In an overwhelming show of support, the REIQ membership voted at an Extraordinary General Meeting last month to change the Constitution to mandate two Member Director roles be reserved for women and one for an under-35-year-old.
The move aligns with the Board’s new three-year strategy which is underpinned by the goal of modernising the organisation and ensuring greater diversity is present in the boardroom.
The REIQ is the first REI to take such a step.
REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella said she had received warm messages of congratulations from other business leaders in the community.
Ms Mercorella lauded the Board for its efforts and for its success and said the initiative was a bold step towards modernisation and developing deeper relationships with all REIQ members.
“Introducing targets at the Board level is how corporate Australia is tackling the problem of a lack of diversity.
“Diversity is important because it better ensures that vigorous debate takes place, that the best ideas win approval and that all voices are heard before a decision is reached,” she said.
The proposal attracted strong levels of debate across the membership on social media.
Vote Yes advocates included Moreton Bay zone chair Josh Kindred, who argued the move ensured diverse voices, including those of women and younger generations, were heard at the highest level of the REIQ.
Former Sunshine Coast Zone Chair Amber Werchon supported the proposed changes, commending the Board on this exciting step forward and lending her voice to the Yes campaign.
Chairman Peter Brewer said the move signalled a focus on being more inclusive.
“This shows that we are serious about welcoming the next generation to the table. We want to hear from them. It’s vital to our future that we attract the best, the brightest, the ambitious young real estate superstars and this is a way to let them know their views are valued and their views are welcome,” he said.
“Like membership organisations everywhere, we are struggling to attract the next generation so we must become more relevant to them. We must deliver what they want and how can we know what they want if we don’t talk to them?”
The ASX has introduced a 30 per cent target for companies listed on the exchange and the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) has listed boardroom diversity as one of the biggest issues facing corporate Australia today.