A Fireside Chat with Sonny Kalsi Event Recap

Friday, Nov 20, 2020

Be a catalyst for change! That was the message members received from a candid and uplifting fireside chat with Sonny Kalsi, CEO of BentallGreenOak.  BGO has been in the spotlight since Sonny announced during an interview with PERE in late August that he would be pushing for more aggressive diverse recruiting policies at BGO, including a minimum recruitment target of 66.7% minorities and women.  Sonny shared his intention behind this decision and the reactions it garnered from his team at BGO, as well as other colleagues in the commercial real estate industry.  As you may expect, there were varying reactions!  Sonny made it clear that while recruitment is focused on finding the right person for the job, recruitment must also dig deeper to ensure that there is a diverse combination of experience and background on a team in order to lead to the best productive and successful team.  Would this mean losing quality candidates in search of achieving this target?  No, accordingly to Sonny.  In his view, using this type of qualitative policy will ensure the best diverse candidates are hired.  And once hired, Sonny let members in on how BGO plans to retain this talent through retention and mentorship initiatives that are in the works.

Will others in the industry follow suit in the “Kalsi Diversity Challenge”? Sonny hopes so.  He expressed his wish that other companies will follow suit and take this initiative even further.  And each of us has a role to play too.  He encouraged members to push their companies to do more as well as to “vote with their feet” – to work for those companies who are not only saying the right things but who are actually taking steps and implementing those values that are aligned with our own. As Sonny relayed: take control and be proactive. We are the future!

sonny event