We Meet…Andrea Carpenter, Co-Director, Women Talk Real Estate
This October, we were delighted to speak with Andrea Carpenter, co-director of Women Talk Real Estate. The innovative platform that launched this summer aims to increase of female professionals across Europe through stage and media.
Andrea previously worked as a Head of Marketing and Communications EMEA at CBRE Global Investors, overseeing corporate and programme marketing, press, branding and communications. From her time as a journalist at Property Week and the editor of EuroProperty seven years later to her work with industry bodies, and as a writer and consultant today, Andrea has had a varied and accomplished career in communications.
As a proud sponsor of this practical non-profit initiative to improve gender diversity, we were keen to discuss what sparked the idea of Women Talk Real Estate, and what more can be done to enact change:
- Why do you think women still struggle to have a voice in the property industry and what can be done to change this?
Naturally we’re a minority so it’s harder for our voice to be heard. For us, it’s all about improving representation in the property industry, and we recognise that increasing visibility can really help contribute to this.
As a generalisation, women prioritise getting their head down, doing the work and building their career rather than also becoming more visible and building up a public persona and a public profile. If we see more women on stage and in the media, it's improving their business opportunities, providing roles models so hopefully encouraging more women into the industry.
- Was there a particular event or situation which first sparked the idea of Women Talk Real Estate?
I moderated an event a year ago, and just 3 women appeared on the stage during a packed programme. That was a point of frustration, so Viktorija [Grubesic, co-founder] and I looked at developing an initiative to find practical ways of improving representation for women. It was important for us to contribute, again practically, in what is a male-dominated industry.
- How has the community responded since you launched the platform?
It has been fantastic. We now have close to 300 women in our database, which proves that women want a voice. Our business helps event organisers, who have struggled to find expert women speakers in the past. There is pressure on them to host diverse events, so offering a universe of female experts for speaking opportunities should help the property events industry and the visibility of women in the industry as a whole.
- You have worked in the UK and in Europe. Have you noticed any distinct differences in these markets, in terms of the representation of women and opportunities for women in property?
There are parts of continental Europe where there is a better representation of senior women, France and the Nordics, for example. This could be because of long-standing cultural approach to diversity. However, it’s a pan-European issue just to different degrees. You could argue that some have evolved more quickly than others, but we’re tackling this from a European perspective.
- What advice would you give to women in property who are new to property events and lack the confidence to network?
It can be daunting when you enter an event which is all male, you sometimes need to take a deep breath! But it does get easier. If you want to build your profile, I’d recommend looking internally first for chances to speak and network. We encourage women to attend our training courses to prepare for speaking opportunities. Look at speaking opportunities and networking as an important part of your job. There are some great networking events for women to help you boost your confidence, and the groups like ULI Young Leaders or INREV Young Professionals are doing great events for education and networking.
- What’s your biggest confidence booster before you get up on stage?
Firstly, tell yourself that you’re an expert and that walking up on a stage doesn’t diminish that. It’s important to remember that everyone in the audience wants you to do well, it’s not a hostile environment at all. Remember that people are interested in what you have to say, and you’ll be fine.
LD Events Property is delighted to be a founder sponsor of Women Talk Real Estate as part of our continued quest to offer a platform to more professional women at our events.