When she decided to move from financial services to commercial real estate, DEI specialist Nadine August knew she would had a big challenge on her hands. But that was precisely why she decided to switch.
“Project REAP (The Real Estate Associate Program), which advances DEI in CRE, credits the industry as being one of the least diverse economic sectors,” Augusta said.
In 2021, Augusta became Cushman & Wakefield’s first chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer. Prior to C&W, she was most recently Americas head of Diversity & Inclusion at Goldman Sachs, leading the DEI efforts for 35,000 employees across the Americas division. She had previously served as executive director for the global services company DTCC, leading Global Diversity & Inclusion and Corporate Social Responsibility, and as senior vice president, Global Diversity & Inclusion for Bank of America.
“As CDEIO at Cushman & Wakefield, I am focused on creating long-term sustainable change through a DEI strategy that addresses the systems, policies and key decision points that influence our company’s culture,” Augusta said.
Two years on, Augusta reports that C&W has “built a strong foundation and cemented commitment to put inclusion and belonging front and center.”
Augusta said the holistic strategy C&W uses centers on their people and talent life cycle but also focuses on serving clients and making an impact through the firm’s Supplier Diversity Program, DEI Business Development Program and nine Employee Resource Groups. Support within the C-Suite is imperative to help encourage employee buy-in and drive company culture but the right infrastructure, including policies, practices and systems that influence organizational change, must also be in place along with resources and investments to help DEI initiatives thrive, she said.
Augusta said those interested in DEI careers should research the field, learn about best practices and trending initiatives, and read books on the topic. She also recommends building a network, seeking out mentors for helpful perspective and guidance, and focusing on transferable skills.
“Don’t be afraid to go after roles that will enable you to practice and learn, even if it’s a step back from where you are currently,” Augusta advised.
Augusta acknowledges the CRE industry has made strides in recent years, but there is more work to be done.
“It’s important to not only be intentional about attracting, developing and retaining historically underrepresented talent, but also to expand opportunities to those in fee-earning positions,” Augusta stated. “It is important to look outside of our organizations and to contribute meaningfully to our communities. For example, through our Supplier Diversity program, we engage and partner with minority-, women-, veteran-, LGBTQ+- and disability-certified businesses.”
“Throughout my career, my ‘why’ in doing this work is freedom…doing my part to make diversity, equity and inclusion a reality in spaces where
it can be most elusive.”
Read the March 2023 issue of CPE.
The post Women in CRE: Nadine Augusta appeared first on Commercial Property Executive.
Executive Insights, Cushman & Wakefield
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