BPF Futures Launch: a network for junior professionals

BPF Futures

6 Dec 2017

Policy area: Diversity and Inclusivity

BPF External Affairs Officer Sam Lamont summarises our BPF Futures launch event on Tuesday 5 December 2017.

You wouldn’t normally associate a Tuesday night in early December with celebration – after all, we’re still in that winter hinterland where yuletide festivities can seem a bit keen – but celebration was undoubtedly the watchword of the BPF Futures launch party this week. Our new network for junior real estate professionals is a huge step forwards for the industry and therefore should very much be celebrated. The launch’s success reflects the enthusiasm among our next generation of real estate leaders to be heard and be a part of shaping our industry’s future success. Celebrating this will underpin our ability to nurture our leaders of tomorrow. Succession planning and future-proofing our industry will be fundamental to our long-term ambitions of delivering a built environment that can underpin economic and social wellbeing for decades to come.  
When asked what drew our audience to the BPF Futures launch, a variety of answers were given: the opportunity to find role models, engage with peers across different real estate sectors, and learn from the wisdom of the evening’s panellists.
For those not in the know, BPF Futures has been gestating for several months, and has finally arrived in the form of a network for those with ten-or-fewer years’ experience in the real estate industry, intended not only for social interaction but also learning and development among peers and from industry experts. It is hard to disagree that such a need exists; why, the sheer level of interest BPF Futures has gathered is testament to this. With over five hundred junior professionals registered for the launch party (necessitating a frantic relocation, as the original venue was only able to hold a fraction of that number), it’s obvious our next generation of real estate leaders agree.
Our panel members ably fielded questions from both our Chair for the evening, Alex Notay (Places for People; Highly Commended – Best Industry Ambassador, BPF Tomorrows Leaders Awards), and from the audience via Slido.  Tom Redmayne (WiredScore), Michela Hancock (Greystar), and Paul Brundage (Oxford Properties & British Property Federation) openly discussed diversity in the industry, their own employment history, the likelihood that the jobs of tomorrow do not yet exist, and their advice for those looking to succeed – both in real estate, and from a more personal perspective. Michela’s experiences of misogyny within the industry, and her guidance for how best to deal with it, seemed to strike a particular chord with much of the audience. It is heartening to see our next generation of leaders actively acknowledge and engage in these topics so early on their careers, and the attitude voiced by many attendees at the drinks reception later in the evening was one of hope for a more diverse future for the industry, rather than a lamentation of its distinctly homogenous past.
The twitter buzz present in the lead up to the event only intensified during the discussion. Having been encouraged to take out their phones to participate in Slido polls and questioning, many took the opportunity to tweet their support for panellists, comment on answers, and broadcast their favourite quotes from the evening, all with the hashtag #BPFFutures. Tom should be particularly pleased: his stress on ‘curiosity and coachability’ as the two most valuable qualities a junior professional can possess was picked up with great enthusiasm by the tweeters present.
In summary, the event was a roaring success, and is a firm foundation for the network to build on in 2018 – a whole host of events are already in the pipeline. It remains only to thank our panel and chair, the BPF Futures Advisory Board who did so much to allow the event to come to fruition – in particular Harvin Chohan (CBRE) whose excellent introductory speech helped set the tone for the evening, and all those who so enthusiastically attended and participated. See you all again in 2018!

The BPF Futures Network can be joined by visiting our webpage.

BPF Futures Launch Event Panel:

  • Tom Redmayne, Director of Business Development UK & Ireland, WiredScore
  • Michela Hancock, Development Director, Greystar
  • Paul Brundage, Executive Vice President and Senior Managing Director, Oxford Properties; President of British Property Federation
  • Chaired by Alex Notay, Director of Product and Service Innovation, Places for People 

BPF Futures Advisory Board:

  • Chair: Harvin Chohan, Apprentice Surveyor, CBRE
  • Learning & Development Officer: Isabelle Hease, Head of Research and Analytics, Ellandi
  • Networking Officer: Eleanor Thomas, Senior Business Development Executive, Ashurst
  • Communications Officer: Sophia Nesro, Commercial Property Manager, ISG
  • Diversity & Inclusion Officer: Kemi Oguntoye, Property Consultant, SAY Property Consulting
  • Regional Engagement Officer: Lois Kay, Development Surveyor, Peel Environmental
  • Treasurer: Will Greenslade, Corporate Business Partner, British Land