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Meet BUILD Members Paving the Path

David Harris • 2/4/2020
This Black History Month, Cushman & Wakefield celebrates Black/African Americans who have made critical contributions to U.S. history—and paved the way for those today who are doing the same.

Advancement and achievement in professional and community life are accomplished step-by-step, day-by-day, by hard-working, visionary people—including people we are very proud to have here at our firm.

Below, meet a few of the Cushman & Wakefield colleagues and BUILD members who are helping our firm travel new roads to build a more diverse, inclusive business. They discuss recruitment, business development and retention/growth, and why involvement in ERGs like BUILD matter.

David M. Harris

Meet David M. Harris, Executive Managing Director, Global Occupier Services, based in San Francisco. David is a Cushman & Wakefield colleague and Blacks United in Leadership & Development (BUILD) member who is helping our firm travel new roads to build a more diverse, inclusive business. Below, he discusses business development and more. 

Q: What do diverse experiences, backgrounds and perspectives bring to business development?

David: In broad terms, diversity enhances our creativity, which can be the cornerstone for our business development teams to differentiate ourselves from our competitors. We all see the world through a unique lens forged by our experiences and perspectives. Diverse groups approach problem-solving differently and that collaboration among members can lead to more thoughtful solutions—and perhaps even breakthrough thinking.

Q: How does the BUILD Employee Resource Group (ERG) support diverse voices in business development—directly or through support of its members?

David: As a way to align with business development, the BUILD Leadership Team has set its sights on sponsoring a fundraiser event with participation from our key and potential clients. As with most ERGs, BUILD has the potential to tap into our own organizational networks and professional contacts to augment our pursuit of business. Additionally, BUILD members will periodically support our BD teams in their pursuit of new clients. At only 18 months old, we’re getting a lot done, but still developing.

Q: How does Cushman & Wakefield as a firm support diverse voices in business development—directly or through support of its members?

David: Across the enterprise, Cushman & Wakefield has been supporting the diversity and inclusion agenda through ERG activities and direct communications like awareness of micro-affirmations. I have noticed our BD leads considering not only the composition of the teams developing the client proposals, but also the make-up of the client pitch team. There is a desire to ensure that our team is as diverse as some of the corporate clients we seek to work with. It is a good practice to support ERGs, since they are designed to add business value by leveraging the unique talents and energies of Cushman & Wakefield workforce.

Q: How is BUILD helping make an impact on the firm, the industry, and communities?

David: BUILD has formed its agenda around several key areas—professional development, recruitment, community engagement and membership growth and participation. Last year, we executed programs that increase the awareness of contributions of African Americans, gave high school students an opportunity to shadow real estate professionals, supported college recruiting at Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) and had our colleagues participate in a nationally recognized professional development symposium.

David Harris is Executive Managing Director, Global Occupier Services and is responsible for the executive account oversight of accounts delivering real estate service lines including facility management, space and portfolio planning, transactions and project management to multiple Corporate Occupiers.

Marques L. Williams

Meet Marques L. Williams, Director, Global Brokerage, Media & Technology Practice Group, in Los Angeles. Marques is a Cushman & Wakefield colleague and Blacks United in Leadership & Development (BUILD) member who is helping our firm travel new roads to build a more diverse, inclusive business. Below, he discusses networking and more.

Q: How does Cushman & Wakefield create opportunities for colleagues to network and build their careers?

Marques: Opportunities for career development are often a result of an individual’s skillsets, plus a platform that fosters those skills. Cushman & Wakefield has created an environment that supports personal and professional growth by celebrating diversity of thought and building an inclusive culture. Our Cushman & Wakefield PREP Associates program was developed to help train, mentor and build networking opportunities for people entering brokerage. Our Cushman & Wakefield Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) accomplish much more than recruitment, retention and revenue—they provide opportunities to collaborate and build direct working relationships. Cushman & Wakefield is investing in individuals, cultivating communities, creating platforms and shaping a culture rooted in growth and inclusion.

Q: How does being in an ERG make a person more likely to stay with the firm?

Marques: Employee Resource Groups highlight individuality and collectiveness simultaneously, which has a powerful effect on retention. These employee-led groups align with our core values, goals and objectives by maintaining a focus on recruitment, inclusion, philanthropy and retention. Often, the process of joining begins with an individual identifying with a certain ERG group, which transitions into commitment. Once an individual becomes a member, the opportunity to engage in leadership roles, committees or in any other capacity is decided on a chapter level. This opportunity creates a highly inclusive environment for Cushman & Wakefield employees.

Q: How is BUILD helping make an impact on the firm, the industry, in communities?

Marques: BUILD has a core mission rooted in diversity and inclusion, which is in full alignment with the firm’s objectives. Our focus is to help reverse the underrepresentation of minority communities through recruitment, retention and engaging with the community. Our local chapters have taken a grass-roots approach toward accomplishing these goals, and we’ve developed relationships with organizations like the African American Real Estate Professionals network on a national basis to help support the mission. The BUILD ERG is developing a foundation that will support the firm and its initiatives of attracting and retaining top level talent and celebrating diversity of thought and experience in the workplace.

Marques Williams is a Director in Cushman & Wakefield's Emerging Tech & newCommerce Practice Groups, with a specialty in representing high growth companies.

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