Black women in real estateDigital Manager
You can’t be what you can’t see! It is a simple and powerful message. Why?
Because it is true; there are only five ethnic minority and seven female chief executives of FTSE 100 companies since 2017. So if we are not seeing enough women, let alone black women, in leadership positions within real estate, how would other black women know that it is an industry for them where they can aspire and climb the career ladder. As a black woman my background and experience is not reflected within Real Estate at every level. I can’t point to anybody at any level and say that someone who looks like me is truly represented. This is partly because I am a woman but mostly because I am black. Yet, our industry does impact all types of people.
I was inspired to enter the industry by a novel ‘As Stars Shine Down’ by Sidney Sheldon where the protagonist, Lara Cameron, is an Architect turned Property Developer, who dominates a traditionally male industry. I read this book at 11 years old and was inspired by the strength and determination of Lara, and understood what I wanted to achieve in my own career. I studied architecture with dedication, pursued my career with ambition and when I got to a certain level in my career and looked up, I realised that I was not seeing many people like me. It was from this moment that Black Women in Real Estate (BWRE) was born.
I started BWRE because of the desire to meet other black women in the industry as I struggled to find women like me in my immediate network. As an underrepresented group, it is not common for black women to cross paths in their daily work life, BWRE creates the opportunity for them to create a supportive network across the industry. Since November 2019 BWRE has cultivated a sisterhood through regular virtual calls and meet ups (Covid-19 permitted) every 2 months at various locations, to discuss work but also their personal endeavours. They support members with APC interviews, CV reviews and broader career advice and host personal and professional development workshops.
Real Estate, as an industry, is far reaching and touches the lives of every type of person. The sector has a responsibility to be reflective of the communities that it impacts and ultimately serves. There are many ways in which the sector falls short of this responsibility, but BWRE wants to start by addressing the issue of under representation of diversity by creating spaces for Black Women to Connect, Empower one another and Grow our reach and influence through a combined voice.
Hanna Osundina, a Senior Development Manager for East Wick and Sweetwater Ltd