Utah broker Kenny Parcell resigned Monday as president of the National Association of REALTORS® after an article in The New York Times, published online Saturday, detailed accusations of sexual harassment against him by NAR staff and members. NAR President-elect Tracy Kasper, who was set to take over as president in November, will begin her term immediately.
Parcell, who has served as NAR’s president since November 2022, released a letter Monday saying, in part, that his resignation was a recognition of the need to “put the organization’s needs first.”
The article by Times reporter Debra Kamin looked not just at charges against Parcell but more broadly at a culture that made staff and members fearful of speaking up about harassment.
Kasper acknowledged the “concern, anger and disappointment” among NAR staff and members in a statement released late Monday: “Our commitment to our staff and our members is unwavering, and we will continue to enhance the way we foster a welcoming, safe and respectful workplace. It is important to all of us at NAR that we take this moment to learn and focus on building a culture of comradery where we can do the good work we are all so passionate about.” (Read Kasper’s full statement.)
A new presidential advisory group will look at recommendations for ensuring a healthy relationship between staff and members. There will be a parallel effort at the staff level. “We are looking to make lasting and positive change and to do so as quickly as possible,” Kasper said.
Learn more about NAR’s commitment to fostering a respectful workplace.
On a call Monday, NAR CEO Bob Goldberg apologized to the organization’s 350 full-time staff. “We are committed to taking real action toward rebuilding trust with staff and addressing the concerns we heard,” he said in a staff memo following the meeting. “We want to expressly acknowledge and express gratitude for you for coming forward to share your experiences. As an organization, we will seek to demonstrate the same courage you have all expressed.”
NAR says it is committed to providing a safe, productive and welcoming environment for staff and association members free from discrimination, harassment and retaliation. The association maintains several policies designed to deter and detect inappropriate and unlawful conduct. In addition, it requires staff and volunteer leaders to take regular anti-harassment training. NAR has urged staff and members to report concerns or potential policy violations through their available channels.
NAR’s annual employee anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training was intentionally and independently designed to teach staff what harassment and discrimination looks like, outline how it can be eradicated and highlight additional steps managers can take. The training also provides guidance that bystanders can take to ensure a respectful and encouraging workplace. The training is required of both supervisors and non-supervisors, regardless of seniority or management level.
“We are concerned for any individual who believes they have experienced discrimination or harassment of any kind, and we want to hear from members and staff about their experiences so that we may respond and take appropriate action as needed,” Kasper said in a communication with NAR’s Executive Committee over the weekend.
Kasper, a 30-year real estate veteran from Boise, Idaho, intends to broaden the scope of members’ community leadership during her presidency at NAR. During her tenure, NAR’s Ignite Others program aims to put REALTORS® in high schools around the country to teach financial literacy and homeownership preparedness.
Following Kenny Parcell’s decision to resign his position as president, I will be stepping into my presidency early.
First, let me say, I’m incredibly sorry for what’s led us here.
We recognize there is lots of concern, anger and disappointment, and we want to acknowledge the people who have come forward and shared their stories and those of you who have shared your perspective over the past few days.
We have taken everything we have heard to heart. Our commitment to our staff and our members is unwavering, and we will continue to enhance the way we foster a welcoming, safe and respectful workplace. We will work to ensure the relationship between staff and members acknowledges not only staff expertise but also their commitment to the association, in addition to the members. The Culture Presidential Advisory Group we announced is one step forward in that. Bob Goldberg and his team also will be working in parallel with staff on their own culture council. We are looking to make lasting and positive change and to do so as quickly as possible.
It is important to all of us at NAR that we take this moment to learn and focus on building a culture of comradery where we can do the good work we are all so passionate about. And, when an issue arises, that we all feel safe to say something.
This is a really hard time for our association. But I know this is an opportunity to really listen and grow together. As your president, I take the responsibility of rebuilding very seriously. Know I’m here for you, as is the entire leadership team, and we will get through this together.