First came WBEF Week, which I always see as a highlight of the calendar to begin the year. It sets the agenda for the coming 12 months, outlining the factors and forces that are at play in the built environment.
More importantly though, with the insightful perspectives of its invariably stellar speakers and the thoughtful contributions from our global audience, WBEF Week helps us understand how we as professionals can successfully navigate change.
I always find the presentations and conversations enlightening and I came away with a much clearer sense of the issues we are facing and a great appreciation for the talent our profession can bring to bear. President-Elect Tina Paillet FRICS spoke about the policy context for action on climate change focussed on retrofit, and I enjoyed discussing the challenges of delivering affordable housing in a carbon neutral way with my fellow panellists.
The agenda for the week was wide-ranging and indicative of the scope that professionals working in the built environment cover. I hope that you also left feeling inspired by the good we can do in addressing the great environmental and societal challenges that our profession is tasked with solving.
This month I also dropped in on the UK’s Birmingham office to officially open the newly configured member space there. During my visit I met the many enthusiastic local RICS members and staff, many of whom worked together to deliver this great new space. It will undoubtedly foster conviviality and collaboration as we return to in-person events. I was also fortunate while in Birmingham to be given a tour of the newly renovated Commonwealth Games site, an amazing example of multi-dimensional problem solving at its best. This will be a huge asset for the community and, indeed, the nation for generations to come. Many congratulations to the project team.
I am sure I will encounter many more examples of our members’ achievements like this in my year as President, and I cannot wait to meet more of you around the world in such settings very soon.
Finally, I am grateful to the many members and guests who were able to attend the gathering at RICS' London office to mark my inauguration as President. It was a great honour to be surrounded by so many supporters of the Institution, and, as I have written previously, to feel almost palpably the weight of history embodied in the building where our professional story began over a century-and-a-half ago.
I spoke to members and guests gathered there about how keen I am to work with them to extend the positive impact we make on our world. One of my goals as President is to create more opportunities for members to contribute to the welfare of their community by giving of their skills and time.
Outgoing President Clement Lau also made a very gracious introduction, and I am deeply thankful to him for his kind words and his service to RICS, both as President and previously in the many roles through which he has contributed to the vitality and resilience of our profession. Speaking to guests, I was again struck by the range of people and projects that come together under the single banner of our profession and how that uniquely positions RICS to meet the challenges of the future.
It is clear from all my conversations and encounters, both online and in person, that our professional family is alive with a passion for making a meaningful difference to the world through our work. I begin this year invigorated at the prospect of what we can do together, as I hope you are in your professional and personal lives, and I look forward to seeing or hearing from you at an RICS event very soon.
“I cannot wait to meet more of you around the world very soon” Ann Gray FRICS, RICS President