07/07/2022 | by
Feeding Our Communities
In early 2020, Regency teams in more than 20 markets across the country assembled to gather and distribute food for people negatively impacted by COVID lockdowns. Here, Barry Argalas (front row, second from left) and members of Regency’s Jacksonville, FL team gathered at a safe distance to package food from their Brooklyn Station on Riverside property. Photo courtesy of Regency Centers Corporation.

This case study was published in the 2022 REIT Industry ESG Report, which details the REIT and publicly traded real estate industry's environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance and features 32 case studies showcasing REIT leadership and ESG innovation from a variety of sectors. The report serves as a practical tool for shareholders and stakeholders to assess the scale and impact of the REIT industry's ESG commitments and initiatives. Applicable footnotes and/or citations for this case study are available in the full report.

Advancing DEI with a Structured, Employee-Driven Approach

Regency Centers Corporation believes that people are the company’s greatest asset and that developing a team with differing backgrounds and experiences drives value for the business and communities the company serves.

Following a period of wide-spread social unrest, Regency accelerated its diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) strategy—an initiative that developed over several years. The intent was to integrate DEI into business practices, increase employee engagement, and build support for social justice in Regency’s communities.

The strategy was first formed by various cross-functional focus groups who helped evaluate current DEI efforts. As a result of the discussions, and with assistance from expert vendors, Regency built an overarching strategy roadmap, overseen by a dedicated DEI Council, comprised of leaders from across the business.

“After taking a leadership role in a newly formed employee resource group (ERG), my conversations with coworkers have expanded across all disciplines in the company. ERGs are a terrific resource that allow me—and its members—to engage in meaningful interactions with people whose functional paths may not typically cross at work.”
-Barry Argalas, SVP, National Transactions & Investment Strategy (and Executive Sponsor of EDGE, the Ethnic Diversity Group for Everyone), Regency Centers Corporation

The strategy has four distinct pillars: talent, culture, marketplace, and communities; each with a unique set of focus areas and initiatives:

Talent: Regency developed recruitment partnerships with Circa, International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), Jopwell, and Nareit to broadcast jobs to a more diverse pool of candidates than traditional recruitment avenues previously allowed.

Culture: The company launched employee resource groups (ERGs) which bring together employees with shared characteristics or experiences to work together, network, and raise awareness of relevant issues. ERGs foster employee engagement of DEI issues and help drive innovative programs for the whole company. For instance, Regency’s female-led group developed a mentorship program, which will be implemented company-wide.

Marketplace: In the marketplace, Regency put processes and systems in place for collecting information about the diversity in areas surrounding company sites, looking toward the future for neighborhoods where the company’s centers are located. In addition, these mechanisms will further Regency’s commitment to supporting diversity and creating a meaningful merchandising mix among its tenant bases.

Communities: Regency’s community efforts include the company’s Communities Program where a committee of employees select charitable organizations, the top three of which are then voted on by the broader employee group to be selected, for a philanthropic donation. This process ensures that corporate donations to the community are aligned with employee and company values.

In addition to these efforts, Regency’s commitment to DEI is reinforced by the company’s CEO, Lisa Palmer, signing the CEO Action Pledge for Diversity and Inclusion, quarterly town halls, executive sponsorship of the ERGs, and unconscious bias training for all employees.

Regency Centers is the preeminent national owner, operator, and developer of shopping centers located in suburban trade areas with compelling demographics. Operating as a fully integrated real estate company, Regency Centers is a qualified REIT that is self-administered, self-managed, and an S&P 500 Index member.

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