Excellence in DEI: Physicians Realty Trust

March 2, 2023 | By: CRE Insight Journal

Physicians Realty Trust (NYSE: DOC) received the 2022 Excellence in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Award from CRE Insight Journal. The award recognizes a real estate company that has displayed excellence in fostering DEI within its organization. Headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Physicians Realty Trust is a real estate investment trust founded in 2013. It manages approximately 290 properties across 36 states and has invested in DEI through its DEI Council.

Building from the Ground Up

Physicians Realty Trust’s DEI Council was created in 2019 and is responsible for setting diversity, equity, and inclusion goals for the company; developing educational programs planning activities to promote DEI; and cultivating a culture of fairness and respect for all members of the company. The council is comprised of diverse members of the company, including individuals ranging from junior team members to executive leadership and the Board of Directors. It is overseen by its Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee of the Board of Directors.

“Our DEI Council has had a profound effect,” explained John T. Thomas, President & Chief Executive Officer of Physicians Realty Trust. “For example, there’s no handbook on how to get through a global pandemic, but the fact that we had this group of leaders has been massive. It has made us a much better organization with each other and our clients.”

Physicians Realty Trust also developed three sub-committees for its DEI Council focused on the themes of Attract, Include, and Support. Attract prioritizes strategies for attracting and retaining top talent through a diverse and inclusive workforce. Include fosters the intentional inclusion of diverse voices and backgrounds at all company meetings and events while sharing the unique stories and experiences of the team members. Support emphasizes education and awareness of DEI themes.

Physicians Realty Trust’s DEI efforts began with attracting and retaining top talent to build a diverse and inclusive workforce. The company’s DEI Council has also worked closely with their human resources team to develop a roadmap to recruit, retain, and support underrepresented populations.

DOC’s core values are centered around the acronym C.A.R.E. (Collaborate and Communicate, Act with Integrity, Respect the Relationship, and Execute Consistently). These values have been instrumental in further developing and enhancing DOC’s DEI initiatives and have impacted each member of the DOC family.

Leann Mester, Director of Corporate Marketing & Communications and Chair of the DEI Council, shares, “At DOC, we stand at the intersection of our passion and our purpose as defined by our C.A.R.E. core values. We put these principles to work within our diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging efforts to drive accountability for our actions as we strive to make real, systemic change in our industry.”

Strategies implemented by the company have included enhanced career development support for employees; ensuring equitable compensation and benefits; and intentionally creating an inclusive culture.

Developing a DEI Network

Physicians Realty Trust developed a company-wide online forum through its DEI Council to encourage engagement and participation in DEI initiatives. Additionally, the company’s DEI SharePoint hub gives transparency regarding the company’s steps to advance DEI principles. The site includes a collection of resources related to race, mental health, and other topics as requested by team members; news surrounding upcoming staff events; educational opportunities; and much more.

Also, through a “Get to Know Your Team” section of their internal DEI hub, team members share their unique stories and personal perspectives on Ramadan, Pride Month, Hmong culture, veteran and active-duty military team members, and more. The site also engages the entire team, beyond DEI Council members, to share anonymous feedback, ideas, personal stories, areas of concern, and more.

Through its company-wide DEI network, Physicians Realty Trust provides numerous opportunities for education and self-exploration, beginning with a requirement that team members participate in all-team sessions to increase awareness and knowledge of DEI. Team members are also given opportunities to participate in small group “coffee talk” discussions, service projects, and other exercises to address their concerns and tackle difficult questions in safe, welcoming, and comfortable spaces.

Impacting Communities

Another key DEI initiative is the Supplier Diversity program. Through Physicians Realty Trust’s national portfolio, the company took the opportunity to lead with its values and partner with diverse businesses through its capital purchasing around the country.

Physicians Realty Trust also created a contract and supplier diversity manager position in 2021 and published three-year program goals for diversifying suppliers. Through the Supplier Diversity Program, the company plans to generate economic opportunities and create a positive impact within the communities it serves.

“Our company wanted to make sure that the vendors we do business with represent our community,” Sydonia “Syd” Blake, Contract and Supplier Diversity Manager with Physicians Realty Trust, explained. “Last year, we had certified diverse vendors bid on services in Delaware, Georgia, and Connecticut, among many other projects, and we have an ongoing project in Phoenix for which we have invited two certified diverse vendors.”

In further support of the communities Physicians Realty Trust serves, the company also committed financial resources to create a more diverse workforce pipeline within the health care real estate industry. In 2022, the company partnered with NAIOP Wisconsin and Marquette University to support the MKE CRE Summer Program. This program is an in-person, week-long program for rising high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors dedicated to helping provide knowledge about career opportunities in commercial real estate to high school students from underrepresented backgrounds. Additionally, Physicians Realty Trust funded scholarships to ensure a diverse group of students could participate, while company leadership lent their time and expertise towards mentoring these students.

Through top-down investments in DEI, national support in diversifying contractor pools, development of a diverse workforce pipeline, the creation and maintenance of an internal DEI network for educational content and events, and working to elevate opportunities for underrepresented groups within commercial real estate, Physicians Realty Trust has received the 2022 Excellence in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Award from CRE Insight Journal.

Commercial Real Estate Insight Journal is the leading, on-demand resource for real estate professionals. It features a rapidly growing collection of real estate industry insight recorded in articles, webinars, publications, and videos. The CRE Insight Journal Awards program recognizes excellence in the real estate industry in areas such as tenant care; environmental sustainability; collaborative service; thought leadership; diversity, equity, and inclusion; and more.

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