Diversity and inclusion have been a part of the CREW Network mission since we formed—but is at the forefront of our mind these days. This comes as no surprise given recent societal events, which demand the attention of every leader with the power to not only make change—but to insist on it. I am proud to say that in 2019, the CREW Network board began the conversation about expanding our lens beyond gender—to include race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion and disabilities—into our mission of advancing women in commercial real estate.
Our board identified three key areas to focus on: chapters, leadership and governance. In October 2019, we appointed our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force (DEI Task Force), which brings together the collective wisdom of our members to develop the tools and resources chapter leaders need to be intentional about DEI. Our goal is to give chapters the ability to build greater diversity in our membership and increase equal opportunity for engagement and leadership.
The CREW Network DEI Task Force, appointed in October 2019.
We are also committed to ongoing DEI training for our leadership, including the board, staff and chapters. Fundamental and systemic change starts at the top of an organization; therefore, we are undertaking a comprehensive review of our governance policies and procedures. Our approach includes an investment of significant time and resources to deliver effective continuing education and training so that our culture reflects our commitment to DEI. It is my hope that every woman in commercial real estate finds CREW Network a welcoming culture with a pervasive commitment to inclusion and engagement.
We will host two Virtual Conversation Corners in the upcoming months: one focused on race/race relations and the other on LGBTQIA. At our upcoming virtual Convention, we will host three DEI sessions in multiple learning formats: DEI Conversation Corner—an open dialogue for questions, answers and sharing; CREWXChange—an intimate discussion with limited seats; and our Mega Session, featuring a DEI thought-leader.
To execute the initiatives noted, we will engage multiple experts in DEI, and will work in partnership with our members and leadership to help us deliver on our commitment to create an exceptional organization focused on advancing women in commercial real estate.
On a personal note, I know we have just begun our journey. Each time we venture beyond what we know—we learn, grow and flourish. I believe that CREW Network will flourish in the months and years ahead as we unite in our efforts. This is not an overnight process. It has been and will continue to be a consistent effort throughout our network as we collectively ensure that our diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives bring a greater vibrancy and dynamism to our organization. I walk this path with you.
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Wendy Mann is the chief executive officer of Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Network and president of the CREW Network Foundation.