Diversity & Inclusion

How speed mentoring helps under-represented professionals

How can young people from under-represented backgrounds progress in an industry with a diversity problem?

One way is to gain access to mentors who can help them navigate their career path. Bringing the two groups together was the idea behind an exciting online speed mentoring event hosted by Real Estate Balance in partnership with Property Week.

Taking place on Zoom, the event offered real estate professionals at an early stage in their career the chance to meet a senior industry leader for a confidential conversation around their career aspirations and discover valuable skills, knowledge and insights. 

Mentoring over Zoom

40 mentees participated in the hour-long event, which took the form of 30-minute one-to-one speed mentoring sessions, followed by a group discussion. A mentor line-up of 11 senior industry figures were secured for the event and places were snapped up in record time.

I’m totally sold on mentoring sessions now. Each group can learn from the other.

One surveyor mentee said: “I think for people of our age, it’s important to get this rare opportunity to speak to senior leaders’, while Sue Brown, managing director of Real Estate Balance said: “I’m totally sold on mentoring sessions now. Each group can learn from the other.”

The Meaningful team played a lead role in producing the event on behalf of Real Estate Balance, both conceiving the idea and taking it all the way through to execution. We secured an incredible mentor lineup – with 5 CEOs in total – including:

Amanda Clack, Head of Strategic Advisory, CBRE

Ayesha Ofori, Founder & CEO, PropElle Network

Brian Bickell, CEO, Shaftesbury PLC

Ciaran Bird, CEO UK & Ireland, CBRE

David Sleath, Chief Executive, SEGRO plc

Fran Giltinan, Customer Experience Senior Director, Foxtons

Jessica TOMLINSON, Head of Real Estate London, Barclays Corporate Banking

Liz Peace, Chair, Real Estate Balance

Michela Hancock, Managing Director, Greystar Europe

Steven Skinner, UK CEO, HB Reavis UK

Victoria Quinlan, Managing Director – Investment Management, Lendlease

Real Estate Balance is a non-profit organisation which aims to address the lack of diversity at senior levels of the property industry.

Read the Property Week event writeup
Community engagement

Helping local communities have their say

Over the past 20 years, working from a range of vantage points in the built environment has given me first-hand experience of the benefits of effective community engagement – and how by failing to listen to the voices of their audience, many organisations are missing an important trick.

Consulting an audience of end-users about their interests, views and needs at an early stage in a project – when there’s real opportunity for people to get involved and have their say – may sound like an obvious process, but too often it gets overlooked.

Today’s organisations need multiple ways for end-users to engage, contribute and offer their feedback and suggestions on an ongoing basis

In recent years I’ve seen how social media and digital technologies have transformed opportunities for stakeholder engagement, offering new ways to reach those who, for example, wouldn’t typically respond to a public consultation. Today’s organisations need multiple ways for end-users to engage, contribute and offer their feedback and suggestions on an ongoing basis. Simply setting up a customer service channel through which people can complain is no longer enough.

Good stakeholder comms is ultimately about listening – it’s about building meaningful relationships with real people, and it can help businesses and investors from all industries get to the root of what their communities really want. And since brands and reputations are built – or damaged – with each encounter, the more we can proactively and positively engage with our audience, the more ownership and buy-in we’ll receive from them in return.

Successful community engagement helps:

  • new and existing audiences to be consulted on important topics
  • build ongoing stakeholder dialogue and relationships
  • demonstrate the transparency of a project or organisation
  • important updates to be shared on both sides
  • document community questions, comments and complaints in a measurable way

I recently shared my take on the importance of community engagement and the role technology can play in an interview with SitePodium, a construction industry app that enables effective two-way conversations between the development industry and local communities.

Read the SitePodium interview here