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Why diversity matters in proptech

By Orana Durney-Benson
24 November 2023 | 9 minute read
david bowie nadya corne nikki steadman gwen dagg reb gnh6b4

Proptech leaders assert that “there’s more to be done” when it comes to achieving gender equality in the sector.

Across Australia, gender parity in management roles is still far from being realised, and the proptech sector is no exception.

“Our industry needs more diversity,” stated David Bowie, managing director for MRI Software Asia Pacific.

“I strongly believe there are better business outcomes when an organisation embraces diversity, and I’m very open to sharing research alongside our own experiences to encourage others towards gender parity.”

With three new top female executives recently added to its Asia Pacific team – vice president of talent management Nadya Corne, senior director Nikki Steadman, and director Gwen Dagg – MRI Software believes it is on the right track to providing industry peers with a model of gender equality.

Nevertheless, Ms Corne acknowledged that there is still work to do, stating that “through internal succession planning and external recruitment, I’m confident we’ll close remaining gaps”.

In her new role as talent management VP at MRI Asia Pacific, Ms Corne stated she plans to roll out “education and training around the Australian government’s Respect at Work legislation” starting from December 2023.

“Together with ongoing professional development, peer networking and mentoring, we hope to set a positive example to our industry as a place of personal safety and professional success for everyone,” she said.

MRI’s vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), Carol Lewis, echoed the sentiments of the Asia Pacific team.

“Making sure we’re listening to the voices of every community and leveraging their insights to create a better working environment – as well as products and services that resonate across more audiences – is crucial to helping us sustain a diverse and inclusive business that reflects the communities we serve,” Ms Lewis emphasised.

She stated: “We’re invested in DEI because this is what connects the world – where people live, work and play – in a more meaningful way.”

Across Australia, women currently make up 19.4 per cent of CEOs, 32.5 per cent of key management positions and 18 per cent of board chairs, according to data from the federal government.

Proptech is positioned at the intersection of two historically male-dominated industries: property and STEM. In the 2023 Champions of Change report, key players from both sectors reported an improvement in gender equality since 2022, but both identified areas for continued improvement.

Over the next 12 months, Champions of Change from the Property and STEM groups plan to continue addressing workplace sexual harassment, facilitating equal parental leave and growing the talent pool for future female leaders.

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