One of the best parts of being RICS President is the opportunity to meet members on their home turf and to hear their perspectives both on their own work and on what RICS’s reform programme means to them.
I assure you I am listening and taking back with me the very important messages you all convey. Yes, meeting you is unquestionably a joy, but gathering your insights is a very important aspect of this job that was severely curtailed by two years of pandemic isolation – we have a lot of catching up to do.
Getting off the train in Glasgow in April was magical, and the welcome I received at the Scotland Board dinner is now a treasured lifetime memory. Attendance was robust at Strathclyde University for the Scotland Conference, where chair Mark Devlin led with a panel on sustainability from in a place where 97% of their energy comes from renewable sources.
This May, I also thoroughly enjoyed speaking with the hundreds of members happy to be back attending the UK’s Building Surveying Conference expertly emceed by Lynda Jubb. Northumbria University hosted me at the RICS North East Annual Dinner, where meeting enthusiastic students was definitely the highlight of the visit. Newcastle is a jewel in England’s north-east, and I encourage everyone to explore the city and its surroundings if you find yourself in the area.
I also had a fascinating conversation with the Americas World Regional Board Chair, Chris Smith, in a podcast covering urban investment and transformation ahead of next month’s WBEF event in New York. For which, RICS is partnering with New York University under the auspices of the ever-fascinating Sam Chandan, director of the Chen Institute for Global Real Estate Finance.
As I carry out my duties in various capacities, I am continually impressed by the passion and dedication members are bringing not just to their work but to their role as members of the profession. It is clear to me that the love of surveying and profound relationship we have with the institution that unites us will stand RICS in good stead, as it continues to evolve in the face of challenging times for the built and natural environment. I personally want to thank all of you who approach me at gatherings and express your interest in becoming more involved and to give back.
On that note, I am pleased to update members on several opportunities to lead change across our sector and affect transformation within RICS itself. First, the role of Senior Vice President for 2024 is open for applications until the end of June, offering a 12-month term starting 1 January 2024. This process aims to attract applications from the broadest possible pool of candidates, and I encourage all to apply.
I greatly enjoyed being SVP. And, because it was during the pandemic and I could not travel, I took the opportunity to really focus on my region in particular, giving me the chance to highlight the value of the RICS credential to audiences where it is not as well known.
The SVP job is undoubtedly even more interesting now that we have thankfully returned to face-to-face events, and it is your opportunity to help lead the ongoing change our profession must embrace to keep pace with society’s demands. Other open opportunities include joining RICS’s Knowledge and Practice Committee and chairing a Professional Group Panel. I encourage all members to register their interest. Full application details are available here.
It goes without saying that RICS is all about measurement as a means to building or making constructive progress. And we know that having well-founded consistent methods of measurement is the starting point.
However, we have not historically gathered data in any detail regarding the demographic makeup of our profession – which is vital to building a more inclusive industry. This is why we are making a start to address this data gap by asking members in the UK and Ireland to share more information about themselves through their member profile.
Launched under the able leadership of RICS’s DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) Head Sybil Taunton, this is a UK&I initiative for now, and we are working on ways to gather data at a global level. I encourage UK and Ireland members to update their profiles and I look forward to hearing that we have a benchmark established and can report progress against it in upcoming years.
“Gathering your insights is a very important aspect of this job that was severely curtailed by two years of pandemic” Ann Gray FRICS, RICS President
Building on this theme, every June we look forward to LGBT Pride Month. RICS will be celebrating Pride with our allies in the sector to show that only through collaborative leadership can we create a more inclusive profession. Keep a lookout for content on RICS social channels, and register to attend a showcase event at Great George Street in London.
I look forward to working with you very soon on these and the many other initiatives that RICS members are leading to create positive impact the world over.