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Deeds not words – MIPIM: a woman’s perspective

Alice Lamb | 28.03.18

Attending the MIPIM Conference in Cannes was something that filled me with excitement, looking forward to the raft of opportunities that lay ahead. Being in the charity sector, there aren’t many opportunities to travel to Cannes on business!

However, in the wake of the #MeToo movement and The President’s Club– the property sector has been under fire. Not to mention the media attack on the charity sector, due diligence has never been higher on the agenda. Whilst attending MIPIM is a fabulous opportunity and one that would provide endless contacts and opportunities for LandAid, it also posed potential risks to attendees and organisations alike.

But there has been a noticeable shift in the sector. With so much charity activity including £30K raised for LandAid from the MIPIM Tennis Classic and £650K raised from the Club Peloton Cycle to MIPIM, the conference is being used as a force for good, raising both awareness and funds for charity.

In comparison to my visit to MIPIM in 2014, even at first glance, I noticed there were more women in attendance, as well as many more ‘women’s events’ on the agenda – marking a very conscious change within a reflective conference. Arriving in MIPIM, the first port of call was a dinner with all-female comms agency Holistic, at which I met a whole host of amazing people – male and female - across the sector and beyond.

Pink elephant badges were emblazoned on every lapel, encouraging attendees to #seethelephant - a campaign launched to tackle the discriminatory behaviour in the built environment and encourage industry leaders to commit to positive change.

There was also increased awareness of The Panel Pledge – encouraging men to refuse to partake in all-male panels and empowering them to become the champions of change.

The Women in Property breakfast was a glamourous affair held on the beach at Cannes, with a rousing speech quoting the suffragette slogan ‘Deeds Not Words’ – making clear that in terms of discrimination (and the battle to end it), actions really do speak louder than words. The WiP event was teeming with the younger generation of property professionals - the rising stars, including the leading ladies, who will no doubt shape the future of the sector.

LandAid partners, RICS, held a number of events to highlight the commitment to diversity in the field of surveying – not only pledging to attract more female employees to the profession but also to nurture and retain them.  In an extremely admirable move, RICS held an event with one of the only all-female panels of the conference, making for a fascinating and informative discussion. You can find out more about the RICS and LandAid Pledge150 campaign here.

There was a clear call from across the industry for organisations to send mixed teams to attend MIPIM – taking an active responsibility to not only send male employees (even if they are the most senior) to the conference. This may, in turn, put pressure on the property sector to promote more women onto senior boards, providing opportunity for progression and identifying rising stars.

In my mind, MIPIM is not an event to just be attended by the most senior staff; it is a huge opportunity to develop future leaders. The conference provides endless opportunities and invaluable networking for professionals across the property industry, not to mention for charities such as LandAid. MIPIM is a vital tool in enabling us to achieve our vision, to unite the property industry to create social change and end youth homelessness.