Every member has a story. The REALTORS® Up Close series brings these stories to the forefront, humanizing the lives, perspectives, and accomplishments of NAR members. This inspiring digital series is designed to help real estate professionals build a deeper connection with one another through the REALTOR® brand. We encourage you to get to know your fellow NAR members and follow the #REALTORSUpClose digital series on Facebook and Instagram.
REALTORS® Up Close
Every member has a story.
Seeing Our Blind Spots
"Leading an office with diversity, equity and inclusion at the forefront is very powerful. It gives everyone a place where they feel safe, where they feel included, and where they feel valued. That's what's built the culture within my company. I talk about these things. I teach DEI classes in the community. Back in 2020, when we were all sheltering in place and race was on everyone's mind, I hosted a discussion titled “Real Talk: Race in Real Estate” on Clubhouse. I reached out to some real estate friends from across the country and suggested we hop on and just have a raw, candid conversation about race and real estate because people don't talk about it. My company, STL Buy & Sell, REALTORS®, recently received the Reimagining St. Louis Brokerage Award from the St. Louis REALTORS® for our support of DEI initiatives. It's related to the fair housing testing that we did in 2022. We tested our own agents, and it was very interesting. We've done quite a bit of training around that. We brought in national fair housing trainers because it's important for every agent to feel comfortable working with clients who may not look like them and who may have challenges they don't have. Seeing where our blind spots are is really helpful. That's the thing about bias, once you bring it to the forefront, it's something that you consciously think about and make an attempt to recognize. That makes all the difference in the world." – Michelle Walker
Michelle Walker, CRS, AHWD, is a U.S. Navy veteran and broker-owner of STL Buy & Sell, REALTORS®. She chaired NAR's Diversity Committee in 2021 and served as the association's REALTOR® Party Community Engagement Liaison in 2023.