DEI Committee Plan of Work at a Glance

Posted By: Ricardo Alicea DEI,


We are greater because we are equal. AAGO believes in fostering an environment where diversity and inclusion are valued and celebrated by all.

Last year, AAGO was honored to be named the top recipient of the National Apartment Association "Innovation In Diversity & Inclusion" grantOur volunteer leaders believe it is mission-critical to create an association and industry ecosystem where diverse constituencies and voices feel seen, heard, and valued. The DEI Committee's 2021-2022 Plan of Work was put together with this specific goal in mind and includes additional opportunities and resources that help ensure it is achieved.

A few of the action items included in our plan of work can be found below. 

  • Establish a web presence providing members with updated DEI efforts and resources geared at promoting growth for individuals within their companies.
  • Develop intentional strategies to increase diversity in leadership on the AAGO Board of Directors. 
  • Embrace DEI efforts as an association to encourage industry professionals to embrace diversity and help foster an inclusive environment.  
  • Partner with local organizations to provide information on the career opportunities provided by the multi-family industry. 
  • Highlight industry leaders and trailblazers of diverse backgrounds. 
  • Create a scalable mentorship program to connect aspiring leaders and new members to achieve their career goals. 

DEI Leadership Academy - Hosted in conjunction with the Valencia College Peace and Justice Institute, the DEI Leadership Academy features four workshops, each of which focuses on different perspectives and ways to cultivate and promote a more diverse and inclusive work environment. Below, contains a synopsis of each workshop. 

Workshop I: Conversations in Inclusiveness

In this interactive workshop, participants were introduced to a set of tools to help them engage in reflective practice and intercultural communication in order to create inclusive excellence in the work environment. Participants engaged in experiential exercises, dialogue, and work with the Principles for How We Treat Each Other.

Participants were introduced to the idea of unconscious bias and be given opportunities in a safe setting to temporarily put aside their own perspectives in order to listen non-judgmentally to the experiences of others. With these new tools in hand, participants improved their interpersonal relationships, and the work environment, and develop practices of respect and community building. 

A key takeaway from this workshop was Inclusive Excellent. Inclusive Excellence (IE) is the recognition that a community or institution's success is dependent on how well it values, engages, and includes the rich diversity of its members.

Workshop II: Understanding Bias

Much has been said recently about the new science of bias. The PJI facilitators addressed hidden bias and how it affects you and your team. Furthermore, they discussed the emerging science of implicit bias, along with strategies and tools to skillfully navigate implicit bias, fundamental attribution error, and confirmation bias. Participants were given opportunities in a safe setting to temporarily put aside their own perspectives in order to listen non-judgmentally to the experiences of others. With these new tools in hand, participants learned to identify and minimize the impact of bias, improve interpersonal relationships, and develop practices of respect and community building.

Workshop Objectives: 

  • Apply the Principles for How We Treat Each Other as we engage in dialogue in and out of this space
  • Begin to explore and uncover our own biases through the exercises and reflection
  • Encourage and support self-reflection

Workshop III: Reflective Practice and Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence (otherwise known as emotional quotient or EQ) is the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict. Emotional intelligence helps you build stronger relationships, succeed at school and work, and achieve your career and personal goals. It can also help you to connect with your feelings, turn intention into action, and make informed decisions about what matters most to you.

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is commonly defined by five attributes:

  1. Self-regulation – You’re able to control impulsive feelings and behaviors, manage your emotions in healthy ways, take initiative, follow through on commitments, and adapt to changing circumstances.
  2. Self-awareness – You recognize your own emotions and how they affect your thoughts and behavior. You know your strengths and weaknesses, and have self-confidence.
  3. Self-motivation - You have emotional tendencies that guide or facilitate reaching your goals.
  4. Social awareness/Empathy – You have empathy. You can understand the emotions, needs, and concerns of other people, pick up on emotional cues, feel comfortable socially, and recognize the power dynamics in a group or organization.
  5. Relationship management – You know how to develop and maintain good relationships, communicate clearly, inspire and influence others, work well in a team, and manage conflict.

Workshop Objectives

  • Increase personal wellness 
  • Improve professional and personal relationships 
  • Build a culture of inclusion fostering dignity and respect for all people
  • Develop leadership through the exploration of emotional intelligence and conflict resolution skills

Workshop IV: Working with Conflict

The Working With Conflict workshop invited participants to engage in the tension of conflict in a more
curious, self-aware and mindful way. Conflict transformation principles were introduced and applied
for developing more productive and positive conflict approaches and outcomes. Participants
benefited from an expanded and more supportive view of conflict, as well as gained tools for navigating its
presence in our everyday lives.

  • This workshop provided participants with an opportunity to explore their internalized view of
    conflict and its impact in their personal and professional relationships.
  • Conflict is a natural and unavoidable aspect of all interpersonal relationships, and yet even
    with so much practice, it can be difficult to stay present and respond to conflict in a productive
  • Conflict plays a critical role in both our personal and professional relationships. Many of us
    have had negative experiences with conflict, and the assumptions and expectations that arise
    from the past tend to guide our response to conflict when it arises.

Participants learned more about their own view of conflict and the practice of conflict transformation
by gaining the skills to slow our responses down, map out conflict, and identify the critical questions
that conflict makes available.