In kindergarten, Mrs. Yaple taught us that when she stood and placed her hand on her heart, it was our signal to do so as well. Then she’d wait patiently until someone began saying the Pledge of Allegiance. One girl, Kathy, always knew the words and started it off. We did this every day of the school year.
Then one day, Kathy was absent. When I saw Mrs. Yaple stand and begin to put her hand on her heart, I was panicked. Who would start the Pledge of Allegiance? I realized I could do it—I jumped up and put my hand on my heart and began the words. I was so proud of myself. I remembered! I learned by listening and watching every day.
Later in my years, my Girl Scout pledge also became an oath that I memorized. “I will do my best to be honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate....” As a five-year-old child and a 12-year-old girl, I didn’t understand the oaths I was taking, I just knew it was something important that we said to honor our country and respect the Girl Scout troop.
Think about oaths that you may have taken. A sorority or fraternity oath? Maybe you are in the legal field and you’ve had to take the lawyer’s oath. It means something. It holds weight with those you serve. An oath is something that is respected and honored. Think of the Hippocratic Oath—we all appreciate that doctors honor that, right? They pledge to uphold the highest medical ethical standards.
When CREW Network leaders began talking about asking the industry to pledge to advance women and DEI, we knew that it was something that CEOs would honor and respect. It would be taken seriously. It would be easy to disregard a pledge as just words—but it is so much more. Honorable people honor their commitments. They want to be counted among those who know the pledge (as I did in kindergarten) and live by its code (as I did when I said the Girl Scout pledge).
We now count more than 50 signatories among those who have joined the CREW Network pledge to advance women and DEI in the commercial real estate industry. Is your name on the list? Is your company represented?
I encourage all commercial real estate CEOs to take this step, make this pledge and honor this oath. Together, we will transform the commercial real estate industry.
more CREW View
Wendy Mann is the chief executive officer of Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Network and president of the CREW Network Foundation.