Katrina Kostic Samen sets out her manifesto for her Presidential year ahead

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Katrina Kostic Samen sets out her manifesto for her Presidential year ahead

26 Sep 2018

As your new BCO President 2018, I will be focusing on three key areas.

Firstly, to support our brilliant NextGen colleagues, to provide them with an environment to stimulate and challenge; they are, after all, our future leadership. Without our young talent where will we be in 10 years’ time?

I would like to initiate a mentorship programme where seasoned professionals consciously mentor their younger colleagues through various means, whether it be shadowing or a buddy system. It is our responsibility to inspire and create an environment to foster innovation and inclusion. We can only do that if we are prepared to challenge ourselves. We must not retain obsolete procedures and protocols just because they are comfortable - change is all about embracing new challenges and being prepared to think differently. I offer this challenge to you all during my presidency. Please support your rising stars by buying tickets to the NextGen Dinner on 1st November.

The second focus is to support women in our industry. It is clear that, although changes have been occurring for women in property, there is still a huge amount to be done. Women make up only around 13% of the workforce in property and construction. We must be better at creating conditions to attract, support and retain more women. I am pleased that the BCO membership stands at 20% females, but let’s increase this to 30% and consciously include more to join in for events and committees.

My third initiative is to reimagine the BCO acronym to ‘Building Communities for Occupiers’. Sounds simple? Haven’t we been doing this for years? I believe we have been building environments for business, not creating communities. What do occupiers really want? Investors are using an outdated valuation approach based on the past not the future; the 25 year lease is outdated. We need to identify the value in development schemes by addressing people, place and product; not the process.

The workplace should be inclusive and cater for a diverse workforce. It should value the individual and group differences, enable an organisation to embrace the different backgrounds and perspectives of the employees, which will in turn increase their innovation, creativity and contribution. Employees are expected to adapt to the building they work in as opposed to the environment being flexible to meet their human needs. We are multi-dimensional, one size certainly does not fit all and, in order to truly design for people, we need to provide flexibility within the built environment to allow them to perform to their maximum potential.

We are in a constant state of change and businesses who are prepared to embrace a diverse and inclusive journey will be best placed to respond and consciously adapt. We must harness transformation to support the needs of the workforce of the future. Creativity and empathy is the human legacy.

Anyone who knows me and has worked with me knows that I am passionate, passionate about what I do, why I do it, how I do it and with a determination to get it right. I started my design practice to make the voice of the occupier heard and I have not faltered in my efforts to achieve this goal.

The BCO’s reputation for research and best practice is renowned, this year alone we have published 12 reports focusing on workplace design, productivity, innovation and technology. The superb Wellness Matters report was launched this summer, the BCO Technical Guide will be re-launched in March 2019 on a new digital platform. The Occupiers Group has been re-energised by the efforts of Jonathan Turner at Honeywell, and last week Arezou and I kicked off a renewed focus on the Investor Group with Warwick Hunter/Henley Investments.

There are so many areas that are facing rapid transformation – if we do not seize the initiative, we will be left behind. Technology innovation is impacting all aspects of our business from smart buildings and big data to the major transformations occurring within real estate transactions, legal agreements, leases and cryptocurrencies. We must maintain our essential research and best practice and overlay with compelling guidance to assist navigation through these disruptive times.

We must be bold, be brave, and willing to change. Please join me on this journey.

We had a hugely successful BCO conference in Berlin, which sold out in record time with over 650 delegates – a new format a new vigour. Following Berlin, we are pleased to announce that the venue for the 2019 BCO conference is Copenhagen. It has been voted the “Happiest City in the World”, and has also built a reputation for being a great ‘conference city’, it has an enviable history of great architecture and fabulous design, and of course is reputed for its cuisine and work & life balance. Paul Patenall / Senior Vice President is looking forward to welcoming you all; the conference will run from Wednesday 5 June to Friday 7 June 2019. Booking for members will open on 5 November 2018 and for non-members 16 January 2019. Please mark your diaries.

I look forward to meeting you and walking the journey of change together.

Thank you 

Katrina Kostic Samen

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