Inclusion is a core value at Miller Zell, and that means it’s important every day of every year.
But during Pride Month, when we honor those who fought for LGBTQ+ rights since the Stonewall Uprising in June of 1969, it’s important to ensure our focus is not just on words of support but also tangible actions that advance the inclusive culture of Miller Zell and our community.
That’s why Miller Zell was a sponsor for the 2022 LGBTQ+ Unity Summit hosted by Georgia Diversity Council (GADC), and why a crew of our associates attended the event. The GADC helps businesses and organizations foster a learning environment so they can grow and leverage their expanding understanding of diversity, adopt Diversity, Equity & Inclusion best practices and develop diverse leaders.
“The Summit gave me actionable insights directly from the community we would like to engage,” said Amber Collins, Miller Zell’s Sales Engagement Manager and member of our DEI committee.
“But, more importantly, it gave us the opportunity to listen without pressuring our co-workers to represent a very diverse and layered identity. It is imperative to remember there are many lenses to identity, and one voice does not equal all.”
Embracing diversity and inclusion is not just an ethical and moral decision tethered to corporate social responsibility. It’s also about good business. Cultivating an inclusive atmosphere where all voices feel heard will bolster recruiting, hiring, workplace culture, community outreach and the bottom line.
“I gained more than a few valuable nuggets of information at the Summit that I feel were powerful,” said Julie Young, Miller Zell’s Talent Director and a member of our DEI committee.
“A big one was that leaders should connect with empathy and lead with compassion. You hear a lot about how leaders should have empathy, but adding that they should lead with compassion is something that will help take the team to the next level.”
Young also noted that speaker Danielle Jackson, the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Manager at FirstKey Homes, emphasized that it’s important to educate yourself and not depend on the community to educate you on important matters that affect employees, a concept that will elevate conversations and drive results and awareness.
“It’s important to ensure the ERGs (employee resource groups) have allies who are active members of the group,” Young said. “It will help give an outside perspective with fresh eyes.”
Cultivating the inclusivity of Miller Zell’s culture is deeply connected to supporting causes that are important to our associates. Senior Motion Graphics Designer Aaron Legere guided Miller Zell toward supporting Lost-n-Found Youth, an Atlanta-based nonprofit that seeks to end homelessness for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ+) and all sexual minority youth.
“As a member of the LGBTQ+ community myself, I was fortunate to have a family that accepted me for who I am with open arms and understanding,” he said. “However, I know many people – some personally – who do or did not have the same support system I did. Any and all aid that we as an organization can pass along is important to me as somewhat of a pay-it-forward moment toward our community’s most vulnerable.”
Legere’s advocacy is a big reason why Lost-n-Found Youth is now among the more than 80 different charities to which Miller Zell contributes.
Not only does doing the right thing make us feel proud of our organization, it also helps us better serve our clients, as understanding the power of cultivating diversity and inclusion in brand communications will be foundational for businesses going forward.
Inclusion is a core value at Miller Zell. It’s also a strength that makes us a better company.