According to Michele Xiong, director of diversity and inclusion at Raleigh Regional Association of REALTORS®, both sides want more than just a performative agreement. They truly want support, and neither side wants to be taken advantage of, says Xiong, who served with the 2022 AE diversity workgroup and its MCO sub-workgroup. MOUs help establish guidelines. An initial conversation on what each group expects and what is currently feasible saves time in drafting the MOU.
Also, each association and chapter differ greatly, so what should be included varies from one to the other. Examples can include meeting space, event and chapter promotion, magazine or newsletter articles and updates, inclusion in new member orientation, or special events to engage with association leadership.
What are keys to success in forging partnerships with multicultural organizations?
There should always be a designated staff liaison at the association whom local MCO chapters can reach out to if they have any requests, concerns or questions, says Xiong. The Raleigh association also makes sure the other organizations are invited to and welcome at all its DEI committee meetings. Simply put, make sure MCOs know and feel that they have a voice at the association.
What else helps these partnerships succeed?
Open communication and knowing what’s going on, says Xiong. It also helps to have members involved in both your association’s DEI committee and local multicultural organizations; they can relay updates and opportunities for partnerships. REALTORS® who are DEI leaders at RRAR have an annual meeting at the start of each year with leadership of partner organizations to ensure a current understanding of the organization’s vision and to spark conversations that can lead to change.