CHICAGO: Going Beyond the Diversity Talk
Diversity and inclusion are too often just spoken about, and not acted upon, in commercial real estate. Newly formed EnTrust Tenant Advisors (ETA), the latest venture of EnTrust Realty Advisors (an Alter Group affiliate), plans to change that, SVP Jud Henry tells us. It was formed to rep minority-owned businesses, women-owned businesses, non-profits, and foundations in their real estate decisions, allowing them to work with someone of a similar background. ETA just became exclusive rep of the largest minority-controlled accounting firm in the country, says Jud (pictured with his family, sending adoption papers to Ethiopia for their fourth child, whom they'll bring home next month).
Why aren't minorities more of a presence in real estate? Access to the business is limited (you don't see big firms recruit at historically black colleges) and minorities often can't leverage country club or fraternity networks to enter the industry, Jud says (above, he's on his father-in-law's private island in the Exuma cays, where he brings prospective and existing clients once a year). Being commission-based can also be a turn off. "When you've watched your parents live paycheck to paycheck, the thought of potentially going months without getting paid can be a repellent,” he says. That causes some young minority talent to look for consistent careers like medicine or engineering.