Real Estate Balance held their annual flagship event at CBRE's West End headquarters on 22 February, attended by over 150 members and guests.

The evening was a great success with a welcome from Sue Clayton, a round up of achievements and ambitions from our chair, Vivienne King, who importantly, also thanked all our members and particularly the people on our committees for their contribution to Real Estate Balance’s success. Special thanks were reserved for the BPF, Small Back Room and Two Blue Communications for their pro bono support.

The evening then got into its full swing with a panel discussion very ably facilitated by Claire Milton on “Leading Change”. The impressive line up of panel speakers were Paul Brundage ,BPF President and Senior Managing Director of Oxford Properties; Bill Moore CBE, Chief Executive of The Portman Estate; Amanda Clack, Head of Strategic Consulting at CBRE; Brian Bickell, Chief Executive of Shaftesbury PLC and Diana Breeze, Group HR Director at Landsec, all of whom spoke authentically about their experiences, good and bad, of incorporating Diversity & Inclusion into business life, sharing their insights and, importantly, calling for action to deliver, with the time for words having passed. As Paul Brundage so eloquently put it –“forget chapter 1, we are on chapter 3”.

The lively discussion within the panel extended out into questions observations and challenges from the audience which included well known names such as Alan Leibowitz, David Sleath and Nick Leslau.

Key messages from the leaders on the panel were that culture within the organisation is critical to bringing about real change and that this must start from the top – “truly authentic leadership must walk the talk”. 

There was consensus that Diversity & Inclusion is a business imperative to building a sustainable business - “ the top leadership gets it, the talent pipeline wants it, but if middle management aren’t engaged, change will not happen - it is critical that middle management has a voice and are enthused to manage change”

There was a palpable feeling in the room that the time had come for the industry to step up to the challenge. It was particularly encouraging to see real balance in the room, with so many men, including several CEOs and firm leaders, whose presence visibly evidenced their commitment to helping Real Estate Balance to achieve its objectives.