F or the last few years, diversity has been a word tossed around as a lofty initiative at innumerable commercial real estate companies. Yet despite a recognition that minorities are marginalized in the industry, the racial makeup of real estate at the highest levels has not changed demonstrably. Regrettably, black people, a group comprising about 2% of all senior-level positions in the U.S. real estate industry, have also been underrepresented in news publications, including Bisnow.
In the C-suites of commercial real estate, at the boardroom dealmaking sessions and at industry events (including ours), you will see a lot of faces, but you will be hard-pressed to find many black people. We reached out to dozens of black executives from New York, Charlotte, Chicago, Seattle, Washington, D.C., Miami, Houston — and everywhere in between — and granted them anonymity to candidly and forcefully discuss the challenges they face in CRE. Courageously, many chose to add their name to the public record to address a vital issue: What is it really like to be black in this industry?
“Even if we overproduce, it doesn’t matter because we’ve given up on feeling included as equals to our colleagues.”
“Be comfortable standing out, because you will.”
“The talk about improving diversity is just that — all talk.”