Excellence in DEI: Zeller

Awards, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

February 24, 2022 | By: CRE Insight Journal
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Zeller received the 2021 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 their organization.

Headquartered in Chicago, Zeller owns and operates assets in Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin. The company owns and operates a growing portfolio of nearly 10.2 million square feet. Zeller has exhibited a strong commitment to DEI, as is exemplified through its Zeller Diversity and Inclusion Committee (ZDIC), which has woven diversity and inclusion into the company’s DNA.

Foundations

Founded in 2020, the ZDIC seeks to foster a culture of mutual respect and to attract, retain, and promote team members from all backgrounds, perspectives, and abilities.

“At Zeller, we have a role to play in building communities that protect, serve, and support all citizens equally. Our employees leaned in and volunteered to create the Zeller Diversity and Inclusion Committee in July of 2020,” says Bradley Borowic, MSRE, ZDIC Co-Chair. “The ZDIC was formed on a grass roots level with support and encouragement from our company’s senior leadership.”

ZDIC Structure

“The ZDIC consists of an overall committee with support from senior leadership,” explains Devin Simon, RPA, BOMI-HP, ZDIC Co-Chair. “There are two co-chairs with 20 to 23 ambassadors that help support all of our initiatives. The ambassadors are grouped into five subcommittees: Career Elevation, CRE industry Outreach, Education and Awareness, Strengthen Communities, and Enriching the Zeller Experience.”

  • Career Elevation – The primary goal of the Career Elevation subcommittee is to develop mentorship and recruitment programs to attract, engage, hire, and retain a diverse and inclusive talent pool.
  • Education & Awareness – The Education & Awareness subcommittee seeks to make a positive impact through collaborative and multidisciplinary research prioritizing areas of great societal need.
  • CRE Industry Outreach –This subcommittee is tasked with identifying and engaging in opportunities in the commercial real estate industry where Zeller can positively impact society and promote equity in the industry. The members of this subcommittee engage with industry organizations such as the Building Owners and Managers Association, Commercial Real Estate Women, Institute of Real Estate Management, and other organizations to help positively impact the industry.
  • Strengthen Communities – The Strengthen Communities subcommittee is focused on fostering a culture of civic engagement and increasing economic impact through charitable activities, volunteerism, and creating strategic partnerships, and vendor relationships.
  • Enrich the Zeller Experience – This subcommittee promotes engagement among Zeller’s inclusive cultures and perspectives. It is chaired by Zeller’s General Counsel and Chief Operating Officer, and its members are the chairs of the other subcommittees.

ZDIC Impact

In 2021, the ZDIC worked with DEI consultants to ingrain diversity and inclusion throughout the company. They worked with the Ollie Group to help define, strategize, and execute the goals of each subcommittee. A few of the achievements of the ZDIC in 2021 include:

  • Donating $10,000 each to 15 different charitable organizations across seven cities to support social justice efforts.
  • Hosting four lunch and learn programs:
    • “35 Dumb Things Well-Intended People Say” with Dr. Maura Cullen
    • “Codeswitching: Navigating the Dynamics of Workplace Norms” with Dr. Courtney L. McCluney
    • “You Don’t Look Like a Lawyer” with Tsedale M, Melake, Ph.D.
    • “Taking Control of Your Mental Health” with Fabiana Souze Araujo, Ph.D.
  • Creating a portal to provide DEI resources to Zeller employees and regularly posting relevant and timely DEI resources to various Zeller social media pages.
  • The establishment of the Zeller Responsible and Diverse Supplier Program, which provides access for procurement opportunities in an equitable and competitive environment and encourages Zeller employees to proactively seek services from qualified businesses owned by minorities, women, differently abled persons, and veterans.

 

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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