February 6, 2024 at 10:00 am
A Thoughtful Conversation with Rebecca Hatfield, President & CEO of Avesta Housing, and Ed Gardner, Broker/Owner of Gardner Real Estate Group
Rebecca Hatfield, President & CEO of Avesta Housing, and Ed Gardner Broker/Owner of Gardner Real Estate Group, sit down with MEREDA President Craig Young and MEREDA Vice President Shannon Richards for the fourteenth episode of MEREDA Matters – the podcast that puts you in the room with the people who are driving responsible development in Maine.
The group delves into an important topic: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), and discusses what it means to them personally and professionally. Hatfield talks about her goal to lead by example and her efforts to make DEI a fundamental part of the culture at Avesta by meeting people where they are at. She also shares some of the challenges in the affordable housing world, such as Avesta receiving 9,000 applications for 350 available apartments. Gardner discusses his work with the Equality Community Center (ECC) and plans to create 54 affordable housing units for the 55+ community in the same building as ECC, an $18 million project they hope to break ground on this summer. The group goes on to discuss the complexities around financing affordable housing and what diversity looks like in Maine, both in the Greater Portland region and in rural areas. Gardner talks about what it was like for him to come out at age 15 as well as how he bought his first building in Portland at the age of 17. Hatfield also shares some of her personal experiences with discrimination, including when she was called names on the playground at five years old, and how she received hate letters recently after Avesta provided housing for new immigrants. The group goes on to look at some recent positive changes in Maine and what resources exist for people who would like to learn more about DEI.
Where is Rebecca Hatfield and Ed Gardner’s favorite place to grab a bite to eat? Listen to the episode to find out!
Catch up on past episodes while you’re there!
The MEREDA Matters podcast is sponsored by NBT Bank and Landry French Construction. Additional sponsors include Bangor Savings Bank, Clark Insurance, A Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC Company, and The Boulos Company. A new episode will be released each month and each will feature new voices from the real estate and development industry.