yarwood

Siobhan Darlington, Events Manager, The Crown Estate

Connecting people and making a real difference to society and the environment make up part of my core values and are pivotal in my conduct whether that be personal or professional. I have had the privilege of managing corporate events over the past 15-years and have witnessed firsthand the EDI progress that has been made, along with seeing the further growth potential and better align with the diversity of the world around us. Being part of the change and delivery is something I feel passionately about, and working closely with NextGen and their ambitions I can do just that.

As a queer person my beliefs have a strong foundation in acceptance and making sure everyone feels comfortable being 100% of their authentic self in a work environment.

Siobhan Darlington

Paras Maalde, Vice President, Legal, Brookfield Properties

I am passionate about addressing diversity and social mobility issues within the industry. Solutions need to be long-term and necessitate a shift in culture, which itself takes a generational dimension. So, working with new, potential talent at the junior level of the industry’s workforce is critical and that’s why I am delighted to be a part of the REB NextGen Committee.

I want to see an industry that recognises and promotes talent regardless of one’s background, education, race or gender, ultimately resulting in a more level playing field in the future for today’s junior workforce.

Paras Maalde

Rachel Lea, Senior Planner, Newsteer

I am lucky to work for a start-up company who are wholly committed to D&I, and I have had an active involvement in our Real Estate Balance membership and the creation of our community values. Whilst this is of course positive, the process has highlighted that there is still a long way to go across our industry generally both in terms of barriers to entry, which cannot unfortunately be addressed by a company-specific D&I policy; and in terms of existing unconscious, and often conscious, bias within our industry, which I have experienced personally.

I am delighted to be involved in the NextGen committee and I am excited about the opportunity to work with the other committee members in promoting diversity across our industry.

Rachel Lea