High-Profile: May 2021

Page 30

May 2021



HP’s new J.E.D.I. section is designed to highlight the people, companies and organizations that are implementing principles to further justice, equity, diversity and inclusion in their workplaces and communities.

The Benefits of DEI in AEC

by Yvonne Alston With a worldwide spotlight on racial reckonings, gender pay gaps and related social issues, diversity, equity and inclusion (commonly referred to as DEI) has become a hot topic and focus of organizations across the globe. Historically, the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry has remained, let’s just say, a less than diverse arena. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that women account for less than 30% of architects and Blacks only about 7%. In engineering, 16% of civil engineers are women and 3.9% are Black. A recent Autodesk article indicates that only 20% of engineers are disabled [persons]. The lack of diversity and inclusion and the issue of racism in the industry has begun to make headlines. So, it’s

important that AEC firms prioritize DEI within their organizations to benefit their workforce, better reflect the multicultural clients and communities they serve, and recognize how DEI positively impacts their reputation. In addition to these advantages, reputable studies report that organizations often realize increased creativity and problem-solving capacities; outperformance of non-diverse competitors in profitability; attraction and retention of diverse, top talent; expansion opportunities in new markets; and greater resiliency in economic turbulence. Just ask Dan Titus, CEO of HRP Associates, an environmental consultancy headquartered in Farmington, Conn. Seeking to build a more equitable and inclusive workforce of the future, HRP partnered with Indelible Impressions Consulting, LLC, a DEI strategy firm also based in Connecticut. “The world is changing for the better and the marketplace is pushing our industry to reflect those changes,” notes Titus. “Of course, change is never easy. That’s why we sought and partnered with a DEI firm that has the skills to help transform our

culture, and a kind and steady hand to guide us along the journey.” When undertaking a DEI program, partnering with a third party consultant can be extremely beneficial. With an objective lens and a strategic viewpoint, consultants can help organizations identify and address their barriers and help evolve their workforce to grow and thrive. And that’s exactly what HRP and its consultant were able to do: assess and analyze HRP’s culture; pinpoint its growth opportunities; employ strategic tactics to advance its justice, equity, diversity and inclusion (JEDI) education and goals; and begin policy reformation efforts. A holistic approach DEI program can help organizations not only attain their long-term culture objectives and goals but

also realize transformations along the way. At the midpoint of its 2021 DEI program, HRP is already seeing the benefits including more open communication and positive behavior changes at various levels of the organization and enthusiasm toward its newly established JEDI program. Armed with new tools and resources, HRP is excited about its future as a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive AEC firm and hopes to be an example for the industry. Titus says, “Making this investment, especially during the pandemic, was a challenge. But I can say with confidence that this partnership was among our best uses of resources this past year. I would do it again in a heartbeat.” Yvonne Alston is founder and principal of Indelible Impressions Consulting, LLC.

Parker Named Chair of Diversity Board she said. “Because of my job, I Boston – The Institute of Real was able to pull my family out Estate Management (IREM) of poverty, and I wanted to do Boston Metropolitan Chapter what I could to help other young No. 4 announced that Kimberly folks like myself.” Parker, CPM, C21P, COS, who Along with committee has served as the chapter’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion members Pietrina “Patty” (DEI) Committee chairperson Staples and Ka-Ling Flynn, over the last several years, was Parker started attending career fairs and visiting community recently named chairperson Kimberly Parker colleges and high schools to talk about of the national organization’s Diversity a career in property management. They Advisory Board. The position became made connections with teachers and official at the beginning of the year. professors, and asked their fellow IREM Parker, who is a senior property Boston members to share job openings, manager for the Abrams Management which they then passed along to potential Company, originally joined IREM just candidates. over three years ago. Soon after, she Currently, Parker is collaborating joined the chapter’s DEI committee, and with other organizations throughout the took on the role of chair. commonwealth to rework a minority Parker found inspiration for various training program for property managers, committee initiatives based on her own experience. “I realized that my career had something she says she hopes to eventually be able to expand to the national level. allowed me to turn my situation around,”

ASM is the state’s leading association for specialty contractors.

photo by Scott Blake

Since 1950 we have represented companies of all trades, large and small, union and open shop, who work on major building projects across the commonwealth, in both the public and private sector.


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