Colliers is very pleased to announce that Amy Vuong, Vice President, Strategy, Real Estate Management Services, and Kerris Hougardy, Vice President, People Services – North America, have joined BOMA Canada’s newly created Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Council.
“I’m very excited to be part of this amazing group and initiative. Growing up, I never heard of commercial real estate, Colliers or the role I’m in. I hope we can work to create more access and opportunity for people from a variety of backgrounds, for those who are not yet in the industry and those who are trying to navigate their way through,” shares Vuong.
The Council is advisory in nature and aims to provide guidance, support and standardized resources to the commercial real estate sector. “We want to make equity, diversity and inclusion part of the DNA of the commercial real estate industry,” says Suhaila Cappuccino, BOMA BEST Program Administrator.
“We are prepared to have open, honest and sometimes tough conversations to ensure that we will affect real change and the goals of the committee align well with our D&I strategy at Colliers,” says Hougardy.
Compared to the United States, Canada lacks data on the history and progress of equity, diversity and inclusion across the commercial real estate industry. The newly minted Council is in the process of educating themselves on where the industry currently stands, what the core issues are and what needs to change. “We are a new committee and our goals are not laid in stone. We are learning as we go but we have a vision for what we want it to be,” says Cappuccino.
The volunteer Council consists of people from various property management companies and government groups. BOMA Canada put out a call for volunteers at the end of June and held its first meeting in late July. BOMA Canada was moved to start the Council following the death of George Floyd and the growth of the Black Lives Matter movement.
BOMA Canada was also inspired by how quickly organizations mobilized and responded to the COVID-19 pandemic. BOMA Canada itself promptly pivoted and became a resource hub for the industry when the COVID-19 crisis hit. “We realized similar resources could be used to help people make organizational change,” adds Cappuccino.
The Council hopes it can encourage the commercial real estate industry to start moving together as a whole. “We have a voice and we want to use it to start taking the right steps forward,” says Cappuccino.