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Diversity & Inclusion in Commercial Real Estate

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Diversity & Inclusion in Commercial Real Estate
May 17, 2018 @ 4:00 pm - 7:00 pm
$55 members
$80 non-members
Barton Malow Company
26500 American Drive
Southfield,MI48034United States

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Date | Time | Location

Thursday, May 17, 2018
4:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Barton Malow Company
26500 American Drive
Southfield, MI 48034

4:00 – 5:00 PM – Registration, food/drinks, networking
5:00 – 5:15 PM – Program announcements + Program Overview
5:15 – 5:35 PM – First Round of SME Presentations
5:45 – 6:05 PM – Second Round of SME Presentations
6:15 – 6:35 PM – Third Round of SME Presentations
6:35 – 7:00 PM – Event Conclusion

Program Description

Diversity + Inclusion: words we hear all the time in commercial real estate but may not completely understand. On May 17, those who live and breathe it every day will explain to attendees over a happy-hour of hors d’oeuvres what diversity and inclusion means to our industry. They’ll explain the benefits of becoming a certified minority-owned or women-owned businesses, discuss client-driven spending stipulations, and share about corporate initiatives that are working to better diversify commercial real estate workplaces. This break-out style program is designed to showcase variety of perspectives on this important topic, as well as explain how it affects and benefits our industry.

Attendees will rotate three times during the program, choosing which subject matter experts’ perspectives they’ll hear next. SME’s will share their perspectives though power point slides, white boarding, general discussion, Q+A and collateral.

Subject Matter Experts:

Kenyetta Bridges | Director of Real Estate & Financial Services, Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC)
Kenyetta is Interim Vice President and Director of Real Estate & Financial Services for the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC). She provides leadership, policy oversight and strategic guidance to an experienced team of real estate and project managers focused on stimulating investments across the city. As a result, her team spearheads a broad range of activities related to commercial real estate development. With more than 13 years of economic development experience and previously serving as Director of Business Development, she is responsible for attracting and retaining companies ranging from small business to global enterprise for the City of Detroit. Kenyetta is a 2018 Michigan Chronicle Women of Excellence honoree and a lifelong Detroiter with a passion for community engagement and mentoring young girls. Diversifying the business community in Detroit is one of her objectives with the DEGC. Attendees of CREW Detroit’s Diversity + Inclusion program can expect to learn about the challenges Kenyetta faces, initiatives she has in place and the solutions she proposes to diversify commercial real estate in the city.


Janice Thomas | Director of Advanced Manufacturing Center, MMSDC
Janice Thomas has more than 25 years of experience in the automotive sector working in different positions including Operations, Administrative, Quality and Government Affairs.  Prior to joining the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council / Minority Business Development Agency in 2017, she spent eight years at Magna International, Inc. managing and executing more than 300 projects amounting to more than $600 million in federal, state and local grants and incentives across 14 states.  Additionally, she developed and implemented simplified federal standards manuals enabling cross-functional teams to meet required project deliverables and deadlines.  In addition, she acted as a primary contact for economic and government agencies for potential business development within their states, which included facilities site selection and development of future grants and incentives. Janice hopes to engage attendees of CREW Detroit’s Diversity + Inclusion program on the benefits of becoming certified, share solutions the MMSDC is creating for MBEs in Commercial real estate and explain the various options available to non-MBEs hoping to work with MBEs.


Michelle Richards | Executive Director, Great Lakes Women’s Business Council
A founding board member of the Great Lakes Women’s Business Council, formerly known as the Center for Empowerment and Economic Development (CEED), Michelle Richards is constantly championing a level playing field for women and minorities. She has served as the Executive Director of the Great Lakes Women’s Business Council, a Michigan-based nonprofit organization, since its inception in 1984 under a career objective dedicated to advocating for the diverse business community. Today she remains a champion for women, minority and small business owners and provides access to capital and corporate procurement opportunities, certification for women-owned business enterprises and small business educational support. The Great Lakes Women’s Business Council is a regional partner of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), which is dedicated to advancing the success of certified women-owned business enterprises, government agencies and corporate members in partnership with its affiliated women’s business organizations. She brings this perspective to CREW Detroit’s Diversity + Inclusion program, where she’ll explain the benefits and importance of becoming certified in an adverse economic environment, as well as the various opportunities that come with being a part of the GLWBC network.


Jackie Jackson | Executive Director of Supplier Diversity, Walbridge
Jacquelyn (Jackie) Jackson is the Executive Director of Supplier Diversity for Walbridge, a privately held construction firm that specializes in the construction of large-scale projects in the automotive, commercial, education, federal, healthcare, housing and municipal sectors. Walbridge is the global leader in building complex manufacturing facilities, and under Jackie’s direction, it’s been honored with several awards for supplier diversity accomplishments. Her team’s objectives involve assuring Walbridge’s supplier database includes a diverse listing of qualified MBE, WBE, DBE, 8a, Small Business and Veteran-owned businesses. Often working under strict inclusion stipulations, construction managers can face challenges finding the right suppliers for the job. Jackie will discuss the importance of maintaining effective inclusion plans, what efforts work to meet client stipulations and the types of opportunities that come with being certified.


Sharon Netto-Lipsky | Director of Talent Attraction + Development, Haworth
In her role as Director of Talent Attraction and Development for Haworth, Sharon is responsible for talent attraction strategy, employment brand penetration and development as well as Diversity & Inclusion programming. As a leader, consultant and facilitator, Sharon has a proven track record in global and regional stakeholder engagement and change management.  She develops and deploys human capital for the attainment of the strategic objectives and delivers results in diverse work environments. At Haworth, one of the largest furniture manufacturer in the world with roughly 7,000+employees, she manages talent management, leadership development, staffing and diversity, as well as general human resources operations. As a workplace specialist, Sharon hopes share what company-wide efforts, initiatives and strategies work for diversifying organizations across the country and the challenges companies like Haworth face in attracting talent in a competitive and tight talent market.


Julie Smith | Senior Human Resources Manager, CBRE
Julie Smith is a Sr. Human Resources Manager with CBRE, providing the delivery of human resource initiatives, strategies and services to CBRE’s Global Workplace Solutions (GWS) North Division accounts. She specializes in risk mitigation, talent management, succession planning, employee relations, compensation, organizational development, performance management, and training.  Julie also has oversight of several additional GWS accounts and the dedicated HR Managers supporting those accounts. Attendees can expect to leave with a greater understanding of Diversity + Inclusion efforts at large corporations like CBRE, where the belief is every employee’s unique skills and insights contribute to the success of the business, and how Julie’s team combines and leverages those contributions to their fullest potential.



$55 members; $80 non-members

Download a copy of CREW Network’s latest white paper:
Diversity: The Business Advantage
Best Practices for Gender Equity and Inclusion in Commercial Real Estate


Event Sponsors

Thank you to our generous sponsors for this event:

Gold Sponsors:

Neumann/Smith Architecture
Spalding DeDecker
Stantec Architecture

Silver Sponsors:
Partner Engineering & Science