The Commercial Real Estate Equity and Diversity Council (CREED), a non-profit, non-partisan organization, has developed a practical guide for change that leaders can follow to enhance and evolve their workplaces. It establishes a business case for integrating diversity and equity in the workplace, provides tips and guidance for developing a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategy and offers advice for improving a company’s talent management system, including the importance of education and continuous learning, the organization says.

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“While some organizations may have had deep and powerful conversations about these issues, there has been a lack of resources providing guidance on how to achieve these goals,” says CREED visionary leader Chandran Fernando of Matrix360 Inc.

Following the release of the playbook, The Evolution of Workplaces: Building a Culture of Excellence, CREED created a TV news show-style virtual event that can be viewed here. It features a panel discussion with commercial real estate leaders including Sonny Kalsi, CEO at BentallGreenOak; Andrea Del Zotto, director and executive vice president at Tridel; Pino Di Mascio, head of impact strategy and delivery at Dream; Sunita Mahant, head of global initiatives and senior director at Ivanhoe Cambridge and moderated by Celina Caesar-Chavannes, senior advisor, EDI initiatives and adjunct lecturer at Queen’s University, as they explore the challenges that exist currently and steps needed to make positive, actionable changes.

The event also features a stereotype and beliefs exercise to show what happens when people judge a book by its cover.

Recognizing that education will be an integral tool in achieving DEI goals, CREED also launched a website for learning and can recommend professionals for learning and development.

“As our communities become more and more diverse, it is imperative that we look within our companies to ensure that the insights that inform our work represent the communities that we serve. This only starts with a strong, diverse talent pool,” says Leona Savoie, CREED co-founder and senior vice president, development at Hullmark.

CREED says in the commercial real estate development industry, less than 14 per cent of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) groups are in C-suite positions; less than 34 per cent of people who identify as women are in senior, executive or C-suite positions; less than five per cent of those employed in commercial real estate identify as members of the LGBTQ2S+ community; and less than one per cent of those employed in commercial real estate identify as persons with disabilities.

“We believe leaders need to recognize and prioritize the value of diversity in order to be competitive and retain stakeholders’ engagement,” says Fernando. “At CREED, we want to act as a catalyst to initiate change through measurable programs. Through the playbook and other initiatives, we can help commercial real estate leaders take action by following our tips and guidance for developing their own diversity and equity strategies in their workplaces.”

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