On Wednesday 22 March, Real Estate Balance hosted'An Audience with Eliza Manningham-Buller'.

Over 70 people attended, despite the disruption caused by the unfolding terrorist attack at Westminster Bridge, which made the subject matter of the talk particularly relevant.

The Baroness headed MI5 from 2002 to 2007, leading the organisation through substantial change in the wake of 9/11 and the threat from Al-Qaeda.

After an introduction by BLP Partner Karen Friebe, who set the talk in the context of Real Estate Balance’s commitment to address the gender in-balance in the real estate sector, the Baroness spoke about her life and career, giving some fascinating insights from behind the scenes at MI5 with regard to the precise nature of intelligence work.

The Baroness also gave us her personal perspective about what makes a good leader; her tips included building team confidence through giving encouragement and praise for good work -particularly important in an environment such as MI5 where employees are unable to discuss their work at home. The Baroness takes as given that flexible working is good for business and she encouraged the young women in the audience to be their own role models and not to rule themselves out for promotion too readily. The evening concluded with a lively Q&A session from the floor and a vote of thanks delivered by David Shaw, Head of Regent Street Portfolio at the Crown Estate.