Paradigm for Parity® CEO Spotlight Series: Amy Price, President, BentallGreenOak
The Paradigm for Parity® coalition CEO Spotlight Series showcases member company CEOs who are transforming their corporate culture to be one that advances women of all races, cultures, and backgrounds.
This week, Paradigm for Parity’s CEO spotlight is Amy Price — President of BentallGreenOak. In our conversation, Ms. Price shared:
Amy Price began her journey at BentallGreenOak as a Managing Partner in 2019, before stepping into the role of President in early 2021. With 1,300 employees across 13 countries and 28 cities, BentallGreenOak continues to expand upon their legacy of providing investors and stakeholders with premier real estate opportunities across the globe.
Below is the recap of the conversation we had with Ms. Price:
What motivated your company to join the Paradigm for Parity® coalition?
Price: As we became more intentional about our own journey toward diversity and inclusion as a firm, we knew that pledges would provide an important opportunity to: make our objectives known around diversity and inclusion; apply positive public pressure for others to follow suit; and provide access to a shared network of equally motivated and like-minded individuals to learn alongside.
Our view is that if you are willing to commit to success metrics such as gender parity by 2030, and be transparent about your progress, pledges can provide a meaningful springboard to your journey.
With the P4P coalition specifically, BGO felt this was a unique opportunity to participate with a group outside of our industry peers. We recognized that our industry was behind others and any meaningful progress would require us to look outside our traditional sources of best practice information. We had only signed one such pledge to date in support of Black inclusion called the Black North Initiative. Gender inclusion was an intentional and meaningful next step.
What role should CEOs play in leveling the playing field for marginalized groups, including women and people of color, in the workforce?
Price: If you consider diversity, equity, and inclusion to be a strategic business objective, then the role of the CEO is integrally linked to achieving success. Promoting EDI at the highest levels of decision-making will drive accountability.
If you are serious about inclusion, your C-suite must provide that direction, so that leaders across the enterprise feel the call to action to operationalize and embed it throughout your organization. Alongside my colleagues in global leadership, we are the gatekeepers of the overall resources and operations of our firm and we really need to ensure that a clear message ‘from the top’ is shared so it gives others permission to make this a priority.
At BGO, we also took the time as an executive team to ensure that our culture code — our firm’s prescribed set of values and expectations — included ties to EDI so we didn’t lose sight of its importance.
What do you consider to be the benefits of leveling the playing field for women in the workforce for your company and society as a whole?
Price: There’s no question that there are positive benefits to a workforce that is more representative of the clients, tenants, and the community of stakeholders whose interests we serve. Perspectives in all dimensions of diversity lead to broad thinking and resilience in decision-making. For example, most companies that embraced a diverse workforce had already developed remote work programs that allowed them to pivot with minimal issues during the pandemic. Having a culture that welcomes diverse perspectives is also a positive attribute to your brand as an employer in this talent driven market.
When women achieve a more level playing field in the workforce, this balancing flows into society more broadly, allowing men and women to also find a more equitable balance in social and familial endeavors. Our efforts to achieve parity in business settings can have amazingly tangible benefits to society, which gives our efforts that much more urgency.
There is well-documented research to support inclusion and business performance (McKinsey Women in the Workplace). Given the fact that there is still progress to be made, it’s fair to say that the full range of benefits and advantages that come from a diverse workforce are still to be realized. To get there, we are focused on dismantling the systems that hinder progress on this front so that diverse professionals can have access to the opportunities that allow for meaningful contributions and leadership opportunities. We must stay the course to see the true benefits of an inclusive workforce.
How is your company advocating for, lifting up, and supporting women of color in your workplace? What has made the biggest difference in advancing all women in your company?
Price: The programs and initiatives that we advance must begin with knowing our starting point, setting a goal, and measuring and communicating our progress. These are the imperatives for any advocacy effort to succeed. A growing community of women AND men must continue to rally behind our efforts and actively use their influence to achieve the advancements we all want to see. The employee resource group communities that we have formed at BGO over the past two years — including the Black Professionals Alliance, BGO PRIDE, the BGO Asian Network, and the BGO Women’s Network — have provided us with valuable insights that are informing many of our actions and I hope will be a source of inspiration for many more actions to come.
When you look at the Paradigm for Parity® coalition 5-Point Action Plan, is there one step that you think is most critical to ensuring that women of color have the same opportunities for advancement as their colleagues?
Price: Experience has shown us that there is no one-step solution that turns the tide on gender parity in the workplace, particularly as it pertains to women of color. While we have increased the representation of women in many areas of leadership, women of color are still under-represented in senior ranks. This issue will not be overcome through a single business or HR-driven intervention. We have to be holistic in our approach. Addressing recruiting, mentorship, promotion, compensation, and employee benefits with a specific focus on women of color is a key first step and these are all areas of active analysis for us right now.