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Celebrating Pride: Creating an Environment of Inclusion & Belonging in CRE

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“It’s a learning process for everyone and we are still learning and growing every day, trying to figure out how to navigate such a topic, especially in the workplace.”



In commemoration of Pride Month, Eliezer Timolien and Leo Lee discuss Diversity & Inclusion, approaching this important topic from the perspective of a professional from the LGBTQ+ community. In this open, candid conversation, Eli talks about his journey in commercial real estate: the obstacles, the notion of fitting inhis experience working in a predominantly homogenous industry – and overcoming such challenges to be his authentic self.

Eli and Leo tackle the concept of “making the uncomfortable feel comfortable” in an effort to improve awareness in the workplace and provide people both the ease and the environment to be their true selves. They talk about various training and resources (for both members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community) companies can design and deliver to further build on Diversity & Inclusion initiatives and maintain the momentum that has been collectively created – from inclusive benefits, to self-identification programs, to Employee Resource Groups.

Shedding light on challenges within the LGBTQ+ community itself, Eli says, “Even we face our own stigmas.” He goes on to speak about his experience dealing with implicit biases people have within the community that could create negative perceptions of certain identities. Looking back, Eli and Leo discuss the progress companies have made in fostering LGBTQ+-inclusive workplaces, and discuss what more can be done to bridge gaps, facilitate critical conversations and create a safe setting where people offer various perspectives.

In the long-term, Eli “would love to see the Diversity & Inclusion program shut down, but for good reasonthat no one individual is considered marginalizedthat everyone is considered equal in terms of the work that they are able to do, the skill sets that they are able to provide a companythat they’re able to secure appropriate salaries so we don’t have the wage gaps we’re seeing to this day…”

Eli and Leo agree “we have such a long way to go”, but are optimistic about the steps the company, the profession, have taken towards building a truly diverse and inclusive place for all.



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Leo Lee

Director, National Research Operations | Canada

Toronto West

Leo Lee is the Director of National Research Operations | Canada and oversees the strategic direction and operations of Colliers Canada Research. He focuses on developing the capabilities of the national research team that leverages Colliers' best-in-class market intelligence and platforms to provide clients with valuable market insights.

Leo joined Colliers International in 2008 and was most recently the Regional Director of Research for Eastern Canada.

He has over 10 years of experience in the real estate market across Canada and New Zealand and draws on his professional experience as a commercial appraiser and real estate consultant.

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Eliezer Timolien

Research Analyst

Montreal

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