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Brent Williams' Apartment Blog

Thoughts, comments, and ideas about the overall multifamily industry, as well as a property-specific focus on resident retention and apartment marketing.

Overcoming Hurdles - Pegasus Interview with Two Apartment Industry Leaders

It is so refreshing that more discussions are happening on diversity and inclusion in America, and I stumbled upon an absolutely fantastic video produced by Pegasus Residential on the topic.  I highly recommend watching this enlightening conversation with Dana Hill, Marci French, and hosted by Bevan White.

 

I think it is absolutely worth watching the entire video, but here are some of the experiences and challenges that they faced growing in their career.  I will try not to editorialize too much below, but it did make in impact when thinking about the differences between their experiences and someone like myself.  The weight and gravity to everything they have to do in order to excel is inspiring, but also unfortunate in that those roadblocks should not exist in the first place.

  • Dana Hill shared a wonderful quote from a session she attended:  “Diversity is being invited to the dance.  Inclusion is being asked to dance.”
  • Dana talked about the importance of mentorship, advocating for others, preparation, and the responsibility of representing countless others:  “I feel the pressure daily in every room I am invited into to be well prepared and to represent my community with excellence.”  She was not just representing herself and her company, as she felt the pressure of being a strong ambassador for other people of color.
  • Marci reflected on having to navigate being one of the few (or only) women in the room, and then began to realize she was the only person of color in the room, as well, a sentiment that Dana echoed, as she noticed in the mid-2000’s that of hundreds of sales representatives at an event, she was the only person of color.  She mentioned how there were other people of color, but always in supporting roles. 
  • Similar to Dana, Marci emphasized how important it was to be seen in leadership scenarios so that everybody can see what is possible.  And not only was it important to lead by example, but she stressed how important it is to go grab others to bring them into the room, as well. 
  • Sometimes a new perspective is so important in these types of discussions, and Marci shared that Generation X, which she and I are both a part of, is the first generation to be born with full civil rights.  That is not so far back, and people are still getting used to how the world is changing around them.
  • Dana shared that even in leadership positions, others would defer to her subordinates because of the color of her skin, but even then, she still strove to react and move forward with integrity and professionalism.
  • Touching on the image one portrays as a person of color, Marci discussed how difficult it is to balance the idea of fitting in with the crowd in order to succeed in a given culture, and when to be confident in showcasing elements that are inherent in one’s own culture.

 

If your organization is working to build diversity and inclusion into it's cultural framework, please share this video with your team members.  This was truly an enlightening and powerful event, and I want to thank Dana, Marci, and Bevan for sharing it with the rest of us.

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