Building A Community With Purpose In Your Neighborhood and in the Workplace
While working with one of my clients, Legado Companies, I have learned that community relations is not always something that is purpose driven, or for that matter, something that is meant to bring people together. And as we are seeing, the same is true in Corporate America. With the endless articles and reports about diversity issues and poor employee engagement, I thought about while working on my project with Legado how similar it is to working in house with companies looking to empower their employees to feel as though they are important, a part of a community, and essential to their company’s brand and success.
For the past four years, Legado Companies has been trying to get a building project, Legado Redondo, built in a part of Redondo Beach, a small beach town in Los Angeles, that desperately needs a facelift. This city, like so many small cities today, is facing a recession. Many of the small, quaint shops are having to close down to increased leasing fees or are being bought out by bigger, more well known businesses. This is growth as some people see it and is what it is. As our country’s population grows, more and more cities are becoming denser. And one of the biggest problems people are facing living in these dense areas is finding affordable and decent housing.
Legado Redondo is a multi-use complex that will provide much needed rental apartments, office spaces, and retail businesses as well as an area for the community to share. They have met with more than 100 people, the City’s Planning Commission and City Council members, and of course, supporters and the opponents to explain their purpose for building the Project. And a lot of these meetings have been intense and not pretty.
The reason I am writing this post is to share something that we are seeing more and more in our country — how diversity in our neighborhoods and work places is a big issue. As the PR person, I have been “hit” by the opponents with some of the cruelest and ignorant remarks I have ever heard. Most of these people do not want their comfy beach town to change. I get this. But when these people use slander, lies, and hurtful language, I cringe. There are a lot of millennials in this city living with their parents, or working in good companies who do not want to buy homes, or can’t afford to buy one. And rentals in beach cities are always hard to find, especially decent one. One non supporter of the complex actually said that if renters were allowed in the neighborhood that there would be more crime and that these are the people who should be serving us coffee. Ouch!
More than ever communities need to find ways to work with one another, no matter what race, age or finance bracket their neighbors are in. Again, the same is true for employees and their employers. They need to build support systems and tribes that will create leaders to help their co-workers and neighbors feel appreciated and seen for the value that they bring to the table. The sad thing is that the diversity issue is not only in our workplaces but also in our neighborhoods, an issue that just does not seem to be going away.
In this situation with Legado Redondo, diversity is a big reason why the company wants to build this project. It wants to set a standard and example for “community living” and show other cities how this is the way of the future to bring people together as a ONE. The company’s tagline is, “Building Communities With Purpose.” The same concept needs to implemented into Corporate America.