Expanding Diversity in the Commercial Real Estate Community

Combining its commitment to community development with its long focus on diversity and inclusion, Duke Realty offices across the country have been finding creative and innovative opportunities to introduce minority students and professionals to commercial real estate as a career choice.

Through its participation in Project REAP (Real Estate Associate Program), Duke Realty is helping to identify accomplished minority professionals who are interested in pursuing a career in the commercial real estate field. The 13-week program includes coursework as well as networking with commercial real estate leaders in their markets.

Helping with the 2015 spring class in Dallas, Jeff Turner, Executive Vice President for Duke Realty’s Western Region, and Jeff Thornton, Senior Vice President of Duke Realty’s Texas Region, taught a session together. Talisha McClaney, Executive Administrative Assistant at Duke Realty, was a student in the class. In past years, Duke Realty has sponsored and participated in Project REAP programs in Atlanta, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.

In Indianapolis, Duke Realty has partnered with several community organizations during the past year to provide outreach as well as opportunities for minority youth to learn more about careers in commercial real estate.

The Center for Leadership Development, through its College Prep Institute, provides experiences to help African American youth advance as professional, business, and community leaders. Duke Realty has sponsored programming for the institute, and Duke Realty associates have served the center in both advisory and board capacity.

Providence Cristo Rey High School in Indianapolis provides college preparatory education to young people in urban communities where there are limited options. 100% of the high school’s graduates have been accepted to college. The Duke Realty Indianapolis office is pleased to host their work-study students for hands-on experience in the commercial real estate industry.

The Indianapolis office is also working with a local group, DirectEmployers Foundation, on their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Learning Lab, which supports these core skills by bringing simulated workplace environments directly to students. This is being done at an Indianapolis public high school, where Duke Realty team members are working to establish a curriculum and a course in construction management and building maintenance aimed at students, many of whom are minorities, who might be interested in those fields. Duke Realty associates involved in the effort include Pete Harrington, Senior Vice President, Construction; Jeff Caplinger, Vice President, Maintenance; and Chris Ferguson, Staffing Manager.

Associates from Duke Realty’s Atlanta office recently attended a Benjamin E. Mays High School Career Exploration Event. A panel of Duke Realty associates – including Mark Dukes, Vice President, Regional Asset Manager; Angela Hsu, Vice President, Legal & Assistant Secretary; Lori Agee, Assistant Vice President, Risk Management; Natalie Tyler-Martin, Senior Property Manager; Olivia Brown, Controller; Becky Stephens, Project Manager, Tenant Finish; and Jamie Jones, Senior Marketing Manager – spoke with students and opened their minds to potential careers available in commercial real estate. They also spent time with faculty and a representative from the Urban League.

Duke Realty is always looking for ways to strengthen and empower those who could be our future associates, customers, and partners. A future full of great opportunities for all is good business for all of us.

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