With its significant global representation of commercial real estate professionals – over 3,600 members in 722 cities in 45 different countries, SIOR has stood on the front lines of promoting greater inclusion within its organization and the broader industry. To illustrate this long-standing dedication, we remain encouraged by the number of women over the years who have risen to the position of association president.
This commitment took on added significance in 2019, when we began our discussions with CREW Network and REEC on advancing further positive and lasting change in the representation of women and other historically underrepresented groups. We are proud to say that Robert Thornburgh, SIOR, our CEO, was among the first commercial real estate leaders to sign CREW’s pledge to further parity across the breadth of SIOR’s global reach.
SIOR has vowed a continued dedication to advancing women and increasing diversity and equity in our organization and industry. “DEI is crucial to the strength and longevity of our industry,” says Thornburgh. “However, we also recognize there is still work ahead, which is why I have signed the pledge as a public commitment to these extraordinarily important changes.”
Not content resting on the laurels of our past endeavors, we have continued to create new opportunities for women and other underrepresented groups. Just one example of this is our recently launched Member Associate initiative, which was designed specifically to advance the careers of emerging leaders. We do this by offering professional development, early career resources, mentorship, networking with industry leaders, and opportunities to build their businesses.
The world is evolving at a rapid pace, and only through a varied collection of expertise can we stay innovative and relevant. SIOR is generating membership interest among a diverse set of future real estate professionals to forge a bright path for its organization and the industry.
Activities such as these have resulted in a marked increase in the number of women applying for and receiving the coveted SIOR designation. In fact, in 2021 alone, the number of women SIORs nearly doubled.
Of course, the drive to greater DEI must take place at both the membership and staff levels in order to be fully realized. Within the last year, we completed an extensive pay analysis and also [saw or “witnessed”] a number of women elevated to SIOR leadership positions. These include:
- Karin Fendrich, recently named SIOR Chief Financial Officer;
- Vanessa Herzog, SIOR, and Saadia Sheikh, SIOR, both appointed as new members of our Board of Directors;
- Patricia Loveall, SIOR, assuming the role of SIOR President-Elect;
- Kelly Miller, CAE, appointed as SIOR’s VP of Member Experience; and
- Alexis Fermanis, promoted to SIOR’s Sr. Director of Marketing and Communications.
Change doesn’t happen all at once; it’s a commitment to constant DEI advancement that will make a lasting difference. We at SIOR will continue to lead that progress with a relentless dedication and focus.