In Their Own Words:
What It's Really Like
To Be Black In CRE

Compiled by Bisnow's U.S. newsroom

A Note From The Editor

Mark F. Bonner, Editor-in-Chief

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?

A Note From The Editor

Mark F. Bonner, Editor-in-Chief

The Black Experience

What does it mean to be black in commercial real estate?

“Even if we overproduce, it doesn’t matter because we’ve given up on feeling included as equals to our colleagues.”

Shared Wisdom

What candid advice do you give to those you mentor, or what advice have you received, about how race factors into working in this industry?

“Be comfortable standing out, because you will.”

Behavioral Shifts

How has the industry changed in terms of its attitude to race during your time working in CRE? What more needs to happen?

“The talk about improving diversity is just that — all talk.”