AUTHORED BY COLE STERR
Inclusion and diversity efforts are becoming increasingly important in organizations and businesses across the U.S. The importance of these efforts may seem clear-cut: a workplace can be enriched with broader ideas, cultural backgrounds can be recognized, employees may feel more valued, and an organization can outperform others within an industry.
That said, it’s interesting to imagine the possibilities of inclusion and diversity efforts – especially in the real estate sector. Let’s look at why inclusion and diversity initiatives are critical to this multifaceted industry.
The Influence of Real Estate
Commercial real estate development is a critical component of community dynamics. Whether that’s developing an environmentally-friendly building or transforming a gravel pit into a highly usable space, real estate initiatives can have a direct effect on communities and effectuating societal change.
As we welcome a new generation into the workforce, implementing and maintaining inclusion and diversity efforts are necessary to attract the best thinkers and doers in the industry – no matter where they come from.
Reflecting Our Communities
We believe that diversity in the workplace is a gateway to more robust thoughts, actions, and solutions. By acknowledging diversity, we can develop a more inclusive understanding of the communities we serve.
With communities that comprise of many backgrounds, it’s necessary to leverage the workers of these backgrounds and reflect those we serve. Executive Administrator Pequita Jordan adds that diversity is “what creates a greater variety of ideas and ‘outside the box’ thinking where innovation can be achieved.”
By recognizing cultures, appealing to all identities, and realizing how certain developments will affect our communities, more innovative and forward-thinking processes can be achieved and executed to cultivate an inclusive industry.
Imagining the Possibilities
With the recent formation of an Inclusion & Diversity committee, United Properties is making strides to foster a more inclusive and diverse work environment in real estate. We’re increasing awareness by partnering with businesses that are owned by women or individuals of color and hosting internal events to celebrate Black History Month and International Women’s Day. We’re also devoting space on our intranet site to share information about local events and celebrations. Through these efforts, we are raising awareness within our organization about the importance of recognizing cultural backgrounds and reflecting the identities of our communities.
We also sponsor the Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) Real Estate Diversity Initiative (REDi) program, a comprehensive 13-session curriculum for women and professionals of color working in real estate industries aimed at advancing their careers, through mentorship and charitable donations. For its 2018 program, we also donated our Centennial Lakes property for its informational sessions. And, Co-President Eva Stevens has also extended an offered to mentor interested REDi professionals, and some have expressed interest in meeting with her.
This program provides real estate professionals the opportunities for networking and the knowledge needed to experience different components of real estate. For women and people of color, traditional opportunities to expand networks has proven to be challenging because often their networks don’t cross.
While we’re making strides with our initial inclusion and diversity efforts, there is still plenty of work for the commercial real estate industry – and for United Propreties!
We know it’s not enough to simply acknowledge that diversity exists, but to also ensure that initiatives consider how all communities will be represented and affected. It’s also crucial to examine various perspectives and mindsets involved in a decision-making process.
By imagining the possibilities of what diversity looks like in real estate, we can bring different backgrounds, perspectives, and minds together to construct a well-rounded and innovative industry.
United Properties is proud of its work with inclusion and diversity and looks forward to maintaining and building on future efforts to foster a diverse working climate.