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#CWTakesPride2018 – Chris Owen

As the Florida Research Manager, Chris Owen is responsible for research operations throughout the State of Florida. He provides quantitative and qualitative analysis of commercial real estate trends to the firm’s business professionals while also fulfilling on-demand requests for clients’ specific needs and business development efforts. This includes continuously developing and implementing industry-leading research that delivers deep market insights that drive value in real estate decisions to support successful client strategies.

Why is Pride Month important to you?

Pride month in Orlando is bittersweet. It kicks off with Gay Days at Disney. I am old enough to remember (and it wasn’t that long ago) when this was an unsanctioned event and one that a family-oriented theme park didn’t want. Before the Internet, Twitter or Facebook, thousands of people would show up at the park with red shirts on to show support and acceptance to the LGBTQ+ community. It was subversive in a very overt way with many of the people working at the park on our side. Today, Gay Days is one of the largest draws to Orlando at the beginning of the Summer. It is wholeheartedly embraced by the community with corporate sponsors. It just shows how far the LGBTQ+ community has come in so short of time.

June also is the anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub tragedy. I am reminded how the people of Orlando came together to provide emotional support and honor the victims of that senseless act. It also showed the at the LGBTQ+ community was deeply interwoven into the everyday fabric of Orlando. We became relatable in our grief. I wish I could say the emotions are still raw from that time, but Orlando is now just one city out of a long list that have experienced similar heartbreak.

Why is diversity important in the workplace?

For me as a manager, diversity in the workforce is important, especially on my team. I think having coworkers with different background and different skills sets improves everyone’s game. We work in a highly competitive and evolving industry that forces us to change and adapt to succeed. If we are not pushing ourselves to experiment and approach challenges in new ways, then we could become irrelevant (or replaced by AI).

How did you self-identify as LGBTQ+ at work?

I do think about self-identifying as LGBTQ+ at work. To me it is a part of who I am. I don’t hide it nor do I have a rainbow flag over my desk. I am old enough to remember how much work it was to be in the closet. The best way I have learned to self-identify at work is just being myself.

Click here to Share Your Story for Pride 2018.

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