Do Well and Do Good: Artemis Real Estate Shares How Hiring At-Risk Youth Pays Off

“Change starts one person at a time. It is our responsibility as business leaders to be an asset in the communities where we live and work. We partner with organizations like Urban Alliance to provide exposure, training and mentoring opportunities to talented students traditionally under-represented in the real estate industry.” ~Deborah Harmon, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Artemis Real Estate Partners

Artemis Real Estate Partners (Artemis) believes that success comes down to one simple sentence:

Be in the right place, at the right time, with the right team, and have a healthy respect for risk.

Although a small and recently established company, after just two years in business and 15 staff, Artemis knew they wanted to expand access to opportunity for high school students to increase the diversity of thought within the company. That is how Artemis found Urban Alliance, an organization that provides under-resourced youth access to professional growth and experiences through paid internships, formal training, and mentorship. By partnering with Urban Alliance, Artemis was able to expand opportunity for young adults in its community and gain access to a cost-effective pipeline of talent. In addition to creating extra capacity throughout the office, the partnership allowed Artemis to increase diversity and create meaningful mentoring opportunities for its employees.

Below is an interview with Artemis’ Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Deborah Harmon, who is responsible for establishing, implementing, and overseeing the company’s strategic direction.

Q: Why do you partner with Urban Alliance?

A: We believe that diversity of perspective improves the bottom line. One of Artemis’ core businesses is an Emerging Manager program that provides transformational access to capital for diverse companies, specifically minority and women owned firms. We believe that we have the responsibility to expand access at all levels of the pipeline – from the C-suite to the classroom – thus the creation of our training program for college aged students. Urban Alliance was the final piece of the puzzle – allowing us to widen the circle of opportunity to include high school students. The partnership with Urban Alliance allows us to walk the talk of our cultural values and integrate talent at every level while providing our colleagues an opportunity to personally do well and do good by serving as mentors.

Q: What is the Return on Investment (ROI) for your company and community?

A: If orchestrated properly, an intern can be a cost savings. Think about how many small or medium sized businesses have to pay for a temp agency to cover when administrative staff are on leave. The company has to invest time and energy in training temporary support. Our Urban Alliance Interns have created extra capacity throughout our office from supportive administrative duties to building a level of trust with our executives. I don’t think we could have anticipated how positive the experience would be – our interns have become a part of the Artemis family.

Q: Why would you recommend partnering with an organization like Urban Alliance to other small to medium-sized companies?

A: As a small business partnering with Urban Alliance, you receive leverage that wasn’t immediately obvious to me. I once walked out of a meeting, looked around, and thought, “Where is Jackey or Julien (our former Urban Alliance Interns)? Why can’t we have them helping us on this?” There are a number of functions that would be phenomenal work for an Urban Alliance Intern. Smaller companies often don’t have depth of staff or the time to train, but I would not let that deter you. A small investment of time and energy at the beginning results in significant benefits.

Artemis is proof that no matter what size, any firm can do well and do good when they find the right partner.

The GradsofLifeVoice Forbes team provides thought leadership, research and expert commentary on innovative talent pipelines and related issues such as the skills gap, income inequality, workforce diversity, and the business case for employment pathways. We seek to change employers’ perceptions of young adults with atypical resumes from social liabilities to economic assets. This post was originally featured here.

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