A Conversation with CoreLogic DE&I Leaders
As a leader in the property industry, our passionate focus and commitment to quality is not something that only pertains to our clients. Quality is also an underpinning theme for our company and employee culture, and we believe that good quality experiences stem from diverse interactions and the differences in thought that come from a diverse workplace.
In this episode, host Maiclaire Bolton Smith deviates from our typical discussions about the property industry to look inward at CoreLogic as a company and discuss how focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion are a vital parts of the company and a big reason why CoreLogic has such a diverse group of people who work diligently to produce the data and analytics that are the driving engines behind the property market.
Read more about CoreLogic’s culture here.
Maiclaire Bolton Smith:
Welcome back to Core Conversations: A CoreLogic Podcast, where we dive into the heart of what makes the property market tick. I’m Maiclaire Bolton Smith, your host and curious observer of all things related to property — from affordable housing to market trends, and the impacts of natural disasters to climate change —I want to converse about it all.
In today’s episode, we’re going to deviate slightly from our typical deep dives into the different facets of the property market and turn our conversation inward to look at CoreLogic as a company.
It’s no secret that the best part of any company is its people, and here at CoreLogic, that’s definitely the case. Our people are our best asset. Focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion is a vital part of what makes us tick as an organization and why we have attracted such a diverse group of people who work diligently to produce the data and analytics that are the driving engines behind the property market. We do this in part through our employee resource groups.
Today, we’ve pulled together a round table of employee resource group leaders to talk about why cultivating such a varied team is important to our business, and by extension, our customers.
It’s important to note that when it comes to diversity, good intentions are only the beginning. To go from positive intentions to positive impact, there are several steps. Today, we’ve invited Jay Kingsley, Lisa Youngblood, Shannon Brown, Jackie Pham, Manuel Lopez, Sage Nichols and Kurt Peterson to take us through what it means to walk the walk of diversity, equity and inclusion, and how CoreLogic strives to do that every day.
So let’s kick things off with Jay Kingsley, who serves as executive sponsor of our Employee Resource Groups. Jay, you’ve always been one of my favorite people to work with here at CoreLogic, so I’m thrilled to finally have you on the podcast and especially to have an opportunity to talk about this important topic. So, welcome.
Maiclaire, thrilled to be here, thrilled to be talking to you, and I think this is an important topic. So thanks for inviting me.
Okay, so let’s get started. For you, Jay, what has influenced your thinking about diversity, equity and inclusion? And, really, what motivated you to get involved to be an advocate for change?
I’d say it ranges from the general to the specific. And first I would just say, I’m a big believer in the culture of a company. In the culture we create around ourselves, we spend far too many hours, it used to be in the office, now on Zooms, but nonetheless far too many hours, I think, in a working environment, not to treat that as an environment that influences our lives and our work colleagues become our friends. And I’m a big believer in engagement and what that makes and contributes to our lives, not just at work, but overall.
So first and foremost, it’s founded in the basis of culture and engagement, but increasingly, I think companies of today, to be contemporary, have to recognize, I think, the external environment in which we operate, the type of people we work for and the type of people we work with. And I think increasingly, diversity and inclusion is becoming more and more top of mind of our clients and of the people we’re trying to attract to the company.
And I guess to the specific, for me personally, I recently read the book The Color of Law, and that’s specific to I think the mortgage industry and the housing market and the history in the United States of even how explicit — we talk about implicit bias, but even 50, 60 years ago, there were explicit barriers and bias built into the laws. And it’s interesting to think about how that has influenced how we proceed today. And I think that really raises to your attention the importance of diversity and inclusion in that context.
Yeah, it definitely does raise your attention to it when it’s something that is so explicitly stated like that and really the foundation of the industry that we serve right now. So, thank you for that.
Okay. So how do you think leaders in our organization can further acknowledge and foster diversity, equity and inclusion? And why do we think it’s so important that they do so?
That’s a really good and interesting question because I think all of us struggle a little bit. It feels important to me, but what am I supposed to do about it? There are three things that I think leaders should have in mind related to that. I’d say awareness, involvement and intentionality. I’ve used that word before.
But first I think it’s just important to be conscious about your awareness of it. What does it mean? How are other people thinking about it? Just making it more top of mind I think will make us better as leaders in recognizing that it’s something to be aware of and to listen to and to be conscious of. And that’s important for the reasons I talked about. I think our clients are paying attention more now. People we’re trying to recruit are paying attention more now. And I think it just makes for a healthier, more contemporary work environment for us to all make it a better place to work.
I love that awareness, involvement and intentionality, and something that we all can do as leaders in this market and in this business. So, thanks so much for that, Jay. And that was a great way to kick us off as we learn more about why diversity, equity and inclusion is so important to us as a business.
So now we’re going to move to some of the leaders that are on the ground daily promoting culture as part of CoreLogic’s employee resource groups. We call these our ERGs, and we’ve created them to offer a space for diverse groups within CoreLogic to celebrate their diversity while also educating the company at large about a range of cultures and identities that have built the foundation of this business. So, first up, we have Lisa Youngblood, who leads the African American Leadership and Learning, AALL ERG, here at CoreLogic. Lisa, can you tell us a little bit about your role as a leader of an employee resource group here at CoreLogic? What do you do, and what does the title mean to you?
So, what I do within our African American Learning and Leadership ERG is I really act as a connector and a facilitator to allow a safe space for people to bring ideas to the table and engage those in meaningful activities that really foster a sense of diversity and inclusion within our broader base of employees.
So Lisa, what motivated you to get involved in being a diversity, equity and inclusion advocate? Why are diversity, equity and inclusion important to you and to the company?
So I think if you take a step back and you talk about why is it important to the company, first off, it gives identity acknowledgment. So it allows people to feel comfortable with who they are and know that the company supports them. It also allows for increasing engagement, getting more people active in company activities that then should connect to a broader, enhanced work experience.
I love that, the engagement of the employee base to help them get the most out of their time here at CoreLogic.
And what about you personally? What motivated you to be involved?
So what motivated me was being in a position that would allow more people of diverse backgrounds to be in a position that they had a seat at the table and that their voices could be heard. So really connecting people with our executive leadership and bringing to the table things that were important to that group of people.
Thanks, Lisa. Next up we have Shannon Brown to talk about our PRIDE ERG. Shannon, can you tell us a little bit about your role as a leader of an employee resource group here at CoreLogic? What do you do and what does that title mean to you?
Wow, it means a lot to me, first off. I’m very excited. I serve as the president of our PRIDE organization, and just as a reminder, what does that stand for — because I think it’s important in our discussion — so, it stands for Promoting a Respectful, Inclusive and Diverse Environment. And that’s really what we’re all about.
And so I was honored to be asked to be the president as we went national, which we didn’t really know what we were doing. This was kind of the first one. So there were some blips in the road, if you will, a little bit, but overall, it’s been really successful. And I have a really great leadership team that is represented by senior executives in the company. I’ve got site leaders at all levels.
So as we go national, part of my job is to figure out how do we do this effectively, especially in an environment where we’re mostly virtual and that makes things a little bit different. So, couldn’t be prouder of PRIDE. That sounds funny, right?
I love it. I love it. That’s great. So Shannon, how do you feel that a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion has influenced the culture here at CoreLogic?
I think that’s really one of our goals is changing the culture, not only from what’s not appropriate in the workplace, whether it’s jokes or comments, addressing that, but it’s also addressing those in the community who don’t feel they can be their true selves. And having an ERG like this and the company supporting it as they do it is has huge impact on that.
The fact that we display pride flags every June, huge. It seems very simple, but it has a huge impact for our members. And we’re LGBTQ+, but we’re also allies, right? It’s a group of people in this company for whom this is important. And so things like a flag display or we’ve had the last three years programs on transgender awareness, who would’ve thought? But those have been some of our most impactful and most supportive events that we’ve gotten from the company. And so it’s those little things, those activities that we do, communications from senior leaders supporting PRIDE. Those have a huge effect on the culture and we’re always doing new things. And I’ve been really pleased with the effect that we’ve had in this company, and I think we’re going to continue to have a very positive effect.
So Shannon, how do you feel that a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion has influenced the culture here at CoreLogic? Have you personally been a part of any initiatives that have influenced the path the company has taken to introduce more diversity into our culture?
A few ways that I feel like I’ve had some influence is I’m always trying to push the boundaries just a little bit. I think that’s my role as a president, especially with ERG and moving this company forward. And a couple of events, which I think have been big impacts, even though they were small activities, was we proposed flying the pride flag every June. Never thought we would do that, but we thought, let’s ask, let’s kind of push the boundaries and was welcomed with open arms. Absolutely, let’s do it. We started in Dallas one year and last year we were at nine different sites displaying the pride flag in June. So kind of pushing those little boundaries.
Another event that we didn’t know how it would go over was transgender awareness. That’s a topic that can be uncomfortable for some people. And so we started that three years ago.I’ve had some amazing educational events around that topic and have been well received and have been attended by senior executives at all levels, all employees.
And so those are the sort of things that we’re looking for. How do we continue to make progress? And how do we look for those opportunities or those topics that haven’t been discussed yet? And broadening people’s viewpoints. So, I’m really excited about what we’ve been able to accomplish over the last few years and what we’re going to be able to accomplish going forward. Because I think there’s still a lot of room for growth and I know that CoreLogic is ready for it.
I love that. Such a positive effect and we want everybody to be their own true person here at CoreLogic, what makes us who we are. So thanks, Shannon. Now I’ll chat with Jackie Pham from the Asian, Social, Cultural, Empowerment, Networking, Development, known as the ASCEND ERG. Jackie, welcome to Core Conversations. I’m going to put the same question on you now. What is your role within our company’s ERG ecosystem, and how does your position influence you as a leader?
As the president of ASCEND, I’m the overall leader for the ERG nationwide, and I’m responsible for the communications, activities and events. I also serve as the ERG spokesperson for the campus. And lastly, and most important, I motivate and mentor the core team members.
To me, leadership starts with ownership. Leadership is a trait and not a role. To me, the title means I need to find a way to figure out how can we solve complex problems, not by individual contributions, but by working together as a team. To me, we win together or lose together, so all I need to do as a leader is to create a platform for our skilled team members to ideate and solve problems for us.
I love that. That’s so great. So, in your time doing this, have you encountered any misconceptions about your efforts to cultivate more diversity and inclusion within the organization? And how have you countered them?
Personally, I have not encountered any misconceptions. I feel I have a voice here at CoreLogic that enables me to share my opinions and ideas with others in the organization. I have seen how creating an environment that is inclusive, collaborative, fair and curious creates a sense of belonging for all of our team members, including myself. Making space for diversity and inclusion is important to me, and I truly believe diversity of thoughts will help all of us make better decisions and we will collectively have better outcomes.
I think one of the complex problems is influencing our team members and executives to be involved in all of the activities and help me promote the ERG as something that is very important and it’s in the CoreLogic DNA. I hope what I’m doing is paving the pavements, right? Like paying it forward to our future Asian, Asian-American employees. Lastly, having diversity and inclusion keeps us, CoreLogic, competitive and we are the employer of choice.
Absolutely. I love that. Thank you so much, Jackie. Next, let’s turn over to Manuel Lopez. Let’s talk about our Latinx Core ERG. So Manuel, can you briefly tell us how you engage with our company’s ERGs and why it’s important for you to lead one of these internal organizations?
So in my position as the national president for Latinx Core ERG, what I do is I try to provide guidance and inspire others to become active in our ERG, either as members or allies. I have been lucky to have an extremely strong leadership that is committed to making our ERG a success. So along with them, we try to define the analyst strategic plan, identify specific events and initiatives that will make the most impact for the year, given the resources that we have.
At the same time, I’ll do whatever it takes to help our ERG make an impact. So for example, last year I helped serve breakfast fpr our Dallas employees during our kickoff of the National Hispanic Heritage Month. In this event, we had over 350 employees try different Latin American food, including Brazilian pao de queijo and Argentinian savory empanadas. We also co-hosted a cooking class for Cinco de Mayo where we prepared green enchiladas live on Zoom with a professional chef. And I also participated in a Zumba class via Zoom. And I was brave enough to have my camera on the whole time.
That sounds like so much fun and so yummy. So Manuel, how do you personally advocate for diversity and inclusion within CoreLogic?
That’s a great question. I think there’s multiple layers to diversity and inclusion, and in no particular order, The first one is within my own team.
I am the senior leader of strategic contracting, the team that supports our contracting process for external customers. So part of our hiring process is to ensure that we’re giving all candidates a fair opportunity despite their background and that pay is as consistent as possible across all employees. We also pay extra attention to compensate for performance based on objective metrics.
The second layer is about creating an environment where people can safely and respectfully share their own perspectives, culture, beliefs and have the opportunity to be exposed to others. My background is different from others as I’m originally from Colombia, and I’m happy to share stories and customs and even recipes with my team members and others. I had the opportunity to live in five different countries, so I always try to listen and truly understand others’ perspectives and identify our similarities and differences so that we can learn from each other.
And the third layer is around active engagement outside of our comfort zone. I try to be an active member of almost all of our ERGs so that I get opportunities to learn from others and expand my network.
Thanks, Manuel. Next up, we have Sage Nichols who will talk about our Women’s Business Council ERG. Sage, we’re going to start with the same question. So will you please give us an overview of your involvement with the Women’s Business Council ERG and how your role influences you?
Sure. So I am heading up the CoreLogic Women’s Business Council, and actually recently just took on this role. We’ve had a couple of local Women’s Business Council chapters over the last couple of years, but we just recently moved to a national structure, which is really exciting because it allows us to expand the impact that we can have across locations and roles and all types of jobs. And the great thing is these chapters have had really strong leadership and participation and programming that lay a foundation for us now to expand that across a broader set of employees. So, I’m really excited.
For me, this role is really meaningful because these ERGs are so important to the culture of CoreLogic and really building a culture of belonging and the ability to impact both individuals and the organization as a whole. So I’m passionate about that and I’m also passionate about empowering and developing and supporting the women at CoreLogic and increasing our representation. And so, I think we all have a desire just to make things better and to positively impact others. And this is a chance for me to do that.
Definitely. That is so great. What has influenced your thinking surrounding diversity and inclusion, and what motivated you to get involved in being an advocate for change?
Yeah, so really I think seeing the rise of the ERGs over the last couple of years at CoreLogic has been a big inspiration for me to get involved. It’s been really good to see the formation and the growth of each of them. And in general, whether it’s Women’s Business Council or just overall diversity inclusion, that’s something I’m passionate about. But having the structure of the ERGs and the momentum behind that really lets the leaders and the members be able to make it a priority to have genuine support and really intentional leadership and growth. And I think that helps for me and for others, just to be inspired to be a part of something that will make a difference.
That’s so great because I agree with you that you can have great intentions, but without the support and the momentum, it can be really hard to be successful. So thank you, Sage. And last but certainly not least, we want to talk about our military ERG with Kurt Peterson. Kurt, you’ve already heard us ask this question of the others, so you know what to expect. Can you tell us a little bit about your role in the Employee Resource Group and what that title means to you?
Sure, happy to. So, I’m the incoming executive sponsor of the Military Engagement Association. So just started, but very much looking forward to continuing the really good momentum of CoreLogic support for existing initiatives related to our veterans. Things like Carry the Load, the Toys for Tots campaign at the holidays, the Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation and of course our own leadership program for Veterans, LeaP. As well, really wanting to find ways to increase engagement in MEA across sites, but also among people who like myself are not veterans. And then finall, to find ways to grow MEA’s effectiveness in serving the veterans we have at CoreLogic.
That’s great. You mentioned LeaP. Can you explain a little bit about what LeaP is?
Sure. It’s a specific program that we have targeting veterans to transition to the workplace from a military career, and it’s a very well-organized program to bring veterans into CoreLogic and create a couple of structured experiences for them to get exposure to different parts of the company and do different kinds of jobs in a couple of rotations before figuring out, mutually, where their landing spot should be.
So Kurt, how have you personally seen the push for more diversity and inclusion influence the culture at CoreLogic?
In my opinion, there’s been a lot more of a premium placed on collaboration and listening as dimensions of performance, especially for leaders. So a culture that emphasizes those things can first of all help change behavior across the company as people see that happening. But I think over time it also influences who ends up in leadership roles to begin with.
I think another thing that I’ve seen is a higher frequency of people in meetings saying something like, “So and so, we haven’t heard from you yet. What do you think about this?” And so, these are all things that help us get inputs and contributions that we didn’t get before. You talked about the strength of CoreLogic being our employees, and within our employees we have a range of perspectives, ways of thinking through problems, and so drawing those out from people who are less likely to volunteer them can add a lot of value by contributing to decisions and solutions that are just much better thought out.
Thank you, Kurt. And thanks to all of our guests for joining us today.
And thanks to the team for helping bring this podcast to life. Producer Jessi Devenyns, editor and sound engineer Romie Aromin, and social media duo, Sarah Buck and Makaila Brooks.