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From Site Selection magazine, May 2021

IAMC Working Hard on Diversity in An Industry with a Ways to Go

Jennifer Roth

The topics of diversity and inclusion are big in the news today but have been explicit in IAMC’s strategic plan for over two years now. The board, committees and staff are committed to these principles. While certainly not new concepts, recent events in the U.S. and elsewhere have put them freshly before us.

“In simple terms, diversity is the mix, and inclusion is getting the mix to work well together,” tells us. “Openness to diversity widens our access to the best talent. Inclusion allows us to engage talent effectively. Together, this leads to enhanced innovation, creativity, productivity, reputation, engagement, and results.”

Focusing on IAMC’s diversity levels, the first question will be “What’s our status now?” The most readily available information we have concerns membership gender ratios. Overall, women account for 30% of membership. Only five years ago, this number was about 20%. So, the direction is progressing, but not nearly to the levels where we should be for a balanced organization.

A recent Wealth Management magazine article said this about commercial real estate industry diversity: “Recent months have been marked by internal and external discussions throughout the industry on how a notoriously white male-dominated industry can improve its diversity and inclusion.” The piece was more generally about CBRE’s promotion of Tim Dismond to Chief Responsbility Officer, responsible for the company’s Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) efforts. Note that Dismond has been invited by IAMC to address a June 21 plenary session of the Fort Worth Professional Forum. We are looking forward to hearing his comments.

In a similar move, minority-owned Mohr Partners has elevated a senior manager to the new role of head of diversity and inclusion. IAMC members CBRE and Mohr have made a splash in pursuit of these principles. But I should say there are other companies with good diversity and inclusion programs that have not been so highly publicized.

Both IAMC’s Membership Committee as well as our Emerging Leaders Task Force actively support growing our diversity and inclusion. The latter group supports recruitment of women and culturally diverse professionals who are beginning their careers in industrial corporate real estate.

As I shared earlier, women are a growing proportion of IAMC members, and, further, I should say four sit on our board of directors. But diversity principles should extend beyond giving women a fair share of the work. Their participation in leadership is equally important. IAMC is committed to recruiting and integrating members from both genders and the full range of cultures, races and sexual orientation communities.

As board chair, I’m committed to this, and I hope you too will throw your support and enthusiasm behind this important effort so that diversity, belonging and equity are visible through the organization’s DNA.

Jennifer Roth
Chair, IAMC Board of Directors

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