In 2022, Maiker Housing Partners launched an internal Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) committee. Composed of a dozen staff representatives from each Maiker environment, this committee is dedicated to listening, learning and implementing strategies to make all staff feel safe, sound and respected in the workplace.
“One of our main focuses at Maiker is to be able to adequately and appropriately serve all of our members and bring out the best in all of our employees,” said Chief Financial Officer and DEI Committee member Dana Miller. “This committee reminds us that not everyone has the same background. It’s important that we acknowledge, honor and respect that as we work together.”
In its first year, Point b(e) Strategies supported the committee by facilitating discussions about people’s understanding of DEI, hopes for the committee, and experiences as a Maiker staff member. To understand existing sentiment on Maiker’s DEI commitment, the committee crafted a survey that was sent to all staff asking questions about their experiences of inclusion and safety in the workplace. The team reviewed the DEI survey results and discussed at an All Staff meeting how the information could advance equity and inclusion in the future.
“DEI is not just a buzzword or a box to check off; it is a fundamental principle that underpins our ability to create thriving, equitable, and sustainable societies,” said Maiker CEO Peter LiFari. “When we prioritize DEI, we are recognizing that every person, regardless of their background or identity, deserves to be treated with dignity, warmth, grace, respect, and has a valuable contribution to make to our shared goals.”
Maiker believes diversity is critical for people working in the housing industry because it allows them to access a range of perspectives, experiences, and skills that can help them solve complex problems and make informed decisions.
“This committee is important to me,” said DEI committee member and Community Manager, Mayra Bocanegra. “I want to make sure that if I do speak up that I’m heard. I want to make sure there’s justice in Maiker so that if employees feel they aren’t being respected there are some standards and policies set in place.”
After reviewing the survey’s findings, the DEI committee is eager to brainstorm strategies that will advance equity in the workplace. In the months ahead, the committee will continue to meet to define what DEI means to Maiker and implement practices that demonstrate the organization’s internal and external commitment to the principle.
By creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace, Maiker believes it is not only building a better world for its staff and members, but also for future generations.
“I have a family at home and a family here at work,” said Beth Thomas, who works in the Accounting department and serves on the DEI Committee. “I want everyone in this family to feel included and special and recognized. This committee is a way for us to let the staff know how important they are.”