Goal! How Diversity Builds Mutual Success – and a Better Future
One of my favorite pastimes is watching soccer. Watch any match and you will see many different countries and cultures represented, with the best players from around the world playing what is one of the most accessible and global games in sports. Often, it is the teams that are the most diverse – culturally, racially, ethnically, socioeconomically and otherwise – that find the highest levels of success on the field. Soccer serves as an example for how a team’s power can be derived from differences, not in spite of them. The undercurrent of this idea – that diversity makes us stronger in business – drives NAR REALTOR Benefits® and our diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives.
Centering Diversity and Inclusion
Matthew McConaughey once commented that "the soccer ball is a great equalizer, it’s a peacemaker.” So, it is with the NAR organization as we seek to build a true inclusion culture, where everyone feels welcomed, connected, a sense of belonging and invested in the NAR value proposition. We want to be the unifier.
Our motto is, “DEI is in everything and DEI is everything,” and that’s why we’ve made Diversity & Inclusion a core value. It means ensuring that our diverse membership is represented in leadership roles and committee structures, but it also means developing diverse partnerships to better serve members and promoting public policy programs to advance broader homeownership and affordability. As the U.S. homebuying population grows increasingly more diverse, even NAR’s original 1908 mission – “to preserve, protect and advance the right to real property for all” – must be seen through the lens of diversity. It’s why our 1.6 million members nationwide must abide by a strict Code of Ethics. Article 10 specifically addresses discrimination: “REALTORS® shall not deny equal professional services to any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Mutual Success in Business
As the nexus between the NAR community and the business world, NAR REALTOR Benefits® has also made Diversity & Inclusion a core value. Our most basic mission is to look for areas of mutual success for REALTORS® and our business partners as we help REALTORS® champion “a place for all.”
Going back to my soccer analogy, when individuals play together as one team, they support each other throughout the game and ensure that each gets their chance on the field. We believe mutual success comes from different points of view, experiences, and the ability to work together toward a shared desired outcome.
We have committed to developing a strategic, collaborative, and responsive program with business partners who share NAR’s diversity and inclusion values. All of our new business partners commit to a diversity pledge and participate in educational programming to ensure their commitment to NAR’s core values and code of ethics.
Representing Diverse Constituencies
When companies and REALTORS are responsive to the needs of a diverse constituency, we believe they will ultimately become more profitable. Just like the world’s soccer teams, diverse organizations and businesses tend to be the most successful. They have been shown to be more likely to innovate and anticipate shifts in marketplace needs and patterns, helping businesses gain a competitive edge.
NAR continues to invest resources in building a more diverse, inclusive membership. These efforts are reflected in the growing diversity of our newest members. According to NAR’s Annual Membership Report, 37% of new REALTORS® identified as a minority – up 3% from 2021. NAR also continues to invest in resources that support inclusivity initiatives for state and local associations through mentoring and training and help cultivate leadership that reflects the demographic diversity of our nation.
As the NAR community becomes more representative of the general population, NAR REALTOR Benefits® addresses the needs of our members by ensuring that different viewpoints are considered as we develop programs, products, and services for our members.
Representation matters – whether it’s the people within our organization or the people behind the products we bring to our members. We’ve committed to expanding opportunities for businesses owned and operated by under-represented Minorities, Women, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) and others.
Listen, Learn, Act
The most successful soccer teams have a culture of camaraderie that values every voice and makes everyone feel comfortable. That’s what we strive to achieve within the NAR REALTOR Benefits program. We want all staff, partners and members feel welcomed, valued and respected. Different viewpoints are encouraged to be shared openly.
By using CX (Customer Experience), we can gain important insights to create better experiences across the Association. Our “Listen, Learn, Act” model is particularly helpful in this regard. We listen first – by making it easy for members to give feedback at key moments. Then we learn with cross-organization insights, prioritize issues and test fixes. And finally, we act by trying new things faster and often, then track and adjust. This allows us to respond to what is most pressing to our members today – whether it’s overhauling a strategy or going back to the drawing board on a benefits package based on member feedback. When we say your feedback is important to us, we really mean it.
Love What You Do
The real estate industry’s journey toward diversity and inclusion starts with the many passionate members of the NAR community and the business world joining forces to promote homeownership for all. Everyone has an important role to play.
As we look to forge ahead on this shared DEI path together, the late Brazilian football legend Pelé left us with a piece of wisdom: “Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrificing and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.”
If you are interested in learning more or getting involved with our diversity and inclusion efforts at NAR REALTOR Benefits®, your roadmap starts here.
Rhonny Barragan is Vice President of Strategic Alliances in NAR's Strategic Business, Innovation and Technology group.