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How We Got Over 50 Buildings to Go Blue for Autism Awareness!

This guest post was written by Jeanette Flory, Senior Vice President at Bentall Kennedy and an Autism Speaks supporter.

My colleagues and I at Bentall Kennedy, along with many of our peers in the real estate industry, joined forces with Autism Speaks this year for the international “Light It Up Blue” (LIUB) campaign.  I am delighted to report that we surpassed our goal, as over 50 buildings in Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia and beyond decided to “go blue” in 2015, and truly enjoyed kicking off the month at our lighting ceremony at Patriots Plaza in Washington D.C. on April 2nd for World Autism Awareness Day.

To those companies and organizations interested in shining blue in April 2016, I suggest trying out these three strategies that helped me during the recruitment process. 

Make it personal

I personally called and emailed each of my contacts in the real estate industry who I thought would be a good fit for the campaign.  I explained the purpose of LIUB, how to get involved and, most important, why the cause is important to me.  Telling my story and my connection to autism made all the difference as well as clearly stating what they needed to do in order to participate.  The personal touch makes a stronger impression and ultimately saves you time when confirming locations and details. 

See, touch and understand what you are selling before you sell it

I contacted Barbizon, a national vendor who provides most of the materials utilized to LIUB, and went in-person to see all of the lighting materials and products (e.g. Gobo projector to shine a puzzle piece).  That made it easier for me to answer questions from property managers who were interested in going blue but also had technical questions.  I was pleased to tell them it is actually not complicated at all to shine blue in April and there are cost effective ways to make it happen.  Understanding what options work best for your contacts is both efficient and effective when pitching your idea to others.   

Spread the good work to great people

I asked each of my participating colleagues, once they registered their respective properties, to pass the information on and invite their own contacts.  This ripple effect was amazing and is a big reason why we were able to exceed our goal and keep going.

I have already set my 2016 blue building goal to more than double the buildings from 2014 and with the help of my colleagues and Autism Speaks I am confident we can do it. Happy lighting! 

Click here to learn more on how you can Light It Up Blue


The Autism Speaks blog features opinions from people throughout the autism community. Each blog represents the point of view of the author and does not necessarily reflect Autism Speaks' beliefs or point of view.