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Q&A with our EG Future Leader Bisi Brown
Hi Bisi. Thanks for taking part in this. Congratulations on being selected as an EG Future Leader. For anyone who doesn’t know, what is the initiative all about?
Thank you! Future Leaders is about showcasing people from underrepresented groups who work in real estate. It is a training programme and culminates in us delivering a 10-minute TED-style presentation at an EG Summit later in the year. It is also an opportunity to voice the changes me and my cohort of Future Leaders want to see in the industry. A big part of it is training days at companies which support the initiative and specialist online workshops.
Why did you decide to take part?
Sue (Brown – REB’s Managing Director) actually sent it to me last year and encouraged me to apply and it looked great, but if I am being honest the confidence wasn’t really there for me then.
So what changed?
I went to the Future Leaders summit last year and was inspired by the people taking part. Speaking to them, a few also said that they were lacking confidence and didn’t think they could do it but just jumped in and went for it. I also said to myself at the start of the year that I was going to take myself out of my comfort zone. I have also started going to more industry events and exploring more networking opportunities.
How long have you been working at Real Estate Balance?
I joined in January 2021, so still during the pandemic. It was meant to be because I already knew Paul Modu (REB NextGen and Policy and Campaigns Committee member) through LinkedIn and he shared the post that REB was looking for someone to join the executive team. I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn about the industry and get some exposure and work my way up from there.
And what did you do before joining us?
I was studying for my degree in BA (Hons) International Business Management, which I really enjoyed. The subject attracted me because it provided opportunities to travel – we went to EMEA and APAC – and look at successful businesses operating regionally and globally. Travel is a passion of mine. I love going to museums and galleries and also theatre productions in new places.
What are your ambitions for your career?
I’ve always wanted to become a project development manager in the built environment. Before I joined REB I was applying for roles and, funnily enough, at the time, Kevin (Boakye, another REB NextGen committee member) was working for a real estate recruitment agency and I connected with him on LinkedIn and asked “what are you looking for in candidates and what are you not” and he replied and gave me some good advice. We then met for the first time in-person at our Better Balance event last year because he now works for Hines, which was an “oh my days” moment for us both. Kevin really helped me out in terms of my initial understanding of the industry, and now Sue and everyone at REB has really helped with my development. Ultimately, the aim remains the same – work as a project development manager in the future.
There are nine Future Leaders, including from REB members Landsec, CBRE, Knight Frank and Clyde & Co, so how are you all finding the experience?
Everyone is so nice and we are all in the same boat in terms of being nervous about the talks. It is reassuring to know that I’m not the only one who is a little scared to present. Honestly, the support I’ve received has been incredible. Having our members just emailing me out the blue to congratulate me and also internally from my colleagues and Board members. It has made me believe I can achieve and be myself. I think for all of us on the programme we benefit from the positive exposure.
What do you enjoy the most about working in real estate?
For me personally, I enjoy it when a project you’ve delivered on is successful. When we have an event at REB, I am always really happy hearing people talking afterwards, saying they enjoyed it and found it interesting and thought-provoking. I also like helping people and even though it is competitive, there are lots of opportunities for collaboration in real estate, which I also find fulfilling.
And finally, can you give us a sneak peak into the subject for your talk at the Future Leader’s Summit?
You can connect with Bisi by emailing her at email@example.com