Striving for A Better Tomorrow: How CREW is Driving Its Mission for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

August 26, 2020

PULSE CHECK! How are you REALLY feeling?

We are amid a global pandemic, a presidential election and continued conversations around the need for racial equality. Before you decide that this blog post is “just another one of those conversations”, stop and read how the CREW Network DEI Taskforce is working toward the accomplishment of one of the Network’s 2020-2023 Strategic Plan goals.

Goal 3: CREW Network is the global thought-leader regarding diversity, equity and inclusion in commercial real estate.


  1. Ensure chapter leaders, committees and members embrace diversity as a core principle for member growth and engagement and have the knowledge and tools to move diversity and inclusion forward at the chapter level.
  2. Position CREW Network as the only source for research and data on women and diversity in commercial real estate.

CREW Network, an organization transforming the commercial real estate industry by advancing women globally, has always had a vision for a better tomorrow. Recognizing the broader issues in diversity, equity and inclusion, a DEI Taskforce was created and given the charge to build understanding and knowledge, and increase commitment and intentionality for actionable change through resources, tools and training for CREW Chapter leaders and members. The taskforce has spent time clearly defining what CREW Network means when the words diversity, equity and inclusion are used, and has been divided into three subgroups to provide a toolkit, best practice resources and a playbook.

CREW Network is laying the foundation for success throughout the organization and supporting local chapters by:

  • Creating the tools and resources that chapter leaders need to increase their understanding of and intentionality about DEI, which will result in greater diversity throughout the organization, including chapter leadership.
  • Investing in extensive training and development resources for chapter boards, leaders and committee chairs. The learning programs will begin in September and be held on an ongoing basis.
  • Undertaking a comprehensive examination of governance policies and procedures to identify areas of systemic racism and eradicate any aspects of our governance that prevent individuals from diverse backgrounds from full engagement and opportunity within the organization.

Looking Within Ourselves to Impact Change

To experience impactful change, CREW Atlanta members must be more intentional in our efforts to be a highly diverse, equitable and inclusive organization. With a deliberate focus on making a difference locally, our efforts will resonate globally. We must further engage our heart-led leadership, thereby creating and fostering an environment where people are celebrated as individuals.

While baseline data of the chapter’s population provides insight, we do not have to wait on the data to start a movement. We can use our eyesight to see where opportunities lie to invite co-workers, vendor partners and CRE community leaders that represent diverse ethnicities, skin colors, disabilities, genders, sexual orientation, religions, ages, etc., to check out our chapter. After the invitations have been extended, we can work with intentionality to make our guests feel welcome, and excited about the next opportunity to engage with us. And while we’re at it, we can make sure our current membership is aware of, and provided equal access to, opportunities for participation.

This is our time to rise up within Atlanta’s CRE community. We can announce that we are open to all, that systemic racism has no place in our chapter, continue to walk our talk, and support the vision and plans set forth by CREW Network.

Elevating Equity Beyond Commercial Real Estate

Equal access to opportunity is a theme common to all industries. Organizations must not only clearly identify their need for a more diverse candidate pool, they must also ensure those diverse candidates have equal access and participation in all opportunities. Greater equity and intentional inclusion will lead to the attraction and retention of diverse professionals, inside and outside of the CRE industry, who will no longer feel the need to look elsewhere for opportunities.

Individuals and organizations everywhere are having difficult conversations surrounding DEI, and some are feeling overwhelmed and discouraged at the rate of (or lack of) progress. These feelings are understandable. It takes courage to share our stories, and to listen as others do the same. The conversations continue, so be encouraged! This is our time at the mic. We are positioning our chapter, and the greater organization, to leave a legacy of positive change. Just imagine the unstoppable impact of 12,000 CREW members advocating for this common goal!

Here are some interim steps we can all take toward reaching this goal:

  • Register and attend (virtually) this year’s CREW Convention. There will be multiple sessions on DEI at the 2020 Convention, including a mega session with DEI experts, conversation corners and small group discussions.
  • Participate in DEI training for chapter leaders at the 2020 Fall Leadership Summit followed by a year-long DEI leadership training program designed for chapter leaders in 2021.
  • Read and share the 2020 CREW Network Benchmark Study, which launches September 2. It will include diversity benchmarks for the industry, and additional data on both gender and race compensation gaps to capture issues of intersectionality with respect to compensation.

As our organization continues to evolve, these goals will shift and expand. While we can only predict the future, we can certainly be excited and optimistic as we work to activate our strategic plan. And when we look back on this time, we will be able to see, measure and experience how far we have come!

As a project manager, Diana Robinson-Sinkford is responsible for providing project and move management services in the delivery of interior projects, serving both owners and occupiers. In this position, she combines business development and client relations skills, with more than 15 years of experience in commercial and residential moving, storage and full relocation services. She is co-chair for Beyond Atlanta for the CREW Atlanta chapter, and a member of the CREW Network Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Task Force. Diana can be contacted at