Shall we dance?

by Karen Hatcher

We made it through another year! And we are all still here because of our love for real estate and giving back to our industry in service to our profession. In 2021, our past president, Cynthia Lippert, led our focus on Diversity.

We continue to move through our strategic plan into the second year with our most diverse initiatives completed or implemented. We installed the most diverse slate of officers and directors to our board ever, and we have made meaningful connections with our global partners.

We now must continue to move further across the spectrum from Diversity to Inclusion. As I said in my acceptance speech at my installment this past December, Diversity is being invited to the party, Inclusion is being asked to dance. So, let’s dance!

There is plenty to dance about as we continue to move further across the spectrum from Diversity to Inclusion. Some often interchange the two; however, they are quite different. I am not talking about just race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or any of the protected classes.

I am talking about all aspects of inclusion such as brokerage sizes; geographic location; what real estate market sector we specialize in; leadership within our companies and our communities; bridging our past; present and future leaders of our association; and building strong relationships with our industry allies by having a seat at their table and adding seats for them to ours.

Speaking of, lets think about affordable and equitable housing. The disparities here are real. Remember, inclusion extends beyond race, it colors everything. We will examine how and what we can do to help our clients that are teachers, firefighters, police officers, etc. live in the communities in which they work and play. It is up to us to take the charge to advocate for increasing housing access for all.

This year will be the first year a committee is dedicated to this market sector to help you be a better Realtor to your clients. Whether that is working with loan officers that specialize in down payment assistance programs, veteran grants and loans, helping to repair their credit as well as other necessary vendors and educational opportunities. We have those resources for you.

You can look forward to gaining more insight into what Affordable Housing is, what it is not, and why this is important to your business plan. With that, I am excited about the inaugural Affordable Housing fair launching this year as well. I will be back with more info as we get closer to that date.

Also, we have created a new Zoning Task Force and Buckhead City Task Force which will be the brain-trust for our members and for political officials, so we can gather feedback from our communities and offer recommendations to our city leaders. Atlanta is growing and we must be included aka Inclusion. This is a great transition to talk about the importance of Realtors being involved in our communities, HOAs and NPUs.

I want to encourage more of you to get involved with your local legislation, using the power of our real estate knowledge to be proactive advocates. It is US that have been entrusted as the gatekeepers of communities. It is time for us to take ownership of that.

We must ask ourselves what is at stake if our voices are not included in these matters? I will tell you, we run the risk where the real estate industry loses its voice in all landowning matters such as zoning and legislation. That is too great of a risk to bear for our cities and communities.

So you can stay connected, the Atlanta REALTOR Rundown podcast launched last year where we cover all these topics covering industry news, new developments happening in and around Atlanta, authors and thought leaders in the industry to increase your knowledge base, association news as well as anything impacting us politically. We have both our agents and clients in mind with the launch of this exciting podcast about everything happening in real time, so be sure to add us to your podcast list.

And though we are excited and expecting a wonderful year, we are still moving and operating within a COVID-19 world. With your comfort and safety in mind, all educational events will be hybrid. But I do hope to see you at the Real Estate Economic Summit on March 3.

So, for 2022 and moving our strategic plan forward, we define inclusion as a culture or environment where people are welcomed, feel respected, reflected and expected to be there. There will be plenty of opportunities to experience our evolving culture this year.

You can stay in touch with me on IG @property_ninja to make sure you are not missing any partyinvites. I already like the way this party feels. Now, lets dance!

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