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  • Muriel Aubry Thompson

How Colliers’ Commitment to Project REAP is Leading to More Diverse Recruitment

Updated: Dec 12, 2022

Colliers' Associate Calvin Mooney worked in the Finance field for six years, and he spent five of them trying unsuccessfully to transition into a commercial real estate career. Despite his abundant qualifications, Calvin's rivals steadily held the advantage when it came to one key element: networking. That all changed with the help of Project REAP's unique model. Most CRE jobseekers typically start their careers through networking with family, friends, and colleagues — a significant roadblock to newcomers like Calvin. REAP solves this with a multi-layer approach that includes both education and networking opportunities.

As a REAP 2019 graduating class member, Calvin met the contacts who helped launch his journey into commercial real estate. "It wasn't until I went through the REAP program that opportunities started to present themselves," he explained. After a year at a boutique CRE group, Calvin was ready to move up in the industry. "I received an email from REAP that Colliers was looking to hire an associate," he explained. "I applied, was interviewed, and hired! Having REAP on my résumé was a great conversation starter."

Meanwhile, the historic events of 2020 inspired Colliers' leadership to redouble our commitment regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion in attracting, developing, and retaining talent. To this end, the company's Executive Diversity Council has been guiding our DEI investment with an intentional, robust action plan. It includes providing operational support, scholarships, internships, and recruiting opportunities to national DEI-focused organizations and/or their members. Project REAP, AAREP, and Project Destined are high on the list.

Through that kind of support, REAP's industry-wide influence has been growing. This means that we at Collier's have happily been attracting candidates with Project REAP training, which led Calvin to his current role at our company. We're confident that REAP graduates are strengthening Colliers' workforce. And we know that supporting the Project REAP organization, among others, will ultimately lead to modernized hiring practices to deliver stronger business gains across the industry.

Another of Colliers' employees also made his way into commercial real estate through the program. Before graduating from Project REAP, Colliers Associate Efren Valdovinos operated a Downtown Los Angeles-based wholesale business specializing in imported groceries and confections. He also worked in public service as a project manager for the City of Los Angeles Mayor's Office and as a Field Deputy for a California Assemblyman. Participating in the program enhanced Efren's success when he transitioned into his new field. "REAP helped me elevate my CRE career by providing valuable real estate knowledge and professional connections," he said.

Project REAP's Program Director, Shawan Edwards, joins us in looking forward to even more success stories. "Collier's financial support and the hiring of talent from Project REAP's alumni pipeline of over 1,700 is illustrative of Project REAP's mission of increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in the real estate industry," she said. "It doesn't get any better than that. We are proud partners with Colliers and look forward to more great things."

Calvin and Efren are prime examples of how Project REAP works with people from other professions — such as banking, business, or engineering — and supports their interest in joining the CRE industry. A part of REAP's success owes to its method of introducing prospective employers to program graduates. As future participants in REAP's highly regarded business-oriented events, Colliers' talent acquisition professionals are excited to meet the program's career candidates. Project REAP's efforts are already positively impacting the industry.

We look forward to being part of what comes next.

Muriel Aubry Thompson is the director of social impact and employee relations for Colliers North America

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