056 Being a RICS Professional in the US with Ann Gray

Ann Gray, FAIA, FRICS is both a licensed architect and real estate broker. Ann founded GRAY Real Estate Advisors in 1995 providing consulting services to property owners, brokers, and land-use attorneys. 

She is a member of the RICS Presidential Team, elected to promote ethical and professional standards worldwide, communicate RICS alignment with UN Sustainable Development Goals, and engage governments and private industry in the value of a consistent high-quality credential.

She currently serves on the RICS Global Governing Council and has been elected to the presidential team on track to assume the presidency in 2022.

RICS in the United States

Based in Los Angeles, California, Ann Gray began her career in architecture, but she quickly shifted to the property business. She talks about what it means to be a RICS professional in the United States, as well as about her experience of serving on the RICS Global Governing Council and having a private business.

“In the United States,” she begins, “all of the property professions are regulated by the government. RICS doesn’t have a regulatory function here, and it functions a lot more like a membership organization. Our goal in the US is to get government and private employers to acknowledge RICS as a valuable and recognized credential, and we’ve been somewhat successful in that. I don’t think we’re ever going to claw back from the government in terms of regulation, but it is important in the private industry to obtain more workforce surveyors through that credential.”

“I felt like I could be useful on the RICS Global Governing Council,” she continues. “I genuinely respected everyone that I had met on staff, and I’ve been a complete fan of the RICS mission globally. In the United States, there isn’t an organization that has such a broad range of professions contained within it, or as you would call it, a profession that has different disciplines. Here everyone has different groups and nobody gets together and shares thoughts and ideas. That’s where my strength as a professional is – I know something about what everybody does, because I work with all of these people through RICS.”

 

Defining our Future Review

RICS Governing Council is currently running a strategic review titled “Defining our Future”. The review builds on existing work covering governance and engagement, and will inform how the elected Governing Council sets the future strategic direction for RICS. All RICS members are invited to share their views and help shape the evolving strategy. Ann talks about the importance of participating in this review. 

“Even before I came onto the Governing Council, the RICS commissioned the Futures Report, which measured all related measurable things in the world in terms of future trends and how that will affect the property professions. “Defining the Future” is a natural outgrowth of this – looking into the future and looking at a global world that’s highly digitized, making sure that RICS stays relevant for its professionals. It’s very important to get feedback from the professional membership on what their life looks like, and where they see it going professionally in the next few years, but also where RICS should be to serve you better in your work.”

Professional Challenges Imposed by Covid

The global pandemic has changed things for a lot of people, including the way we work. Ann talks about the issues she has been facing during this long crisis.

“What came out of “The Futures Report” is that one of the most important trends is that people will be multidisciplinary and trained in several aspects of their profession,” she says. “I found that to be very useful in the last recession, back in the mid 2000s. I noticed that there was less investment in the tail end of the project with the design and the construction, but a lot more investment happening early in the process. Now I found that there’s something similar happening. Projects that were under construction continued with safe protocols on the job sites, but there wasn’t a lot of new construction being launched. On the other hand, anytime there’s a crisis, a lot of litigation support becomes required. So I found myself dealing more with attorney situations. For me as a small business owner, what has really been my salvation is having multiple skills that I can bring to bear whenever I need to make myself useful.”

“One of the hardest things in adapting to this,” she continues, “is that the way that I have always marketed myself is by reputation and personal relationships. I know enough people that they say, oh I’ve got this complex issue, it’s perfect for Ann. But they haven’t thought about me for a year, because I haven’t been going to lunches, lectures, cocktail parties, and whatever it is. In those situations, I’m not promoting myself, I’m just existing. I’ve found that I’ve had to shift my personality to pick up the phone and say, I exist, do you have work? It’s not comfortable at all.”

Working For the RICS Presidential Team

Ann is a member of the RICS Presidential Team which acts as a leading ambassador for RICS. They work in partnership with the CEO to shape the RICS’ thought leadership agenda to address critical issues in the built and natural environment, from urbanisation to technology and climate change. 

“I find that putting myself forward in these situations requires me to do a lot of personal reflection,” Ann explains. “It requires you to assemble all of your qualifications. You look back over your career, and you go, holy smokes, I’m amazing, look at all this stuff I did. And you realize, I deserve this, this is really something. Even if you don’t get it, at the end of the day it’s just such a great process to put yourself through.”

“We’re currently rethinking what The Presidential Team looks like in a digital world, and if we’re all ambassadors, how we can optimize our position on the team, so that you graduate up to more frequent and more prestigious appearances. That requires us to be very team-like, whereas in the past, ambassadors were discrete people that were working their way up and didn’t work as a unit,” she concludes. 

Connect with Ann:

– LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/anngray/

Resources:

– GRAY Real Estate Advisors https://www.gray-advisors.com/

– Defining Our Future https://www.rics.org/fr/about-rics/corporate-governance/defining-our-future/?fbclid=IwAR2D2Jbq-UR1jkGz6Vowg8g9zdq22lHpb5vyUvCwScQmQZZSSjwilYt6XBU

– RICS Presidential Team https://www.rics.org/eu/about-rics/corporate-governance/presidential-team/

– RICS Governing Council https://www.rics.org/eu/about-rics/corporate-governance/governing-council/

– UN Sustainable Development Goals https://www.rics.org/eu/about-rics/responsible-business/un-sustainable-development/

– The Surveyor Hub Community https://www.facebook.com/groups/the.surveyor.hub.bluebox.partners