1 July 2014 — Louise Brooke-Smith has been announced president of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, the only female to lead the organisation in its 146-year history.

Ms Brooke-Smith succeeds outgoing RICS president Michael Newey and will use her year-long presidency to focus on three key areas: diversity, Africa, and planning and land economics.

Speaking on her diversity plans, Ms Brooke-Smith said that chartered surveying was a globally recognised profession and the organisation had to ensure it was open to anyone regardless of background or gender.

“We are a proud industry, but have lagged behind others in terms of making the most of a diverse workforce,” she said. “That’s why I’m delighted that RICS ‘Surveying the Future’ campaign will be a pillar of my presidential term and will help drive change across industry to ensure we attract and retain the very best talent.

“I have been elected on my individual merits and not because of my gender. While it might have taken some years, someone has to be first and I am extremely proud that it’s me.”

Ms Brooke-Smith has worked in the industry for almost 30 years and is a director of Brooke Smith Planning, a planning and development consultancy, which she will continue to be involved with. She is also currently an RICS Commissioner for Disaster Management.