When Carrie Chang was tapped to serve as CEO of Minneapolis Area REALTORS® in 2019, she was the first woman and the first person of color to take on that role. Those firsts, she says, are an honor that she doesn’t take lightly. “I want to be a positive force in the industry, representing all regardless of my own identity,” says Chang. “I think our board selecting me for the association executive role really shows the progress we are making and starts to break down the ‘old boys’ club’ pervasive in association leadership.”
Carrie, what does inclusive leadership mean to you?
It means staff from all walks and perspectives are recruit-ed, developed and compensated in equitable ways. In the boardroom, it means some folks take up a little less space so others can grow into their leadership. For me as the CEO, inclusive leadership means having the courage to face microaggressions, exclusion or bias, and name them; coach where possible; and correct as needed and in a timely way. This wouldn’t be possible without support from my board president and staff leaders, who share this vision of inclusive leadership.
How is MAR helping improve homeownership access to all?
As a local association, there is a lot we can do to advance this, but little we can do alone. For example, with a local nonprofit, we hosted a first-time home buyer workshop. As a required class for buyers seeking many loan types and down payment assistance, it’s a tangible way we can help. We also worked with the Minnesota state association to change purchase agreements and eliminate certain language in loan assistance programs to assure buyers utilizing these programs aren’t placed at a disadvantage in the offer process. This October, we took the important step of issuing a public apology for past discrimination and outlining action steps for the future.
What about the diversity of the profession?
As one example, MAR partnered with our state association to pilot Pathway to Achievement, which provides mentoring and scholarships to encourage people of color to participate in the profession. MAR defrays first-year business costs by covering local dues, MLS and lockbox fees, and we offer our New Agent Academy class free of charge.
What’s one trend AEs should plan for in 2023?
People are our biggest resource, and employee well-ness, transparency and flexibility are crucial in a post-COVID-19 world. We work hard to build in appreciation and support for each other. I’m certainly not perfect in this, but I work at it because relationships are the key to achieving our goals for the industry and a more positive society.