“Women Leading Real Estate” – change is afoot

Author: Alice Dockar, Partner, Real Estate, London

Herbert Smith Freehills was out in force at a fantastic, thought provoking breakfast event yesterday at the Hilton, Park Lane organised by Bisnow and entitled “Women Leading Real Estate”.

There was a keynote interview with Alison Nimmo, CEO of The Crown Estate, and a panel session on “Driving Change & Building the Pipeline for Aspiring Young Leaders” with panellists:

  • Colette O’Shea, Managing Director at LandSec;
  • Sherin Aminossehe, Head of Offices at Lendlease;
  • Brian Bickell, CEO of Shaftsbury;
  • Lynda Shillaw, CEO of Magairports; and
  • Sue Clayton, Executive Director, Capital Markets at CBRE

Closing remarks were given by Vivenne King, Chair of Real Estate Balance and Andrea Carpenter, Director of Women Talk Real Estate.

The turnout was impressive – over 500 people attended this event, and the audience was predominantly female.  We are proud to be positively engaged with and part of the change taking place in the Real Estate industry.

For us, the key take home messages, for women and men in the world of real estate, were:

  • Purpose – Take control and do something you really care about; some of the real estate projects we are involved in are changing the face of cities and communities
  • Leadership – be visible; promote active, engaged sponsorship and mentoring; build and maintain fantastic, diverse teams and know when to let the team get on with the job; have self-belief and integrity; maintain a good sense of humour
  • Fostering a diverse and inclusive culture – lead from the top/front, use “deeds not words”, call out inappropriate behaviour and keep perspective, create brilliant places to work and live
  • Change – the momentum is visible in the Real Estate industry; as demographics and technology continue to evolve, so does business; forward looking diverse businesses will be the winners

Ruth Benfield, a Senior Associate in our Real Estate team commented about the event: “A great start to the day – networking at breakfast time with a range of interesting women (and men) from different real estate industries and hearing their stories and experiences. This forward-thinking group of people are part of a positive movement which we are proud to be associated with.”

Casey O’Hara, a Senior Associate in our Real Estate Tax team said: “The key takeaway for me was how important it is to engage a wide range of people in discussions on diversity, for example the important of encouraging men to be key participants in what can sometimes be pitched as a “women’s issue”, such as promotion and retention of women in leadership roles, and unconscious bias.  It was great to see the real estate industry tackling these issues in such a motivational and thought provoking forum.”

The HSF Real Estate team’s Exchange Network aims at bringing together our female clients and contacts in the Real Estate industry. If you would like to join our mailing list for future events and initiatives, please contact us.

Alice Dockar
Alice Dockar
Partner, Real Estate, London
Email | Profile
+44 20 7466 2636
Jeremy Walden
Jeremy Walden
Partner, Real Estate, London
Email | Profile
+44 20 7466 2198
Casey O'Hara
Casey O'Hara
Senior Associate, Real Estate Tax, London
Email | Profile
+44 20 7466 2630
Ruth Benfield
Ruth Benfield
Senior Associate, Real Estate, London
Email | Profile
+44 20 7466 7636
Nick Turner
Nick Turner
Partner and Global Head of Diversity, London
Email | Profile
+44 20 7466 2640

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