Simplifying the Standards

New diversity and fair housing requirements can be easy to satisfy.

In 2020, the National Association of REALTORS® introduced new diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and fair housing components to its Core Standards. For association executives new to this space, satisfying these requirements might seem overwhelming. But fulfilling these new standards doesn’t have to be difficult or costly. 

The resources NAR already makes available to state and local associations are a good starting point. Its implicit bias video, for example, is ready-made to be used in virtual and in-person trainings. Set up a Zoom meeting or webinar, and you can easily broadcast the video as part of a presentation or town hall discussion.

Consider tapping NAR, a local university, or another source for guest speakers. We had a successful Facebook Live presentation last year that featured a local sociology professor who provided a thorough history of fair housing efforts in our community. Putting information on a public forum demonstrates transparency and a genuine commitment to bringing these topics to light.

The Core Standards also suggest creating a diversity committee at your association. NAR’s diversity committee offers a model, and your state association may have resources available, too. Don’t be surprised if members flock to join—ours did.

The Core Standards also require strategic plans to include DEI and fair housing components. If you tap a consultant to help create your plan, make them aware of this so they can direct the conversation on implementation. If your strategic plan isn’t up for review yet, consider convening your leadership or a member focus group to add these components to the existing plan.

If you’re worn thin from 2020, completing these new requirements may seem burdensome. But consider how these standards might provide a springboard for deeper conversations with your staff and volunteer leadership about making meaningful changes. As AE, you are in the strongest position to take the lead.

An inclusive culture can help spur ideas from your staff and volunteers on practical ways to meet new Core Standards requirements. The need to bring DEI and fair housing to the forefront has never been greater.

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Creating a Safe Space

Do people of color feel comfortable and welcomed at your association?

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It’s a noble goal to expand representation of protected classes in your membership and leadership, says How to Be an Anti-Racist Real Estate Pro, a new book by Dr. Lee Danielle Davenport. But you might not realize that your environment may feel unwelcoming to the people you want to reach.

For people of color to step forward, you must create an environment that is a psychological “safe space” for everyone. In it, everyone—including people of color—feels welcome and heard in conversations, and safe to learn, contribute, and challenge the status quo without being ignored or marginalized.

In consulting, Davenport asks leaders and workshop participants to answer questions such as:

  • Are there participants who might feel it’s unsafe to learn, contribute, or challenge the status quo?
  • What could be improved upon to promote psychological safety for all participants?
  • Do you feel included, or are there conversations to which you haven’t been invited?
  • When you offer input, do you feel like your view is trivialized or ignored?

“When a firm or association is inadvertently repelling people, those in leadership are not aware of how they show up to those they lead, nor of the psychological needs of those they lead,” Davenport writes. “By leadership actively and energetically working daily toward creating a truly safe space, more diversity becomes the natural byproduct.”

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