by Paul Willis
LIVEbe Communities, a premier apartment developer and operator dedicated to delivering distinct apartment homes within connected communities, today announced a series of diversity, equity and inclusion efforts designed to craft a more welcoming and creative workplace environment.
LIVEbe first established its DEI Committee, composed of a diverse group of volunteer ambassadors—the company’s term for its employees—in spring 2021. LIVEbe’s ambitions for the committee were twofold: to promote the value of a diverse and inclusive workplace and to create a welcoming and respectful environment for all.
“We recognize that a DEI initiative is essential to the fabric of any organization,” said Debra White, events coordinator for LIVEbe. “The committee strives to foster creativity, innovation and productivity, while also promoting fairness and equity throughout the organization. As such, we have aggressively unveiled as many relevant DEI initiatives as we can, and we’re aiming to accomplish significant milestones with each.”
The efforts have included a DEI ambassador survey, company-wide DEI training, DEI monthly spotlights and a “Diversity on Tour” initiative. The survey was the first step, conducted to provide a baseline to gauge the company’s current state of diversity, equity and inclusion. The information was used to develop strategies for improving the organization’s DEI initiatives.
In April 2022, LIVEbe instituted its first company-wide, in-person DEI training. With help from talent-growth agency hyrUP, the workshop-themed training was designed to create a more inclusive and welcoming workplace environment and promoted a broader understanding and appreciation of diversity. Leadership teams and additional ambassadors took part in the initiative.
LIVEbe has subsequently utilized a DEI monthly spotlight as an added tool to showcase ambassadors and create engagement. The spotlights consist of a quick-hit, 150-word feature in which ambassadors impart specifics of their culture, passions, favorite causes and other personal nuances. These have become popular within the organization and help to connect teams on a deeper level, as they are offered a glimpse into one’s world outside of the workplace.
This year, the company unveiled its Diversity on Tour (DOT) program, which is designed to take diversity on the road. The committee took a unique approach to fostering the courageous conversations integral to DEI initiatives. In this program, the committee addresses each topic separately, beginning with inclusion.
“The premise is that embracing inclusion can lead to a more diverse group of people who feel welcome and valued, which then introduces new perspectives and ideas and can ultimately bring new associates to the company,” White said. “We visited each of our four communities with the ambition of openly discussing ways to recognize and address exclusion at the workplace. We devised tactics to utilize our individual talents to make our work more rewarding and fulfilling, and to impart that energy to our residents and others who we interact with on a daily basis.”
LIVEbe is in part spearheaded by Vice President Elaine De Lude, who is Cuban. Her years in the industry have given her a unique perspective in how it has positively evolved over time.
“Seeing the industry increase its DEI efforts is near and dear to me,” De Lude said. “When I initially entered the industry, it was uncommon to see a woman in a leadership role—let alone a diverse female. The industry has taken great strides to become more inclusive at all levels, and we certainly want to do our part to help it grow.”