F&R joins crew network’s “cre pledge for action”

F&R is proud to announce that the firm has joined CREW Network’s CRE Pledge for Action, an initiative to advance women and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts within the commercial real estate industry. With the signature of CEO Sam Proctor, F&R joins an elite group of 90-plus commercial real estate (CRE) industry companies representing more than 342,000 professionals nationwide that have made this commitment to date.

Signing the pledge was an opportunity for F&R to reaffirm values already held by the company. “F&R has been a big tent employer and inclusive long before that term was trendy,” Mr. Proctor said. During its 141-years in business, F&R has been woman- and minority-owned during times in history when these groups faced extreme challenges in such roles. Mr. Proctor’s grandmother led F&R beginning in 1938 when women were not typically actively involved in business. His mother took on leadership in 1975 alongside his father, who was of Native American descent.

“We understand these obstacles because of who we are as a company. We saw it from the other side of the equation, which formed the basis for the attitude of our business today,” said Mr. Proctor. “We simply do not carry negative biases here; we want the best and the brightest from all backgrounds on our team, and we want to help and support people whenever we can.”

A 2020 benchmark study conducted by CREW found that women in the industry earn 10% less than men in base salaries. Additionally, women occupy 36.7% of the industry and hold just 9% of high-ranking executive positions. Only 16% of CRE workplaces have 25% or more staff with diverse ethnicities, origins, and backgrounds. The CRE Pledge for Action aims to course-correct these disparities, which haven’t seen much real progress within the last five years, according to CREW.

As a certified Virginia Small, Women-owned, and Minority-owned (SWaM) and North Carolina Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUB) firm, F&R’s commitment to diversity at all levels naturally aligns with the pledge’s goal. “Every business has the opportunity to make for a better community with a diversified employee pool,” said Mr. Proctor. “At F&R, everybody will get a shot in any position – it’s a level playing field for all.”

Alyssa Budlong, Due Diligence Practice Leader with F&R’s Environmental Department and CREW Richmond member, is proud to work for a company that signed the CRE Pledge for Action. She immediately knew when she heard about the initiative at a CREW Network Convention last year that it was an excellent fit for the company. “I truly feel like we have been meeting all of the criteria of the pledge, and by signing it, Sam committed to continuing to promote the things that already make F&R a great place to work,” said Ms. Budlong. “I love working for a company that respects and empowers women leaders and advocates for our seats at the table.”

By signing the CRE Pledge for Action, F&R has committed to:

  • Partner with CREW Network to support its mission to transform the industry by advancing women, and begin efforts now to make change.
  • Close the compensation gap in the CRE industry by conducting a pay equity study.
  • Increase inclusion through senior executive sponsorship of women and/or other individuals in underrepresented groups within the company.
  • Advance women to its company’s top roles to achieve gender diversity in leadership.
  • Increase diversity in the company and in the industry through intentional recruiting and hiring of individuals from diverse backgrounds.
  • Implement accountability strategies in the company to measure progress.

Signing the pledge means F&R is committed to building on our existing foundation of equity and inclusion. “F&R is a safe place to work,” said Mr. Proctor. “We want to ensure we have the most healthy, happy, and constructive business environment possible for all here.”

For more information on this initiative, visit the CRE Pledge for Action page here.