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NAEA conference just "old white men with grey hair" says online boss

The head of an online agency has accused the National Association of Estate Agents’ conference of being “a sea of old white men with grey hair.”

The NAEA met for its annual conference in London at the end of last week.

Sam Mitchell, former lettings chief of Rightmove and now the chief executive of HouseSimple, made the accusation on Twitter.


He wrote: “Sat at the NAEA conference, it’s a sea of old white men with grey hair. Not sure this is the future of innovation.”

Mitchell was challenged in a friendly way by NAEA vice-president and former Humberts boss Ian Westerling, who tweeted: “I don’t think the sight of grey hair should be seen as a negative thing, Sam. NAEA Propertymark have also got a great apprenticeship scheme focussing on the next generation.” 

Mitchell - who says he is himself in the “no hair camp” - retorted that his initial observation referred to “the lack of diversity and risk of group-think.”

The NAEA had Katie Griffin of Sawdye & Harris as its president until last summer and has Lauren Scott of Newcastle-based agency Trading Places as its president-elect. 

A spokeswoman for the association told Estate Agent Today over the weekend: “The programme for [the] NAEA Propertymark Conference was packed with content from a range of speakers, addressing business survival and growth, while promoting practical tools, resources and solutions to the challenges agents face on a day to day basis. However, we are always looking for ways to improve the National Conference and take all feedback on board.”

You can see the tweets below:

Mitchell's original tweet.

NAEA conference just "old white men with grey hair" says online boss

This drew a response from Westerling, which Mitchell himself then responded to. 

NAEA conference just "old white men with grey hair" says online boss

Poll: Is this a fair description of the NAEA?


  • Richard Copus

    What a load of rubbish. Ok, I might have grown some grey hair over the last few years, but most of the dinosaurs have gone after the re-organisation of the Association which has resulted in increased membership, almost entirely from practitioners under 35 years of age. Katie Griffin was not exactly ancient at 40 something and the president-elect is in her thirties. The new apprenticeship scheme is bring snapped up by a lot of companies and the education department runs some excellent courses (although it does little to encourage estate agents to move up market with most of ts courses now mainstream only).

    Fake news!


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