Nareit gave its inaugural awards to companies and an individual who demonstrated a strong commitment and made outstanding contributions to the advancement of diversity and inclusion.
The winning companies are Duke Realty Corp., gold award; Healthpeak Properties Inc., silver; and Camden Property Trust, bronze. The heads of all three companies — Richard Campo, Camden chairman and CEO; James B. Connor, Duke Realty chairman and CEO; and Thomas Herzog, Healthpeak CEO — stressed during a lunch panel discussion at Nareit's annual REITworld conference Nov. 13 in Beverly Hills, Calif., that the industry and their companies all had further to go to diversify their executive teams.
"It's hard to recruit senior-level women executives because it's been more of a male-dominated industry in the past," Mr. Herzog said.
Mr. Campo noted he expects there to be more diversity in top management at Camden fairly soon because the two co-founders are in their mid-60s and the pipeline of junior executives who could be promoted "is pretty diverse."
Mr. Connor, who won the individual award, said diversifying the C-suite will continue to gain momentum over time, taking four to eight years to diversify.
"It'll snowball" because Duke Realty has recruited women and minorities and supported them up the ranks with programs such as mentorships with senior management, Mr. Connor said in an interview. Currently, two of Duke's 10-member executive committee are women. Women make up about 27% of senior management, roughly 47% of middle management and about 38% of entry-level employees.
Lisa Alonso, senior vice president of human resources at Healthpeak, Irvine, Calif., will become the company's first female C-suite executive when her promotion to chief of human resources becomes effective at the beginning of next year, Ms. Alonso said in an interview. Currently, 20% of Healthpeak executives at the senior vice president level and above and 57% of the entire company are female. Some 40% of employees companywide are minorities, she said.