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From Site Selection magazine, November 2023

Growing Toward DEI

Betsy K. Power


AMC members celebrated an exciting few days in Boise recently during our Fall Forum, and I hope you walked away from the conference as energized as I was. I thank everyone for their support as I took the gavel from Karen Shchuka. She has made the transition easy, and I thank her for all of her hard work. 

Hard work, of course, is a staple of the corporate real estate industry, especially in a time awash in transition, from protocols for Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) platforms — and the growing factor that ESG is becoming in rating agency scores — to the explosive growth of technology in the form of artificial intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT). And certainly, on the office side of our lives, there is the issue of adapting to hybrid work schedules and puzzling out our corporate space needs. 

Piled onto these, of course, is the growing movement toward Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). I must congratulate the industry up front for the strides we have made. A look at the IAMC Board of Directors reveals how far women have come, a microcosm of the broader CRE field. If you scan the websites of the corporations our directors represent — Penske, Sonoco and, yes, PepsiCo, to name just three — you will see the commitment that’s being made to advancing the cause of DEI. The same is true, I know, for the majority of our member organizations, a telling sign of how forward-thinking our membership is. 

But, just like those other points of transition, DEI is a journey, not a destination. And certainly there is more all of us can do, not only for women in the industry, but indeed for all underrepresented groups.

It is curious to me how much focus is given to the “E” of ESG, while the “S,” the social aspect, seems to get relatively little play despite all it stands for: Pay equity, the recognition that diverse voices provide broader strategic perspectives and the importance of representing diverse cultures throughout the management ranks — even into the C-suite.

CREW Network’s most recent Benchmark DEI Survey (they perform one every five years) reveals that, “On average, women earn 56% less than men from commissions and bonuses. White women earn 51% less from commissions and bonuses than men, while Black women earn 71%, Asian women earn 73%, and Hispanic/Latinx women earn 74% less than their male counterparts.” (It is also alarming to me how little data there is on groups other than women!)

Happily, the journey continues. I am proud that PepsiCo divisions such as Frito-Lay focus on internships for high school students of diverse backgrounds and orientations, and we are diligently working to source projects to underrepresented contractors.

On this score, I believe passionately that we all need to expand our vendor list of capable minority and women-owned businesses. Of course, work begets work. And what a great calling card it is to say, “I’ve done work for PepsiCo” or some other major corporation. Besides, this is a benefit that services both the contractor and the client since, once the word gets out that you, as a corporate real estate decision maker, put DEI front and center in your hiring practices, your digital Rolodex will explode with the names of qualified women- and minority-owned providers.

But this is just one potential fix and, progress aside, there are clearly still plenty of miles to travel on our road to diversity, equity and inclusion. There is so much that IAMC members can do to ensure that DEI remains front and center. In our next column, we will discuss steps you can take within your organization. Remember, just like any of the other issues of transition, you need to get involved or be left behind.


Betsy K. Power

Chair, IAMC Board of Directors

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