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Celebrating diversity in real estate management during Global Diversity Awareness Month

In the month of October, we celebrate Global Diversity Awareness, which recognizes and celebrates the diverse cultures, thoughts, experiences, and perspectives of our global society. Although its origin is difficult to trace, the acknowledgement and celebration has raised significant awareness and helps promote cultural diversity in a rapidly changing and more connected world. Its evolution reflects a broader societal shift towards recognizing and celebrating diversity as a fundamental value.

This month IREM acknowledges Global Diversity Awareness Month, an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the diverse tapestry of cultures, backgrounds, and perspectives that make up the real estate management community. It's not just a month of reflection - it's also a call to action. Acknowledging the diversity of our members and those they serve is essential to drive the truly inclusive environments we hope to achieve in our profession, where people of all backgrounds can thrive.

To help bring diversity awareness to life, here are five actions you can take to motivate a more inclusive environment – and not just during this month, but throughout the year:

Open your mind

Start by educating yourself about different cultures, traditions, and perspectives. Read books, watch documentaries, and engage in conversations with people from backgrounds different from your own. Share what you’ve learned and encourage your friends and colleagues to do the same. Knowledge is the key to understanding, and understanding is the foundation of empathy.

You can even earn an IREM Skill Badge in Building DEI for a deeper dive into this topic.

Foster acceptance and inclusion

Open and honest communication is crucial to understanding and building diversity. Create an environment where individuals feel comfortable discussing their backgrounds and experiences. Encourage dialogue about different perspectives, and be an active listener. Promote an atmosphere of respect, where people can express themselves without fear of judgement.

Consider scheduling regular conversations on diverse topics, and encourage questions and thought sharing. Implementing diversity-focused discussions or affinity groups helps facilitate dialogue and collaboration.

Adopt inclusive practices

Acknowledging diversity requires more than words - it requires action. Make an effort to incorporate diverse perspectives into everyday life. Take some time to learn the history, language or rituals from different cultures. Try to understand their feasts, celebrations, music, ceremonies, and why these touchstones are important. Share what you’ve learned. By actively engaging with diverse cultures, you create an environment where everyone's background is valued.

Support diverse communities

Show your support for diverse communities by actively participating in events and initiatives that promote inclusion. Attend cultural festivals, pride parades, or other events that celebrate diversity, from museum exhibits to concerts and shows from parts unknown or unfamiliar to you. For a deeper dive, consider volunteer work with organizations that serve marginalized communities, or partner with diversity-focused nonprofits and community organizations.

Take a stand against discrimination

Acknowledging diversity also means standing up against discrimination and bias. Establish clear anti-discrimination policies and procedures. Encourage employees to report incidents of discrimination or bias and take swift action to address them. Promote a zero-tolerance stance on discrimination and harassment, and ensure everyone in the organization feels safe and valued.

Global Diversity Awareness Month serves as a reminder of the importance of the world of differences that makes each of us unique, while acknowledging and celebrating the diversity around us. By educating ourselves, fostering inclusive conversations, embracing diverse practices, supporting diverse communities, and taking a stand against discrimination, we can create environments where people of all backgrounds not only feel seen, heard, and valued, but we can also make tangible, actionable steps toward global change. These actions not only make our personal and professional lives richer but also contribute to a more inclusive and equitable society.

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