As we celebrate Black History Month our Black colleagues are sharing with us their journey into the property industry and how we can build a more inclusive environment. In this blog senior surveyor Adrian Temple, a senior transactions manager in our EMEA Occupier Services team, tells us about why Black History Month is important to him and what advice he gives graduates.
What does Black History Month mean to you?
Black History Month is a time to reflect, recognise and honour those who have paved the ways for us and their contributions. It is an opportunity to learn more about other Black cultures in addition to my own, and it is a way to connect and network with others. It is also a great time to indulge in the arts and festivals.
Can you tell us about your heritage?
My heritage is Jamaican. Jamaica is the third-largest island of the Greater Antilles and the largest English-speaking territory. The island is divided into three counties – Cornwall, Middlesex, and Surrey. These are then subdivided into 14 parishes in which my family are from the most southern parish: Clarendon. It is a small island in the Caribbean well known for reggae music (Bob Marley especially), the worlds’ fastest sprinters, rum, beautiful beaches, and jerk cuisine.
The theme of Black History Month in 2021 is ‘Proud to be’, what are you most proud of?
I am most proud to be able to provide mentorship to others from similar backgrounds that are interested in commercial property but do not have the connections or networks to map their way into this industry. Before I became LinkedIn savvy, it was hard to find other Black professionals in the industry and now I am just happy that I can be of assistance to students and graduates that reach out.
How did you get into this career?
Long story short, I have always been interested in property but saw it as a hobby I would develop once my career as a professional footballer had taken off and I had acquired my millions of pounds in the bank. Following a change in speed and direction (multiple injuries), I took some time out and looked into fast-tracking my prime central London residential development portfolio. I found a university to study my real estate undergraduate course and the rest was history. I did not actually know what a surveyor was until my first year of the course, nevertheless, I graduated and joined a graduate scheme at a firm and have not looked back since.
What advice would you offer young Black people considering property as a career?
Research lots of companies and roles to find what you are most interested in. Then try to map out how you will get yourself from point A to point B i.e. what are the grade requirements you will need, etc. Property is a very social industry, so I can assure you there is always an event going on somewhere, so networking events are a great way to meeting people, ask questions and make connections. Finally, get as much exposure to the industry as possible through internships and general work experience – it’s a great way to find out about the different positions and teams in the industry.
What can Colliers and the wider sector do to improve diversity?
I am still quite new to the business so it’s hard to say at this point. What I can say is when I apply for any job, the first thing I do is check the company website to look at all the staff photos, press releases, blogs etc. What I am hoping to find is some sign of diversity or even initiatives that do not come across like a corporate ‘tick-box’ exercise. I found quite a lot of positive material on Colliers’ website and LinkedIn and felt comfortable proceeding with an interview. I would recommend Colliers continues doing what it’s doing, building out its platform and sharing the ambition for more diversity in the business.