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Meadhbh McClean

Chief Operating Officer, CBRE

Promoting diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) is not just good for providing great places to work — it makes business sense.

Meadhbh McClean, Chief Operating Officer for CBRE Ireland Advisory and co-chair for their Women’s Network is passionate about helping create an inclusive workforce. “We are at our best when people from different backgrounds and experiences work together and share diverse perspectives,” she says.  

Promoting inclusion throughout the company 

“The real estate industry is predominantly male and from a particular socioeconomic background. Real estate companies, like CBRE, are committed to creating a balanced workforce and increasing gender diversity, especially at senior levels,” says McClean. 

“But it is not just about gender diversity, we want to encourage people from various backgrounds to consider real estate as a career option. Through the Inspiring the Future programme, we provide work experience to transition year students, encourage non-property graduates to join our graduate programme and work closely with our community partner Robert Emmet Community Development Project.”  

However, this is not enough. Employees need to feel they are working in an inclusive environment. “That is why our inclusive policies, Employee Business Resource Groups and networks are important. It is about giving people a network where they feel comfortable being themselves,” she says.  

I am lucky as I have a lot of support from
both my company and my family.

Removing barriers to women’s success 

As a mother of three, McClean shares her personal experience and the effect it can have on career development: “I am very ambitious, but I also wanted a family, and it all happened at the same time. You can get overlooked after taking time out; for some women, this was exacerbated by Covid-19.”  

“It is difficult having a young family and career. There are so many demands, and it is hard to find time for yourself. I am lucky as I have a lot of support from both my company and my family,” she adds.  

We are the global leader in commercial real estate services and investments.

Policies and groups supporting women and their rights 

Pre-Covid-19, CBRE launched its enhanced Family Friendly Policy and, more recently, a Menopause Policy and Domestic Abuse Policy. Moreover, the Women’s Network — set up by McClean and her colleague Ann-Marie O’Byrne — aspires to attract and retain the most talented women, develop their skills and aid their success in the company and real estate industry.  

“A key focus this year is on ‘men as allies,’ and I am happy to say, we have a lot of men in our network. Men want to support women to grow in our business, and they are all keen to learn how to do this. We are united in the pursuit to make the company a more rewarding place — not just for women but for everyone,” McClean concludes.  

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