Thousands of property developers, consultants, architects, construction firms, investors and government bodies head to Cannes in the South of France for MIPIM every year. The influential property conference is now striving for a more inclusive atmosphere, since the London Festival of Architecture launched a campaign in 2018 that called on the design, property and construction industries to end discriminatory behaviour at all events.
Many organisations, including the professional bodies and MIPIM themselves, have responded positively, with codes of conduct and initiatives to bring about change. As a result, it feels like a good moment to be attending the event for the first time. Like many organisations, Faithful+Gould has traditionally sent its most senior property practitioners. This year, however, I have the opportunity to attend as part of the NextGen initiative, Faithful+Gould’s investment in leadership succession planning.
I joined Faithful+Gould as an Associate Director in 2018 and I’m based at the Nottingham office. Drawing on my experience of working with developers, my remit is to expand our capability in the residential and commercial property sectors in this region and nationally. I’m currently working mostly in the residential sector, with some hotels too, and I have ongoing projects in London, Birmingham and Coventry.
I was delighted to be invited to become one of the 16 members of our UK property division’s NextGen forum. The forums work alongside our sector-driven senior leadership teams, as a way of adding to the experience needed to take you to the next career level. For me, this structured approach to succession planning is one sign of a good employer.
NextGen gives me an opportunity to network more widely and contribute to our collaborative delivery of successful projects. It helps me build on my technical skills and gives me an understanding of how our property team’s senior leadership operates. I get involved in budgets, deliverables, targeting new clients, and improving the ways we work with existing clients. Attending events like MIPIM, RESI Convention and Housing LIN is a great way of getting more exposure to the market.
Internal collaboration and data-sharing across the UK is one of the priorities in our property division and this is something I’m involved in via NextGen. There are a lot of small networks across the business, and we’re working on ways of bringing these together and getting the most value from them.
Mentoring is an important part of the NextGen programme.
I have a formal mentoring agreement with Mark Stevens, our Head of Commercial Property. The agreement clarifies our individual responsibilities, the time to be spent, the topics we cover and what we both want to gain from the relationship. I’m learning a lot from Mark and I’m looking forward to working alongside him at MIPIM.
We’re encouraged to also think about what we can offer to the wider industry, and part of this, for me, is becoming an RICS APC assessor. This is something I feel passionate about as it will give me more exposure to the RICS agenda and will enable me to add value to colleagues going through the APC with Faithful+Gould nationally. In the future, I’d like to be involved with university courses and be part of the important link between academia and industry.
I think MIPIM will be a great chance to understand what opportunities are available in the market, to explore new business cultures and different ways of working. I hope to learn from my colleagues but also bring fresh energy to our presence there. I think it will also be a way of testing my own strengths and weaknesses in a new environment.
I’ve been busy preparing, getting a greater understanding of the event, contributing to our comms campaigns, finding out who is exhibiting where, who attends on a yearly basis and who I’d like to meet. Diary management is important. On some days I’ve arranged back-to-back meetings, but I’ve kept other days free for meeting up with new contacts. I also need to support those of my clients who are attending, ensuring that their projects or plans are ready for release/showcase, and addressing any client issues that may arise whilst I am in Cannes.
Most of our MIPIM attendees will host an event and I’m no exception. One of my aims is to network with people at my career level in other organisations, so I’ve set up a late afternoon Next Gen event on Thursday 12th March 2020 in the centre of Cannes. Do get in touch with me if you would like to attend.