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 Natalie Gbadero in our Rating team tells us about her heritage, what she is proud of and the advice she has for young Black people considering a property career.
What does Black History Month mean to you?
To me, Black History Month means celebrating my heritage and being proud of the strides that my family and community makes each day. I’m aware that as a Black woman everything I do can be seen as a form of “resilience” in some way, so I’m proud that when I act, I do so with intention.
Can you tell us about your heritage?
I’m Nigerian, both my parents are Yoruba. “Naija no dey carry last!” has become an unofficial national motto and roughly translates to “Nigerians strive to finish first.”
The theme of Black History Month in 2021 is ‘Proud to be’, what are you most proud of?
I’m most proud of my family. I’m the first child and when I was born my parents lived in a B&B and were on a waiting list for permanent housing from the council. Fast forward to now and they both have extremely successful careers and do their best to help others. I’m proud of how my parents taught me to never take no for an answer, but also to never waste time on people or situations that don’t see my value. My parents taught me that I deserve “everything, and nothing less” and I believe that has helped shape me into the woman I am today.
How did you get into this career?
I got into property as my dad is a residential real estate agent, so I used to work with him during the summers. I learned a lot and grew more interested every time I returned and that interest soon turned into a passion. Being immigrants, my parents always stressed the importance of ownership, so property was an industry I was always attracted to.
What advice would you offer young Black people considering property as a career?
I would tell any young Black person to remember that your blackness is not a hinderance, it’s a blessing. Our collective culture is so unique, our community so strong, resilient and beautiful. Believe in yourself and your ability, understand that there will be challenges but don’t let them limit you.
What can Colliers and the wider sector do to improve diversity and inclusion?
Colliers and the property industry as a whole have a long way to go in terms of diversity. I would say that it’s not enough to just say that property is accessible and for everyone, but to prove it. Rather than just visiting schools where kids are given more choice, visit the ones where, due to reasons outside of their control, they may be more limited in their career prospects. Go to the communities directly and prove that this is an industry that accepts everyone. A lot of young people see the property industry as a beacon for gentrification. It’s your job to prove them wrong, to go and show people the good that can be done and the place they can have in the industry.