WiredScore's Director of France discusses future of women in Proptech

CRE Tech, CRE Tech Leaders | Marie Escaich on March 08, 2017

WiredScore’s France launch kicks off on March 9, 2017 with an exciting panel event lead by Director of France, Tamara Brisk.

Tamara has been initiating change in the real estate industry for over ten years, beginning with her first venture, Paris Deluxe Rentals before joining WiredScore in 2016. Tamara is a proud risk taker and revenue driver at early start-ups, as well as an impassioned advocate of gender diversification and a self-proclaimed maths nerd.

As a leader bridging the divide between commercial real estate and technology, I sat down with Tamara to hear her opinions on women in Proptech.

Which Proptech innovation is going to revolutionise commercial real estate?

The recent innovation of breaking up traditional long term leases has been a really interesting concept to enter the property market. In retail, technology platforms which act like “Airbnb for retail” and allows for temporary short time leases make a lot of sense. The investment required for retailers to have a storefront is so onerous that many retailers don’t do it and lots of creators will instead opt to have pop ups. There is a tremendous appetite to move away from rigid lease terms for all types of property (AirBnB, WeWork, Breather etc). Businesses and platforms that enable lease bulk-breaking help start-up companies as they get off the ground and allow flexibility for businesses to grow.

How do you think we can get more women in Proptech?

Interestingly, while commercial real estate and the technology industry has severely underrepresented women as a whole, Proptech is potentially one of the best tech sectors for women. For a very long time we have associated the home and residential real estate with women, and subsequently many real estate agents are female. If you look at the examples of Airbnb and One First Stay, we know that these businesses have been quick to incorporate technology and rapidly scale. There is already a huge talent pool of women who have lots of real estate experience. Much of this residential real-estate experience can be extrapolated to Proptech firms which are also active in the commercial RE market.

Who in the industry has inspired you?

I think Marie-Laure De Sousa, Director of JLL France, is incredibly inspiring. She is at the head of one of the most well-known agencies and she is definitely not resting on her laurels. Her projects are forward-thinking and innovative, for example she has just installed a 360° degree map room in the agency where you can virtually visit 1000 buildings in Paris. She is also very accessible which is rare for someone who is so in demand. She makes time for people and is always approachable and warm. I think she possesses a very interesting, feminine leadership quality where she often brings team members into meetings and encourages them to discuss their expertise and accomplishments.

How does France compare to other countries in taking gender diversification initiatives?

As always, there is more which can be done but I think one has to give credit to France. France is fantastic to mothers with some of the best maternity leave policies and largely paid for daycare which allows mothers to work. France consistently has one of the highest representation rates for women in the workplace in Europe, and particularly the percentage of mothers in the labour force is still very high compared to other countries.

Recently, there have been several very high profile women in the Government representing tech. Fleur Pellerin the previous Government Minister for SMEs, Innovation and the Digital Economy presented the “French Tech” initiative in 2013 to encourage French startups to flourish. Similarly, Axelle Lemaire took over the digital portfolio from Pellerin as the Secretary State in charge of Digital, and passed the law for a digital republic. In property, Meka Brunel recently became the CEO of France’s largest office developer, Gecina. These are women in visible positions of leadership in our sector; we are seeing a move in the right direction, France just needs to keep this momentum.

What would you say is the number one investment the Government should make to promote gender diversity in male dominated subjects?

The answer is simple: start women doing maths earlier. I’m a maths nerd and when I was a child I thought playing with maths puzzles was an entertaining game; we need to be making sure that we are making maths fun for girls. Everyone would benefit if we could debunk some of the stereotypes around technology and STEM subjects and enable all genders, age groups and people from varying social backgrounds to work with technology and to get excited about maths. The experience a young girl has with maths when she is in primary school sets the stage for her approach to technical subjects later on in life.

If we take engineering as an example, it is incredibly counterproductive to consider the specialist knowledge that engineers are taught as so inaccessible to the rest of the population. Engineering is not a mysterious dark art. In Proptech, technical and non-technical team members have to work together to solve problems and deliver value.

One of the great things about Wired Certification is that we straddle structural engineering and telecom engineering. We encourage experts from both fields to share knowledge with each other, and we then make that information digestible for landlords and tenants so they understand the digital capacity of their building. We have modelled the Wired Certification formula for a building to be “gold” or “silver” as a way to give visibility to something that was opaque. Men and Women, technical and non-technical employees at WiredScore work together to render something extremely complex, simple. No organization should promote or tolerate siloes.

WiredScore France will be launching tomorrow at The Cloud Business Centre in Paris. Want to certify your commercial property in France or learn more about Wired Certification? Contact us today.

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