In the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic spreading across the U.S., Lee Allen, a Local Facilities Management Business Unit Director in CBRE’s Global Workplace Solutions was working with a potential new client. During their discussions, Lee asked the client if they needed anything to help continue operations during the crisis. They answered with a list of supplies that would help ensure upcoming blood drives could continue as planned. Without the supplies, they explained, blood donations from more than 300,000 individuals would need to be canceled, potentially impacting approximately 900,000 blood recipients.
Among the needed supplies were biomedical-grade cleaning wipes, so Lee put a call into the national director of sales at a leading supplier. Within hours, he got a call back and was able to connect the client and the supplier directly, which bypassed the distributor in the middle, avoiding a 75% markup and giving the client quicker access to the wipes.
Next, Lee connected with his colleague, Tiza Peterson, also a Local Facilities Management Business Unit Director, who supports another CBRE client who manufactures sanitizing supplies. Tiza put Lee in touch with leadership, and her clients too were willing to help.
The direct collaboration between these two CBRE clients yielded a donation of two truckloads of supplies, including thousands of gallons of bleach, trash bags, wipes and gloves, in addition to a $1 million check.
“No matter what position you hold at CBRE you have the power to make a difference and lead from the front,” Lee says. “By identifying and seizing those moments, encouraging connections and raising value, we are doing our jobs.”
Gavin Jones, CBRE’s Local Facilities Management Division President for the United States, was inspired by Lee’s actions. He says all CBRE employees have the power to make a difference. “Even if you don’t feel comfortable making calls like Lee, you can share your ideas with your leaders who are listening.”
“In times of crisis, it’s very easy to get insular and look after your own clients and needs,” Gavin says. “This spirit of collaboration—with clients who sit on our books and those outside our sphere—really moved me. Lee’s work is a testament to the power of one. Be bold. Put yourself out there if you have an idea.”
“It’s a testament to CBRE that we are able to leverage our standing in the global community and in the commercial real estate industry to help organizations in need, even if they aren’t our clients,” Lee says, “That we’re able to do this in a way that supports such an important institution in a time of significant need is even more rewarding.”