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PODCAST: Avison Young CEO Mark Rose On Creating A Diverse Team Without Mandating Quotas

Bisnow's audio series, Bisnow Reports, examines every facet of the international commercial real estate industry — from the murky future of retail and office to real estate’s reckoning with diversity to the effects of climate change on the built world, and so much more. You can subscribe on iTunes, Spotify and Amazon Music, or scroll down to listen in your browser.

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Mark Rose and his granddaughter, Dylann Helma

On this episode, Avison Young CEO Mark Rose sits down with Bisnow to discuss diversity at the top levels of the commercial real estate industry.

Bisnow published its analysis of the boards and C-suites of nearly 100 of CRE's largest companies this week, and it showed incremental progress across the industry. Among large brokerage firms, however, there was no meaningful improvement.

But Avison Young appointed the first Black woman to its C-suite this month, naming Nicole White as its new chief legal officer. When she starts next year, she will be the fourth person of color and eighth woman on the Toronto-based brokerage firm's 24-person executive committee. On its 12-person board, there are three women and two people of color.

On the podcast, Rose — long a vocal champion of inclusion — talks about changing behaviors, attitudes and hiring practices at the commercial real estate services firm. While Avison Young is pushing for greater diversity in its ranks at all levels, Rose said those changes are the best way to push for greater diversity in the traditionally White male-dominated field, rather than hiring quotas, which he said put the focus in the wrong place for building an inclusive company.

"I think quotas are the path to failure," he said. "The fear is that if you don't build and train, educate and then develop your new talent to understand a sustainable path to a diverse collection of opinions — which we define as the proper way to build a company — you're never going to get there. And it's not numbers. It's your culture and your belief system."