Promising Practice Breakthrough


Industry: Real Estate

Principle I: Employment and Compensation

Principle IV: Management and Governance

Prologis is an S&P 200 company and a leader in the real estate industry on four continents. Prologis is the largest global developer, owner, and operator of industrial real estate, one of the most male-dominated industries in the world. CEO Hamid Moghadam and his executive team strive to foster an environment where career opportunities are merit-based and women are advancing along with men.

Breakthrough is the company’s global grassroots gender-diversity network, championed by Prologis’ senior-most women. Its mission is to strengthen the Prologis team through supporting the retention of women by identifying and removing barriers to advancement. The goal is to create a gender-diverse work environment where women feel connected and empowered, and a business culture that offers opportunities for success and recognizes the value of such a workforce.

"Breakthrough strengthens our global team by supporting the advancement of women and partnering with men to benefit all. We’re committed to closing the gender gap in real estate and beyond." 
Tracy Ward
Senior Vice President, Investor Relations
Member of Breakthrough Advisory Council

Introduced in June 2014, Breakthrough has expanded to Prologis’ offices globally. The company has rolled the program out across all regions and implemented it at the regional level. The executive team has been involved in its rollout every step of the way, since one of the key goals of Breakthrough is gender equity at senior levels.

Externally, Prologis encourages gender diversity in the real estate industry through its college recruitment programs. Through a partnership with Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) Women’s Leadership Initiative, Prologis sponsors 10 emerging women leaders in real estate to attend ULI’s conference in both 2015 and 2016.

How does this promising practice work?

Breakthrough is a global effort to retain and advance women. To this end, the Breakthrough model— leading, developing, mentoring, networking, and engaging in candid dialogue— encourages the formation of local and regional networks and fosters cross-functional and global relationships between women at all levels. Mentorship and sponsorship efforts are designed to give strong female performers visibility to our senior leaders—an important aspect of Breakthrough.

The Breakthrough Advisory Council is comprised of 13 of the company’s most-senior women. The council brings together perspectives from diverse geographies, functions, and personal networks. Breakthrough has its own page in the Prologis business plan.

Breakthrough is global in scope and customized by region. Regions share and learn from each other about everything from training and development to networking strategies and education. While initially a network for women, Breakthrough now welcomes participation from men. Two of the training programs offered—personal brand techniques and negotiation skills—have drawn participation from both genders.

"Prologis is committed to furthering gender equality within its rank globally and in real estate generally. The financial and emotional support [provided to] our Breakthrough network attests to this commitment. Support of scholarship programs targeted to educate women in the public and private sector of real estate is just one example." 
Gayle Starr
Managing Director, Capital Markets
Silicon Valley

Success includes the development of mentoring and networking programs; updating Prologis’ parental leave policy in the U.S.; enlisting senior-level men in the organization to promote the program; and launching “Bias in Decision-Making” training across the organization. Prologis uses talent management tools to identify high-potential employees and then align them with mentors and advocates supporting their progress and tracking their development within the organization.

The company tracks promotions and development (lateral moves around the company), gender-balance trends, turnover rates and promotion rates, all by gender and level, and this information is then reviewed by the Executive Committee. Twice a year, the Prologis board reviews promotions and specifically looks at the gender ratios of promotions by level. The board also receives an annual update on talent, including an analysis of promotions and development rates by gender, and reports on the trends of gender balance by level, turnover, etc. Progress has been slow thus far but the trend reveals an upward arc.

How can I adopt this promising practice in my workplace?

To implement a program like Breakthrough in a workplace, there must first be strong buy-in and sponsorship at the executive level. Senior management sets the tone in the company and helps develop an inclusive culture. While metrics are a key element to this work-commitment from the executives not only drives the business, but ultimately the culture. In order to continue and broaden diversity efforts across the organization, recruiters (internal and external) should be required to assemble a diverse pool of candidates. Finally, and importantly, track metrics regarding gender ratio and development ratio to assess progress and discuss openly with the leadership team.
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