Priorities and Perspective

When you prioritize diversity, equity and inclusion, you prioritize your entire membership. REALTOR® associations across the country are creatively developing and implementing DEI initiatives to benefit their members and the communities they serve. Through this work, REALTOR® association executives can impact the industry, innovate within the marketplace and provide exceptional value.

The Association Executives Committee DEI Work Group is creating models and templates that can help associations. This includes an Actionable Roadmap, available on the National Association of REALTORS®’ website. The Roadmap can help guide you in researching and understanding your membership and discovering which demographic groups might be underrepresented in your market. It is a useful first step to engaging your full spectrum of membership.

You can then take additional meaningful steps to create a welcoming environment and opportunities for greater levels of engagement and success. One way we celebrate diversity in a visible way at the Northern Virginia Association of REALTORS® is by having an international flag display at our headquarters with the top 10 represented countries in Northern Virginia. It’s a physical reminder of how we incorporate DEI into all that we do.

Offering courses, programs, designations and certifications relating to DEI—such as the recently launched Bias Override CE course—is another excellent way to educate your staff and membership. At NVAR, we also have several cultural forums (Hispanic, Vietnamese, Korean and African American REALTOR® Forums), plus a DEI Advisory Group and an International Business Forum. These groups host activities with the mission to celebrate and learn more about their respective cultures, and all members are encouraged to attend these events. A recent example is a Juneteenth celebration where nearly 200 members took part in a private tour of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

By implementing meaningful DEI initiatives, you are directly adding value to your association for your members. Providing underrepresented members a space, a platform and a seat at the table creates a stronger sense of community and opportunities for growth and success in the real estate profession.

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Written by: Ryan T. McLaughlin, CAE, RCE. Ryan is the CEO of the Northern Virginia Association of REALTORS® and 2022 AEC chair.

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