Placemaking for Diversity & Inclusion

RE:Women hosted their final event for this year on 14th November ’17 at the creative WeWork office space in Aldgate, London, UK. Guests in the audience represented a range of organisations from surveying companies, to banks, fund managers, solicitors, insurance, architecture – bringing lots of different of points of views to the debate.

The theme for the event’s discussion was: ‘Placemaking for Diversity and Inclusion’, selected in light of the recent partnership announcement with the British Property Federation (BPF) and REVO to push diversity forward in the industry. Our distinguished panelists were Jane Hollinshead, Founder of IJD Consulting and BPF Consultant, Giulia Bunting, President of REVO and Rebecca Worthington, Group CFO of Countryside Properties, all to share their insights on the nature of diversity in the industry.

Jane left her hugely successful law career to set up her own consultancy advising Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and professional services firms within the real estate industry. Throughout her career, she noted that men of a particular age have dominated the industry and that a gender (and age) diversity balance is essential to fully reflect a productive workforce. Jane speaks at a number of diversity platforms to ensure continued support to the issue.

Giulia recognised the retail shopping centre space required improvements to cater for a diversified population not only in terms of gender, but also age and mobility/ disability. In her current role as REVO President she has worked closely with BPF to accommodate these changes, in addition to creating hubs for entrepreneurs. Giulia recognises the severe shortage of senior female executives as she is regularly asked to speak at/ fill in at conventions.
Rebecca, having moved from commercial real estate to a home builder, commented that whilst diversity in the commercial space is lagging, the home building and construction  industries still have a longer way to go. Rebecca has focused her efforts on reforming flexible working and recruitment within Countryside Properties, and has campaigned
for diversity awareness on public forums.
The general consensus being that inclusion and diversity is changing albeit slowly, and that the real test will be with the publishing of the matrix whereby they can track salaries paid to women and men in the same industry. This will be the real game changer that the industry requires.
All panelists agreed that change is internal and a top down approach from leadership will trickle down the corporate culture, allowing for a more diverse workforce.
RE:WOMEN is grateful to each of the panelists for their valuable time and energy to attend, and to all our delegates who actively participated in the debate of diversity in the workforce and the creation of inclusive space.

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