In honor of Black History Month, Cushman & Wakefield interviewed members of Blacks United in Leadership and Development (BUILD), a new employee resource group established for colleagues at Cushman & Wakefield who identify as African, African-American, Afro-Latin, Black, Caribbean, and West Indian; with origins from Africa, North America, the Caribbean, Central America, the Pacific Islands and South America. The group supports career and leadership development, networking opportunities, employee recognition and community service, with the goal of attracting and retaining diverse talent throughout Cushman & Wakefield.
This week, we interviewed Josh Lewis, Senior Administrative Assistant to the Office Tenant Representation team. Josh assists brokers with a variety of tasks that take place in and out of the office. The range of tasks is extensive from setting up onsite events to creating tour books for brokers and clients to reference as they view options in the market. Josh has been with us a full year and is on track to becoming a broker.
Cushman & Wakefield: How did your upbringing help shape who you are today?
Josh Lewis: I am sure the majority of people reading this are a bit older than 23 and can attest to the fact that life will throw what it wants at you whenever it feels like it. There were a few wake up calls that hit me as I came into adulthood. I never knew that they would take so much money out of my check for taxes. I also never knew that some people would not like the way my skin looks even though that is something out of my control.
I found out the latter as a child, and I had questions for my parents. I feel as though they answered them the best they could. I was taught to treat everyone equally no matter what they look like. I was taught to be the best I could be to people every day. I was taught that there will be things in life I can’t change. I was also taught that I have a calling to be the change. I still have questions on how I will fulfill this calling, but I am aware and I know it is real and it is present in my life right now. I do not need to tell the people who take the time to read this that there is an issue with equality in our society. Those are not the hearts and minds I would like to touch. I would like to leave a lasting effect on those who are opposed to these ideals. How? I am not sure, but I will not be alone. No matter how I am perceived, I will let my character shine brighter than all else.
Why do you feel it’s important for companies to create diversity?
I personally do not like the phrase, “Because it’s the right thing to do,” when speaking on the importance of diversity. It is so much more than that. It is a disadvantage to those who have never experienced the power of a diverse team. Think of the company as a paint palette, with each color on the palette representing a difference in an individual. The more colors, the more opportunity to paint a beautiful picture. We all have so much value to offer each other. Let yourself be receptive to those things, even though they may be unfamiliar. The world we live in is changing so fast, and it is easy to get caught in the “silo” with so many moving parts around us. Also, it is no secret that easy, comfortable things do not help us to grow. It is making the change, taking the action, and leaving the comfort zone that will take a company to the next level.