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Giulia Bunting – Reflections on 2017 Presidential Year at Revo

11th December 2017

It has been an honour to be Revo president at this pivotal time for the organisation. These are really exciting and challenging times for retail property and place making – and we are an organisation at the heart of it, now with a name and brand more reflective of the industry we serve.

Our industry is facing probably some of the biggest challenges ever, and I don’t just mean Brexit; that is only part of the story. As well as unprecedented political challenges our industry is going through a major structural upheaval. The speed of change is extraordinary with technology advancing at a fast pace, which most of us not appreciating the likely extent of changing behaviours, practices and how this will affect the way we go about our business and personal lives.

But in spite of the geo political turmoil and market uncertainty Revo has continued to support our members through our influence, insight, benchmarks and networks. And I have thoroughly enjoyed being at the heart of Revo this year. I have attended some great events, study tours, awards ceremonies, conferences and have represented Revo at several industry events. This has really opened my eyes to the breadth of work Revo is involved in and the quality of our activities.

Particular highlights for me include:

  • Being involved in meetings with Ministers, lobbying for policy change on members’ behalf, and promoting the sector internationally including at MIPIM (for the 1st time) and at MAPIC.
  • Progressing the work of Revo as part of the Future High Streets Forum developing plans for promoting best practice in the area of revitalising high streets and regenerating our town and city centres.
  • The success of this year’s revitalised Annual Conference and Exhibition in Liverpool, with the best feedback we’ve had for years.
  • Establishing a new Strategy Board which reflects the wider retail property and place making industry with people on that Board who would never have got involved in our organisation when it was BCSC.

And the one campaign that I have been most passionate about is to create a more inclusive industry, with a focus on access and diversity. And in this area we have made real progress. We have:

  • Played a lead role in the debate about treatment of women in the work place, from pay to behaviour
  • Launched a campaign to give entrepreneurs access to free space in members’ retail destinations, along with business support .
  • Introduced an Accessible Places Week and an Accessibility Toolkit aimed at improving access to retail environments for people with visible and hidden disabilities.
  • With our partner the Revo Educational Trust, developed our education, training and schools engagement programmes.
  • Developed partnerships with key industry bodies including BPF, Real Estate Balance, Women in Property, Freehold and a number of disability charities to promote improved diversity in the real estate industry.
  • Revisited our own internal governance to make sure our Boards, Committees, working groups, juries and all outputs better reflect the diversity of our industry’s customer base.

I am proud of the fact that we exist, to support our members through campaigns like this and I very much look forward to continuing to work with the Board during 2018 on its various activities and programmes as Past President.

Giulia Bunting is Revo President 2017 and Planning Director at GL Hearn.

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