Dialogue on Diversity

Tod Lickerman and Rabiah Reyome discuss how the new diversity initiative underway at Jones Lang LaSalle is being built one client at a time. Photo: Samantha Simmons.

America has long been a country filled with an array of cultures and needs. Today, corporations are encouraging that cultural diversity by ensuring that it makes its way into the boardroom and throughout a company’s entire supply chain. Jones Lang LaSalle is often charged with securing suppliers to perform facilities-related work on client properties. It’s a big operation: with annual revenue of $3.9 billion, Jones Lang LaSalle operates in 70 countries from more than 1,000 locations worldwide.

For the properties that it manages, Jones Lang LaSalle retains and manages external providers for janitorial, landscaping, equipment maintenance, general contracting, and other services. A critical goal of the firm’s work on behalf of clients is to develop collaborative business opportunities with qualified suppliers whose diversity reflects the diversity of the global marketplace in which Jones Lang LaSalle’s clients operate.

To this end, the company’s corporate-solutions division focuses specifically on corporations, and provides facilities-management and real-estate outsourcing services for 2.6 billion square feet of corporate properties in the United States and overseas. Tod Lickerman, CEO of corporate solutions Americas, and Rabiah Reyome, Vice President of Supplier Diversity for Jones Lang LaSalle, express that the bulk of the company’s supply chain supports this particular service area. “JLL’s overall supplier-diversity objective is to develop collaborative business opportunities with qualified diverse suppliers to buy contract services for buildings while remaining competitive and fair,” Lickerman says.­

Profile caught up with the two executives to hear more about this object and to determine how the approach is both paying dividends for the company and setting a precedent in the industry.

What are your respective roles and responsibilities in both of your positions? How does that contribute to Jones Lang LaSalle’s overall mission?

Lickerman: I am the CEO of our corporate-solutions business, which is our corporate-outsourcing business. We manage $6 billion in operating expense on behalf of our clients for the properties they occupy. Corporate solutions manages client real-estate portfolios for big corporations, facility-management projects, capital-spending properties, transactions, leasing, and disposing of property.

Reyome: I have national responsibility for JLL’s supplier-diversity platform. This includes all supplier-diversity outreach programs, supplier-diversity-oriented conferences and industry events, and overseeing all supplier-diversity metrics and reporting.

What does Supplier Diversity mean to Jones Lang LaSalle?

Lickerman: It used to be driven by our clients’ goals and our ability to meet their program needs, but now we lead the charge on the front end, helping cultivate those diverse supplier relationships that allow our clients to increase their competitive position. The ability to help our clients meet their own supplier-diversity goals is a powerful offering, and we’re playing in the major leagues of corporate commitment on this initiative.

Reyome: Supplier Diversity is difficult to measure without the right metrics. Our platform is corporate led, client driven, and customized to meet our clients’ particular diversity goals. We work with each client to establish a supplier-relationship protocol, performance measures, and reporting requirements. Goals might include employing diverse suppliers for a certain percentage of the budget and/or developing diverse suppliers to become strategic partners where we can deploy them across JLL’s platform.

What benefits are there in establishing a supplier-diversity department? How has Jones Lang LaSalle reaped the rewards?

Reyome: We are leveling the playing field of economic opportunity and aligning our business goals with the goals of our clients. Diversity fosters creativity and innovation; at JLL, both nondiverse and diverse suppliers have the same opportunities to bid on specific work.

“Our firm is built on integrity, trust, and doing the right thing for our clients … We strive to create an environment that is fun and where workers enjoy to be.”—Tod Lickerman

What key characteristics do you both possess, and how are they executed in the way you operate both departments?

Lickerman: Our firm is built on integrity, trust, and doing the right thing for our clients. We execute all tasks with a strong partnership to our internal employees, clients, and suppliers. We strive to create an environment that is fun and where workers enjoy to be.

Reyome: What I value in Tod is his ability to infuse inclusive commitment across the organization to employees at all levels. The employees on the front lines are the ones that truly drive that change.

Rabiah, you have been active in several other councils and organizations that support your current position. How have those experiences enriched your knowledge in Supplier Diversity?

Reyome: My experience involves active engagement in national and regional business councils, including the National Minority Supplier Diversity Council, the Women’s Business Enterprise Council, and the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. The extensive knowledge of each of these associations provides enriched opportunities for diverse suppliers to enhance their business and access to corporations and increased opportunities. It’s a passion of mine. Therefore, I don’t view it as work, but more as assisting others in achieving their utmost potential in business.

“Supplier Diversity is a passion of mine. Therefore, I don’t view it as work, but more as assisting others in achieving their utmost potential in business.” —Rabiah Reyome

Looking ahead, what are your supplier-diversity and corporate-solutions goals for 2013 and beyond?

Lickerman: Our corporate-solutions goals are directly intertwined with Supplier Diversity. That’s why it’s so important now and in the future that Rabiah and I have a strong business relationship, so that we can bring these solutions to our client base. At JLL, diversity and inclusion also intertwine directly through attracting, developing, and retaining great talent. That is a goal we will continue to uphold.

Reyome: My vision is to continue to form those solid relationships with minority businesses. Our firm is one of the largest providers and represents a wide range of industries globally, therefore Supplier Diversity is critical for us as it affords us the ability to better understand the various market segments and our clients’ requirements.