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News & opinion

9 JAN 2019

Surveyors recognised for outstanding contributions

Two prominent chartered surveyors have been recognised in the Queen’s New Year honours list 2019.

Bola Abisogun FRICS, CEO of Urbanis, has been made Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his services to Diversity and Young People in construction.

Ann Allen FRICS, Executive Director of Estates and Commercial Services at the University of Glasgow, has been made Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) for her services to higher education.

I am delighted that both Bola and Ann have been recognised for the significant contribution that they have made to British society. This is fantastic recognition for them personally, but also for the role that this profession makes to shaping the world in which we live. My congratulations go to both worthy recipients

Sean Tompkins

Awarded for services to diversity

Bola Abisogun’s pursuit to encourage greater ethnic diversity in construction led to him founding a construction and project management business, UrbanIS in 2003 with the aim of delivering inclusive solutions through the engagement of ‘hard to reach’ groups in and across inner-city London boroughs.

Dedicated to improving opportunities for all

Over the past 16 years, the firm has grown and established two US companies, and Bola has dedicated himself to working with, and encouraging industry leaders, academics, MP’s and professional bodies to improve engagement and opportunities for BAME (Black Asian Minority Ethnic) professionals in construction.

As part of this, Bola established a highly successful peer-to-peer network - DiverseCity Surveyors – in 2006 to offer quality advice and support services, as well as educational training and CPD, to BAME surveyors who are members of RICS, irrespective of their physical location.

Invited to number 10

Last year, the Board of DiverseCity Surveyors were invited to a roundtable discussion at 10 Downing Street, where they spoke with Mr Nero Ughwujabo, the Prime Minister’s Special Advisor on social justice, young people and opportunities, about their future aspirations for the profession, and the importance of inspiring the next generation of diverse talent.

Committed diversity champion

Amongst Bola’s other diversity commitments, he is actively involved with the Black Training and Enterprise Group (BTEG), through its Ethnic Minority Role Model Programme and is the Chair of the London Advisory Board’s ‘Moving on Up’ initiative (funded by Trust for London and the City Bridge Trust). Moving on Up aims to create sustainable employment opportunities, in higher earning industries, for young black men.

Bola is also a regular media spokesperson on issues around diversity and inclusion, including the need for ethnicity pay gap legislation.

Commenting on his OBE, Bola said: “I am truly humbled to receive an OBE.  When I first heard I was to receive it, I felt compelled to immediately place this honour at the feet of every client and young person that has taken a leap of faith in me amidst my advice to them”.

“There is so much talent out there but very few ‘accessible’ opportunities, across the UK, particularly in London. All I have ever wanted to do was afford each and every young person, a bona-fide opportunity to realise their own individual potential by simply connecting with 'their purpose'.”

Barry Cullen, RICS Director of Diversity & Inclusion commented: “We’re delighted that Bola’s hard work and long-standing commitment to encourage greater ethnic diversity in the industry has been recognised with an OBE. He is a remarkable and inspirational role model that has proven that a career in the built environment is for people from all backgrounds and experiences and that there are many opportunities in the industry for talented individuals.”

Abolade Abisogun
Abolade (Bola) Abisogun