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Ask Augusta: Five Questions with Cushman & Wakefield's Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer

Brielle Lisa • 2/11/2021

Ask Augusta (image)

Nadine Augusta joined Cushman & Wakefield in December 2020 as the firm’s first Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer (CDEIO). As a member of the Global Management Team, Nadine will establish her vision for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and develop our global DEI strategy and priorities covering the workforce, workplace and the marketplace.

Prior to Cushman & Wakefield, Nadine led Diversity & Inclusion for Goldman Sachs’ 35,000 employees across the Americas region. Prior to that role, she served as executive director for the global financial services company DTCC, leading Global Diversity & Inclusion and Corporate Social Responsibility, covering 16 countries in North America, Asia Pacific and Europe. She previously served as senior vice president, Global Diversity & Inclusion for Bank of America and held other transformation and operations roles within the company.

 

The Interview

Q1: Congratulations on your two-month anniversary at Cushman & Wakefield! How would you describe your experience so far?

A1: As many of us know, working remotely during a pandemic – let alone onboarding – is challenging. That said,
I have never felt more welcomed to an organization in a new role. Before I even started, employees at all levels of the company reached out to congratulate me and offer their support. Our people are genuinely kind and are excited about the direction the company is headed. I want Cushman & Wakefield to be a place where all employees feel welcomed, valued and supported; and that they can advance their careers and thrive. Explore careers at Cushman & Wakefield.

 

Q2: Your role, Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer, is newly created at Cushman & Wakefield. How would you define each facet of your title?

Diversity simply means difference and when we are talking about diversity in a corporate context we are usually referring to diversity of identities such as race, gender, sexual orientation and disability.

Equity is about fair treatment, access and opportunity.  It’s about recognizing that advantages and barriers exists and making the commitment to address the imbalance. Inclusion is about people with different identities feeling welcomed, respected, valued and like they belong.

The garden metaphor captures DEI well. Diversity is all the vegetation planted in the garden, inclusion is the soil that nurtures and promotes growth, and equity is the amount of sunlight and water each plant needs to thrive. The right combination of these elements creates the conditions that enables the garden to flourish. Similarly, employees with different identities can thrive in organizations that values diversity, are inclusive and equitable.

 

Q3: In our company's press release announcing your new role, you said, “Diversity, equity, and inclusion is everyone’s responsibility.” What are some common misconceptions about your role as CDEIO that you want to dispel now?

A3: The biggest misconception is that I alone, as CDEIO, am responsible for solving every diversity, equity and inclusion problem that exists. While I am catalyst and facilitator of change, everyone within the company is responsible for DEI. For example, our leaders are responsible for setting the tone, modeling behaviors and holding themselves and their directs accountable. Employees are responsible for not being bystanders. If we see something, we are responsible for saying something. We are all culture-makers and accountability partners. 

 

Q4: While not everyone is a full-time DEI professional, many people are asking the question, “How can I be an effective ally?” What are some key behaviors of an effective ally?

A4: Being an ally is simple, we must take the initiative and step outside of our comfort zone. Here are a few suggestions of actions you can take: Be intellectually curious and educate yourself – there are so many resources out there. Know and own your privilege. Build trusting relationships with people who are different than you. Mentor someone who is different than you. Don’t be a bystander; if you see something, speak up about it.

 

Q5: As you look ahead to the rest of the year, what are you excited about – both at work and outside of it?

A5: In this new role, I’m excited about the work ahead! I’m ready to partner with leadership to build a DEI strategy that will resonate and set us on a course for positive change. I think there is a lot of really good work ahead of us and I am confident in the commitment of our company's leadership to change. 

Outside of work, it all goes back to my son. He is about to have a birthday and starts high school in the fall. I’m hopeful for some semblance of normalcy for that big moment in his life.

Diversity and Inclusion
When our workforce and clients reflect the world around us, everyone succeeds. We are committed to creating a diverse and inclusive culture.
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