07/27/2020 | by Diane Rusignola

Duke Realty Corporation (NYSE: DRE) was one of three winners in Nareit’s inaugural Diversity & Inclusion Recognition Awards in 2019. Jenny Bean, senior vice president of human resources at Duke, sat down with Nareit to discuss the company’s D&I program.


  • Who owns your D&I plan? Who are the stakeholders?
  • How often do you revisit and amend your plan?
  • How do you define “diverse”?

Duke Realty is committed to equality, diversity, and inclusion in all aspects of our workplace. The Executive Team owns the D&I plan to make sure it's being followed and implemented, but overall, our associates and our shareholders own it because that's who we are.

Annually, we review our diversity and inclusive initiatives to make sure it is meeting the needs of our shareholders. We believe developing and sustaining relationships with our key stakeholders is the foundation of our success. Relationships involve understanding and valuing our similarities and differences and using that understanding to grow mutually beneficial partnerships

Diversity is who we are; inclusion is how we work together.


  • Have you identified pipelines for diverse candidates? Have you had to create them if they didn’t already exist?

A big part of our diversity and inclusion work over the last 20 years has been around recruitment. We are involved in several programs. A few of the programs include Project REAP, which is a real estate apprentice program dedicated to diverse professionals that want to work in commercial real estate. Another program that we created is the DREAM scholarship. The DREAM Scholarship is a program with Roosevelt University in Chicago to enhance the advancement of minorities and women in the real estate arena. Each student receives $5,000 each year for two years toward their Master of Business Administration in real estate or any type of real estate degree.

Networking is also a big piece of recruiting and finding diverse talent. Our managers are expected to network with diverse organizations throughout the year.


  • Do you train managers on implicit and unconscious bias? How often and how?
  • Do you take steps to ensure there are diverse candidates interviewed for all positions? If so, explain.

Managers are educated each year on D & I. Part of the education includes implicit and unconscious bias. The D & I Council, explained below, will provide material throughout the year, along with hosting an annual speaker.

We started our VIP program—Value In People—in 2014. The program sets standards to ensure we have a diverse candidate slate for all open positions before a hiring decision is made. We also ensure that we have female candidates for select positions like construction and leasing where females are underrepresented. If you want to try to hire someone without having a diverse slate, you have to get approval from our CEO. The program is improving our hiring percentage of women and minorities. Last year, 67% of our hires in mid and top-level positions were either females or diverse candidates.


  • Do you use mentorship and sponsorship programs as employee retention methods?
  • What programs and policies have you implemented to retain talent? (i.e. affinity groups, maternity/paternity leave, flexible work arrangements, training, etc.)
  • Are supervisors’ bonuses dependent, at least in part, on how they treat/promote members of diverse groups they supervise?

We have two mentoring programs. Our executive mentoring program is for diverse associates and females in our organization. An executive committee member gets matched with a diverse person and for that year, they have meetings, work on a project, and do a volunteer day together. The program has been running for five years. We recently went through our stats and saw that 55% of the people who have been in the program have been promoted.

In addition, we have our regular mentoring program for associates that was started in 1997. In 2020, 32% of our company, or 122 out of 387 employees, are in the mentoring program.

Another program is the women's network that was started a few years ago. Two of our female associates, one in Indianapolis and the other in Atlanta, co-chair the program. The program has men on the committee to get a different point of view, and men also attend the events. Every quarter, the women's networking group hosts an event or speaker. Speakers consist of our female board members, internal associates and external speakers.

D & I Council

Recently, we restructured our D&I Council at Duke, taking it from its own bucket and moving it into what we call our Foundation for Business Success. Four pillars make up our business success. They include Business Development, Workplace, Supplier Diversity, and Community Outreach. Each of these pillars includes various programs and activities that involve some aspect of D & I. Our D & I Council is housed within our Workforce pillar. The goal and mission of the Council is to educate, increase awareness, and advocate D & I within Duke Realty and the communities we serve. This year, the D&I Council hired a professional speaker to speak to the entire company about being authentic and how to bring your authentic self to work. Also, the D& I Council hosted a discussion on Racial Inequality made up of a panel of internal African American associates.

Duke Realty also invests in their leaders. There are two leadership programs that assist in developing and retaining our top talent.

Leadership Excellence at Duke Realty (LEAD), which has a class of 14 members, is for leaders that show potential for ongoing growth. LEAD meets every month for two days. One of the best aspects of the program is the exposure its members get to the Executive team.

Every three years we do a large engagement survey. Several years ago, associates wanted a mid-level training program. We created a program called CLIMB (Create, Lead, Inspire, Motivate and Build). CLIMB has been a huge learning opportunity for associates.


  • How do you provide meaningful work opportunities for employees?
  • Have you clarified promotional criteria? What skills do you value in potential promotable employees?

Duke Realty provides opportunities for associates to participate in various committees. A few of the committees include the Corporate Responsibility, Risk Management and Research Committee.

There are various ways to develop your skills within Duke Realty and outside the company. As we promote associates, we expect them to have the technical skills for that next level so we focus more on their leadership skills and their ability to develop associates.


  • What reporting do you use to measure the success of D&I programs, company and board demographics, and pay equity by race and gender?

One way that we measure is through our engagement surveys. We have an in-depth survey every 3 years, but then have smaller surveys throughout the year.

We also measure our diverse hiring. Recently, we examined our minority and women hires. From 2010 to 2019, our females increased from 39.5% to 46%, and our diverse employees went from 9.5% to 13%. In our management committee (VPs and above) of about 50 associates, females increased from 13% in 2010 to 24% in 2019, and minorities went from 3% to 6%.

For the last several years, Duke Realty has been recognized by Women on Boards as a Winning “W” company for having over 20% Women on the board. Overall, 46% of our board is made up of female and diverse members.

We look at pay equity multiple times throughout the year. We start reviewing pay equity when we hire someone, at mid-year review time, during the Executive Committee Talent Review meetings and at year end. This gives us multiple opportunites to make adjustments as needed.

Public Reporting

  • What key metrics do you report publicly? (If none, say so; if internally, say so.)
  • Where do you report your findings? (i.e. standalone report, SEC filing, website, specific framework, other)
  • Do you know your ESG scores from Sustainalytics and/or similar frameworks?

In the 10-K, we reported on a few SASB topics this year, including energy management (IF-RE-130a.5), water management (IF-RE-140a.4), and climate change adaption (IF-RE-140a.4). In our proxy statement, we report on the independence of our board and gender diversity of our board.

In our corporate responsibility report this year, we did it in alignment with GRI standards. We added general disclosures, employment, training and education, diversity and equal opportunity, local communities, and supplier social assessment.

We report our findings in our Corporate Responsibility Report, and some information on our website and in SEC filings (10-K and proxy statement). We follow our ISS scores and also participate in GRESB. For Sustainalytics, we have not responded previously but intend to this year. Our publicly disclosed numbers are:


ISS Quality Score: 3

Sustainalytics ESG Risk Rating = Per yahoo finance, 16 (low risk)

MSCI: BBB (average)

Targets for Improvement

  • What areas for improvement have you identified? Which areas have you identified internally and publicly?

One area that we will continue to work on is hiring diverse associates in mid and top level positions. This will only increase our diversity overall. Also, we want to continue to have an open dialogue within our organization regarding race and inequality. This is even more important in today’s world.