The local real estate and banking industries are big ships that turn slowly. But when they begin to move, as the many actions featured in this week’s issue of Banker & Tradesman show, the results are impressive. 

 A coalition of 15 banks last week announced they were joining with other businesses to advocate for better early childhood education and more equitable access childcare in Massachusetts. The coalition, which is being led by Eastern Bank CEO Bob Rivers and PNC Bank regional president Jon Bernstein, said both goals are vital to addressing the massive racial equity gulf our state faces. 

Access to early childhood education can help give children from disadvantaged communities a leg up in the face of under-resourced schools that leave them struggling compared to a child growing up in Weston or Wellesley. A lack of affordable, quality childcare throws up massive roadblocks in the way of women and people of color of all genders as they try to advance their careers. But in Massachusetts, both are too often out of reach of many working- and even middle-class families. 

Last month, Colliers International helped Jeanne Pinado break an important color line. The former Madison Park Development Corp. CEO – the subject of this week’s In Person feature – is now the highest-profile Black woman at Boston’s big commercial real estate brokerages. Pinado told Banker & Tradesman she is working to build a talent pipeline into the CRE industry for mid-career professionals and help diversify Colliers’ ranks.  

And as its executive vice president and government affairs committee chair outline in a column, the Massachusetts Board of Real Estate Appraisers has just launched a training program to root out unconscious bias in its members’ appraisals of minority-owned homes. More significantly, it is also taking steps as a national leader in the field to change structural problems, like an appraiser’s lack of familiarity with urban properties, that might create racist outcomes even when that appraiser is not approaching their job with racist intent. 

As exciting as it is to see the industries this publication serves taking significant, concrete steps to respond to very real disparities in our society, we believe more action is needed.  

As firms try to diversify their ranks, they must create opportunities for women and people of color throughout their organizational charts. While Pinado has an extensive and valuable list of contacts from her 20 years at Madison Park, you shouldn’t need as illustrious a career as hers to land a role at Colliers, JLL, Newmark or CBRE.  

And while being an ally to advocates pushing for public policies that address our structurally racist present is important – LGBT rights would likely be far worse than they are now if major corporations hadn’t joined the fight – companies must think hard about how their own products and spending could be contributing to the problem. 

Letters to the editor of 300 words or less may be submitted via email at with the subject line “Letter to the Editor,” or mailed to the offices of The Warren Group. Submission is not a guarantee of publication.  

Firms Make Strong Start on DEI

by Banker & Tradesman time to read: 2 min