Creating an Inclusive Space: Why Male Mentors are Vital to Addressing Gender Issues

October 11, 2021
Written by: by Scriba PR
The CREW UK Connects mentoring programme is designed to help people make meaningful connections within the commercial real estate industry, and to support women in overcoming barriers to progression within their careers.
 
But without including men in the conversation, are we really doing our best to address the issues that women face?
 
To build an inclusive space and encourage dialogue, we believe it’s imperative to bring male voices to the table, and that’s why we’re delighted to welcome Nick Giraudeau and Mike Gedye — among others — as mentors on the next round of the programme.
 
See what they have to say about taking part, and why they are drawn to mentoring, in their statements below.
 
Nick Giraudeau, Global Head of Financial Services Sales, WeWork:
 
I have been privileged to work for international organisations that support diversity and seek to give every individual the opportunity to advance through a meaningful and rewarding career. I wanted to be part of the CREW mentorship programme as I recognise the importance of being proactive as a leader, rather than just expecting change to happen.
 
I’ve benefited from mentoring throughout my career and having different perspectives has been key for my development. I’m looking forward to using my experience to support talent from all backgrounds to develop their skills, build their confidence, and explore career opportunities. No matter where you are on the ladder, you never stop learning from those around you, which is why I love how mentoring is a two-way street — I’m also excited to learn from my mentees.

I started out at a time when flexible working options were incredibly limited — the constraints placed on those who choose to work part time or who need to work closer to home and the impact this has on job opportunities are well documented. As I now watch my own daughters enter the workplace in this new era of hybrid working, I want them to know that every career option is open to them and that starts with doing what I can within my chosen sector to support work by organisations like CREW to advance inclusivity.
 
Mike Gedye, Head of EMEA Technology Sector Vertical, CBRE:

I have supported CREW Network for a number of years as an expert and panel contributor, and joined as a full member in 2020. While I have always been keen to promote increased diversity and inclusion across the real estate industry, I particularly enjoyed the fresh thinking and energy that came through the CREW sessions I participated in. Informal mentoring has played a key part in the development of my own career, and I hope that I can share some of my own experiences for the benefit of the next generation.

The true value of mentoring for me is that it is a two-way learning process. I love the opportunity to meet new people, share ideas and coach others through specific challenges they are grappling with, but I also learn as much about myself. Gathering new insights from my mentees has undoubtedly helped me to develop my own management and leadership skills, capturing different perspectives and fresh ideas which I have then been able to apply to my own organisational relationships. 

If living and working through the pandemic has taught us anything, it is that offering choice, diversity and facilitating a more distributed workforce can bring social, organisational, and financial benefits to businesses and their employees. Promoting more diverse ideas and perspectives can also lead to greater innovation, productivity, and performance. There doesn’t need to be a perceived trade-off between greater purpose and profit anymore.

So, if we accept that working practices as we knew them have changed forever, then the industry that delivers workplace services needs to keep pace with this transformation. We are crying out for new skills, fresh talent, and creative thinkers to continue the re-positioning of the industry. This surely offers a great opportunity to encourage the retention, development, and attraction of new talent with increased diversity and inclusivity from minorities at its core. But if you have no points of reference, no established network and — through enjoying the greater benefits of distributed working — spend less time in the office to build internal relationships, then career development can be particularly challenging, and for women and this can be a real disadvantage.

This is where I believe mentoring has a crucial role to play, allowing us to help build increasingly diverse ecosystems and virtual support networks between organisations and sectors to enrich the experiences and opportunities for both mentors and their mentees.