Diversity and inclusion in real estate celebrated at Better Balance

News / 16.05.2022

Real Estate Balance recently celebrated our achievements so far with a fantastic event featuring discussions on diversity from inspiring leaders in the property industry.

Property professionals from our more than 100 members attended the event at Schroders' offices to mark our successes since being formed in 2015 by Liz Peace CBE, Vivienne King, Karen Friebe, Suzanne Avery, Ciaran Bird, Andy Pyle, Sue Clayton, Claire Milton, Elisabeth Teo-Pennell, Louise Brooke-Smith OBE, Sanjeev Sharma and Kaushik Shah. 

We were also delighted to announce our four new Board members on the evening:

  • Simon Carter - Chief Executive, British Land
  • Clarence Dixon - Global Head of Loan Services, CBRE
  • Kirsty Wilman - Executive Director – Business Management, Federated Hermes Limited Real Estate
  • Nick Worrall - Group HR Director, Barratt Developments plc

The event was compered by Sue Brown, our Managing Director, and introduced by Melinda Knatchbull, Chief Operating Office, Real Estate at Schroders, and attendees heard from speakers sharing their perspectives on the challenges and opportunities for creating better balance within real estate.

David Sleath, SEGRO PLC's Chief Executive, and Helen Gordon, Grainger PLC's chief executive, discussed the importance of maintaining attention on D&I opportunities, especially when organisations and teams are growing. 

They also discussed how even though there may not be a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to D&I, intentional changes make for big results. Helen made reference to the usefulness of our Toolkit which provides practical guidance on building teams that reflect the society we serve.

Carolyn Milligan, Senior Associate at Herbert Smith Freehills and co-chair of our NextGen committee, did a stellar job in chairing the event's panel discussion and providing an overview of the committee's activities.

Joining her on the panel were Emma Cariaga from British Land, Amos Simbo from BPIC Network, Samantha McClary from EG and Richard Rees from Savills.

They discussed key issues including ending the perception of real estate being a 'secret sector', increasing the balance between men and women taking parental leave, telling better stories, the search for industry role models, the question of how to attract and retain diverse talent, agile working responses and the benefits of 'shadow boards' inputting into company boards.

Sam Monger, from member Grosvenor and our Policy and Campaigns Committee, updated attendees on some our upcoming initiatives, including the launch of our EDI Diversity Data Collection Guidance Note and the 2022 Real Estate Balance Survey.

The event ended with our Chair Liz Peace CBE thanking our brilliant members, networks and partners for their commitment and insights over the past seven years, our hosts Schroders and the esteemed speakers at the event for sharing their valuable viewpoints on how to progress D&I in the real estate industry.