I was honored to be selected and serve as 2017 Co-Chair of CREW Network’s Industry Research Committee. CREW Network is the world’s leading researcher on women in commercial real estate.
A number of notable organizations have conducted research proving that diverse organizations across all industries exhibit stronger financial performance. Further, diverse teams are more innovative. Past CREW Industry research has shown that women in the commercial real estate industry suffer from an income gap that is even greater than the overall U.S. income gap. If diverse firms perform better than non-diverse, it is incumbent upon commercial real estate firms to step up their diversity efforts.
In 2017, CREW Network selected 10 firms in the commercial real estate industry to profile for case studies on gender equity. The case studies outline the organizations’ representation of women employees, top executives, and board members, as well as notable employee programs, networking and interest groups, mentoring and sponsorship programs, and flexible work arrangements. Company sizes ranged from 30 employees to more than 77,000. Our committee sought to identify programs that less diverse organizations could learn from and could emulate.
As a committee member, I had the opportunity to interview two of the selected firms. I was impressed and inspired by my discussions with representatives from those firms. Their passion for diversity and inclusion was palpable, and their business results were impressive. While our committee’s agenda was focused on advancing women in the industry, we found that each firms’ efforts expand well beyond gender equality. The companies in our paper made overall diversity—the inclusion of traditionally underrepresented groups–a business priority.
The successful firms found that not only do they need to have their diversity efforts written and visible to all employees; they need to create an environment where diverse individuals can thrive. I was particularly inspired by KeyBank’s goal of encouraging all employees to bring their authentic selves to work.
Brokerage firm SVN’s CEO Kevin Maggiacomo shared his goal for diversity, which sets the tone for all CRE firms: “We need to recruit and develop leaders from 100% of the population, not just the 50% that are men.”
About GRS Group
GRS Group is a leading provider of commercial real estate (“CRE”) services worldwide. With offices across the United States, Europe, and affiliates around the globe, GRS Group provides local market knowledge with a global perspective for institutional real estate investors, occupiers and lenders worldwide. The GRS Group team has evaluated and advised on over $1 trillion in CRE transactions.
Through the company’s proprietary management process, Global Services Connection, GRS Group delivers an integrated suite of services including Financial Advisory, Transaction Management, Assessment and Title Insurance. We provide a single point of contact, capable of leveraging the GRS Group portfolio of companies and delivering customized solutions to assist our clients in achieving their investment goals.