At Equity Residential we are on a journey focused on aligning our diversity and inclusion goals and initiatives to our purpose, creating communities where people thrive. In order to achieve this it is imperative to cultivate a workplace of belonging that provides a continuous physiological safe space for our employees to easily share their stories, voices and ideas.
In response to the murder of George Flyod and the subsequent unrest in our country, our President and CEO Mark Parrell committed to conducting listening sessions to provide a safe space for employees to share their stories and experiences around race with our Executive leaders and each other. Our listening sessions were led and attended by Executive Committee Members and leadership throughout the organization.
These meetings provided a forum for colleagues to share their experiences and elevate their voices to help Equity appreciate the impact social injustice is having on their professional and personal lives. Employees of color and allies expressed gratitude for a space to come together and have difficult, uncomfortable conversations around race which led to identifying opportunities to explore as we continue to build a culture of inclusion.
The listening sessions have created a powerful shift within our organization. To date approximately 300 employees company-wide at varying levels have attended 14 listening sessions. They have provided a space for employees at all levels to practice storytelling and story listening which opened up spaces for us to be vulnerable while sharing our authentic selves. This shift has reminded us the importance of keeping our focus on our people-first, which will ultimately drive the success of our organization.
These experiences have helped us develop a greater appreciation for our responsibilities as leaders and citizens to continuously advance inclusion through action to live out our purpose, creating communities where all people can thrive.