The Michaels Organization is proud to announce that Milton Pratt Jr. was recently named one of Philadelphia Business Journal's 2020 Minority Business Leaders! As a crucial part of our team, Milt has always been at the forefront of innovation and leadership.
Read the write-up from the Philadelphia Business Journal below:
Milton Pratt Jr. is often the only person of color in the room at industry events, and he says that needs to change. Simply trying to understand communities of color can be the first step to improving racial inequities, he said. The Michaels Organization works with many communities of color in providing high-quality, affordable housing developments. On a personal level, Pratt’s grandmother lived in affordable housing, and he saw the positive impact on her quality of life. Pratt and his team have developed thousands of units with a combined value of more than $500 million.
What motivates you?
"Taking care of the people we serve, particularly the young people and seniors. For young people, your home makes you who you are. It has a huge impact on long-term success and change. On the opposite end of the spectrum, my own grandmother lived in affordable housing and the care she received there was so important to her quality of life. I’m extremely proud to pay that forward today to our elderly residents."
What has been your greatest challenge and achievement so far?
"The biggest challenge is helping neighborhoods without affordable housing understand that affordable housing is key to developing strong communities that lift up the diverse people who work there. For my biggest achievement: my family. It’s been so rewarding to have a guiding hand in raising my kids and seeing them grow up, and I’m also proud to be able to take care of my parents like they did for me when I was young."
What impact can high-quality, affordable housing developments have on communities?
"High-quality, affordable housing developments can turn struggling communities into communities of choice. By having diversity in the kinds of housing available, a neighborhood is primed to become a melting pot and amplify the natural diversity in the fabric of the community — it makes a neighborhood look like what America actually is."
How can the Philadelphia business community help heal racial divisions?
"Simply listening is a good start. When I’m at industry events, I’m often the only person of color in the room—we have to change that. There’s no easy fix, but reaching out to underserved communities and saying: “I want to learn about your culture” makes a huge impact in how we communicate with, include, and serve those communities. Michaels works within many communities of color, so I represent that voice internally. We strive for and have achieved diversity at many levels — we can always do better, but the effort helps in serving communities of color across the country and allowing us to have an authentic understanding of the issues they face."
How do you approach and tackle new projects?
"I always start a new project by listening to all the voices in the discussion. It’s my job as a leader of the organization to understand and coalesce different ideas into solutions for all. Being respectful and striving to understand is important to doing right by everyone impacted by our work. A diverse organization will always be better at overcoming challenges — if five people of similar backgrounds approach a problem, they will all have the same perspective and ideas. But by including people from different backgrounds, you suddenly have new perspectives and new knowledge to help innovate solutions."
Congratulation again to Milton for this phenomenal and well-deserved recognition!Back to News Next article