The National Association of Gay & Lesbian Real Estate Professionals (NAGLREP) recently wrapped their fifth annual conference. KWRI Chief Operating Officer Darrell King joined KW agents to hear the latest updates on key issues facing LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) home buyers and sellers.
Participation in this year’s conference was meaningful for KW agents in attendance, as Keller Williams recently joined NAGLREP as a silver-level corporate partner. The partnership reinforces KW’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.
According to NAGLREP’s most recent LGBT real estate report, 45 percent of real estate agents believe their LGBT clients will face as much, if not more, discrimination than they have in the past. That percentage is up from 44 percent last year.
After learning of the partnership, KW agent Valerie Crowell shared that receiving such support from Keller Williams is impressive. “It’s wonderful,” she said. “A lot of people don’t recognize the importance of it.”
Lisa Ortiz Rodriguez, a KW agent in New York and NAGLREP chapter president, agrees. Throughout her real estate career, Ortiz Rodriguez has fielded both subtle and overt discrimination from sellers as well as real estate agents.
“At Keller Williams, it’s about treating someone the way that you want to be treated – fairly. With respect. That's our culture, and doing so with your clients gives them the best possible experience.”
Educating Clients and Colleagues
Engagement with NAGLREP helps agents better understand the unique needs and interests of the LGBT community. That understanding empowers real estate professionals, like KW agent Jack Barry, to serve as constant champions for their clients and influencers within the industry. Progress happens when “we make ourselves visible,” said Barry.
That visibility is shaped, in part, by Barry’s volunteer industry leadership roles. In addition to his position as president of the Philadelphia chapter of NAGLREP, Barry serves as a director for the Greater Philadelphia Association of REALTORS® and the Pennsylvania Association of REALTORS®. “When I teach at a local, state or national level – NAGLREP included – my life gets bigger. This is something that I’ve learned at Keller Williams,” he said.
Like Barry, KW agent and NAGLREP Fort Lauderdale Chapter President Dave Gervase is an active industry volunteer and values his involvement as a means to engage in national advocacy initiatives. Gervase has met with lawmakers to discuss proposed legislation, like HR 1447, and collaborated with agents to disseminate RPAC contributions.
“When they see us on Facebook and Instagram and YouTube [they say], ‘That's a REALTOR®. An advocate and a REALTOR®. And (s)he's LGBT.’”
Gervase encourages all agents to educate themselves and others and support those who are working to end LGBT discrimination in real estate. “Fortunately, Keller Williams offers many channels in which to do so,” he said. This includes the KW Rainbow Network – an international group specifically for LGBT associates. The Rainbow Network was founded for LGBT KW associates to exchange seller and buyer referrals, share ideas and successes, and to network with each other regarding various real estate issues, trends and resources. The group hosts socials and events at Keller Williams’ annual conferences (Family Reunion, Mega Camp) and has a presence at the regional and national level.
Keller Williams is also driving change and progress through the KW Industry Leaders Community. The group is composed of Keller Williams associates currently serving in leadership roles in their local, state, and/or national associations, MLS boards, and specialty and diversity groups.