Michele Steel

Embracing Diversity: Upping the FOMO factor at MIPIM

Regeneration Brainery was honoured to attend MIPIM 2024 as a guest of the event organiser, RX Global UK. This year, heightened efforts were made to encourage diversity, including implementing a policy ensuring at least one woman on panels with more than three speakers, initiating the MIPIM Challengers programme which sponsored 16 individuals under 30 to attend the conference expenses paid, and extending support to organisations such as Regeneration Brainery to participate, for which we are extremely grateful, writes Michele Steel, chief executive at Regeneration Brainery. 

MIPIM is clearly on a journey – and the scene certainly looked more diverse this year within the conference itself, with more women than I’d previously seen in attendance (especially on the MIPIM stages where 43% of speakers were female) and probably a slight increase in ethnic diversity. The latter was still very low-level and very much under-represented, much like the industry itself.

It’s not all changed of course. Beyond the confines of the conference, the streets of Cannes (particularly the crowd favourite Caffe Roma) were awash with the epitome of the stereotypical MIPIM attendee – a white male wearing a blue blazer, sunnies surgically attached to his face (the weather was great in all fairness). The memo on gilets and white trainers has travelled far too.

But there’s only so much the organisers of MIPIM can do (and they can’t do anything about the non-passholders). It’s down to organisations sending their delegations to look at how they pitch MIPIM to their teams.

Has anyone attempted a staff survey to gauge perceptions about MIPIM? I’m curious to know what aspects might deter participation, particularly for individuals with parental responsibilities, those who abstain from alcohol, or introverts who find the prospect of constant networking over five days hellish. Do they not go? What might persuade them to do so?

I would also like to know ways to make MIPIM a more appealing opportunity. For instance, could offering shorter stays be a viable option, despite the high cost of a delegate pass? This year, some were boasting about being in bed before midnight, others about doing MIPIM dry. How does this become more mainstream? It was welcome to see more events challenging some of the standard MIPIM formats, including activity-based events like swimming, cycling, hiking, yoga, and padel. It would be great to see an increase in different options.

Just a thought – perhaps initiating discussions now about MIPIM 2025 will generate a greater appeal among those whose interests don’t naturally align with the traditional view of MIPIM.
Understanding people’s needs and then working to accommodate them is the only way to increase diversity at the event. This also does not need to get in the way of doing MIPIM really well – having great conversations, networking, learning, and doing business.

We did just that – the Regeneration Brainery Ambassadors got to meet some of the biggest names in property; take learnings away from global cities and showcases; and have a voice during panel discussions – whilst also grilling some of our city leaders on the issues that are important to them.

Two small anecdotes. Ahead of MIPIM, we talked about what Team Regeneration Brainery would wear to MIPIM. Branded T-shirts and hoodies were a given. One of our Ambassadors, who is black, asked for the T-shirts not to be black. Given the likelihood of warm weather, he would be unnecessarily hot wearing a dark colour. So, we went with the brightest pink. Not only was it a marketing masterstroke, but more importantly it meant that he felt a little more comfortable than if we’d gone for the standard issue black attire. It was also striking to see the Gen Z Ambassadors drink barely any alcohol at all. They are the future of this industry. Their influence will reach far and wide.



What will that mean for MIPIM 2034? And what might it mean for the future of placemaking?

Without understanding different people’s physical needs and lived experiences, we can’t hope to create places welcoming to all communities. We need those diverse voices within our organisations and out at MIPIM.
If you want to join us in nurturing the next generation of diverse property professionals, get in touch.

  • Michele Steel is the chief executive of Regeneration Brainery
  • Regeneration Brainery Ambassadors Abiola (aged 23), Lewis-James (19) and Jaisie (20) attended MIPIM with the kind support of RX Global UK, Marketing Manchester, Addleshaw Goddard, Civic Engineers, Mace and Place North.


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