August 16, 2022


Keri Davis is the CEO of forta comprehensive operations platform for the property management industry.

For countless industries, the theme of diversity, equality and inclusion remains popular, especially during the months that celebrate women and the LGBTQIA+ community. However, once all the PR opportunities have passed, companies have been known to allow these issues to fade again.

For companies that delve deeper into DEI, the benefits for both employees and the employer are tangible, and the return on investment is real. The commercial real estate and proptech industries, specifically, should take a hard look at the value and implementation of DEI.

according to 2020 CREW Network Benchmark Study, women make up only 36.7% of the commercial real estate industry, a percentage that has seen little change over the past 15 years. The study also notes that women still earn less than men, with a consistent 10.2% salary gap and a massive 55.9% gender reward gap in 2020. For Black, Asian, and Hispanic/Latina women, that salary gap is equal. . Wider and cumbersome.

The study – which included a total of 2,930 industry professionals defined as women, men, BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ across all commercial real estate sectors – tells the state of the industry. But the research also shows that consolidation is the obvious cure – indeed, it serves as an advantage for companies. In fact, he notes, companies that diversify outperform others in the areas of profit, governance, innovation, and opportunity.

At Fortress, a property management software company I founded, DEI isn’t just a buzzword. It is part of our mission. For example, our company has more women in senior leadership positions, unlike most CRE and proptech companies. In fact, our entire team embraces diversity across multiple areas – location, perspective, experience, ethnicity, and more.

Why do we make such an effort to incorporate diversity?

1. Culture

We know that variety has a lot of value in the bottom line, but that’s a topic for another day. Equally important to us is the impact of diversity on our corporate culture. Some companies consider DEI by looking only at “back in the seat” or similar percentages, but this is a flawed approach. The end goal shouldn’t be to look good on paper. You can’t be truly diverse if you focus only on stats rather than the potential of every employee sitting at the table. You should embrace a “free-flowing” culture that exists only through genuine dedication to looking for employees because of their differences, not similarities.

2. Transparency

Transparency is one of our core values, and in order to fully embrace that, we ensure our team feels bold to join the conversation or even change it. All companies should urge employees to avoid monotony from early on in joining. You don’t want to find yourself sitting in meetings and nodding at everything that is said. Look for unique insights and real dialogue – even bad ideas. Without them, we are not challenged.

3. Innovation

Bringing together people from different backgrounds has always been the cure for stagnation. Individuals and companies can achieve growth only when they are exposed to new ideas and methodologies. Hire on purpose and bring in people who can challenge the norm – people with diverse backgrounds and experiences because that’s where ideas come in. If you want to grow your company, think more about “all walks of life” rather than “fits the mold.”

4. Communication

You can’t change the conversation while you’re immersed in an echo room. While we all want to feel validated, being “comfortable” usually means ignoring the surroundings. Tunnel vision can be harmful – especially for smaller companies looking to make their mark on the industry. Fostering a corporate culture where each team member is empowered and encouraged to share their opinions has the potential to unlock the true value of diverse perspectives and experiences. In any company, employees should feel empowered to explore the uncomfortable, have bold conversations and feel confident when innovative ideas are brought to the table.

5. Growth

You cannot create movement and growth without diversity, and innovation cannot be found in a room with people of the same gender, race, and background. Published by McKinsey & Company, a company that specializes in diversity and inclusion Many reports The relationship between diversity and the potential for financial superiority has been shown to strengthen over time. Reports consistently highlight the need for industries to create long-lasting inclusive cultures and to promote inclusive behavior for the benefit of all. We’ve spent a lot of intentional time building a team that will continue to meet and exceed our goals. This would not have been possible without our diverse culture, which is something I encourage all businesses to pursue.

A renewed focus on DEI is essential not only to the industries we operate in but to the business world as a whole. For us, making diversity and inclusion a priority has led to a phenomenal corporate culture that embraces transparency, innovation, communication, and growth. With this intentional goal, we can all reap the benefits – both as companies and as individuals.


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