By Nobu Hata
Preconceived notions I had of an NAR committee aside, this would be my third Midyear and my first year serving on any committee, and I was bound and determined to make the best of it.
I was appointed to the Equal Opportunity/Diversity Committee, and my knee-jerk reaction was essentially a surprise-surprise-throw-the-asiandude-on-the-most-predictable-committee-possible one. Even better: There were a total of two conference calls before what was supposed to be pivotal rulings at Midyear. How anything can be both “pivotal” but get allocated such little time to discuss, was beyond me. We were to have an open REALTOR(R) forum — where outreach to under-represented REALTORS(R) was to be discussed — and a formal committee meeting where those solutions would be refined into a cute NAR package. Visions of REALTOR(R) whine-fests were filling my head; cynicism was setting in.
I’ll admit it: I was totally wrong. The need for outreach, education, cultivation and training of leadership of YPN, GLBT, Asian, Hispanic, African American, and handicapped practitioners was discussed in the forum. Actual solutions were determined. Past-President Charles McMillan let it be known that the road to national involvement doesn’t necessarily mean 20 years of million-dollar production and political back-scratching. The red tape is gone; and it’s up to those with the desire to see change, to facilitate it. It was pretty clear that the EOC was passed trying to diversify NAR, frankly there are plenty of under-represented agents making money in this business. What we need is to stop the brain-drain by keeping their talent and knowledgebase within the NAR fold, rather than starting their own segmented groups. They need to be elevated and recognized, become representations of NAR membership and becoming advocates of NAR.
That energy carried over into the committee meeting later that week. There will be increased awareness of funds available to get future leadership to Midyear, a campaign to get every EOC member on other committees to cross-pollinate will be started, mobilization efforts will be started on the local association-level, and the GLBTs became a protected class under the Fair Housing Act.
Maybe I haven’t been on this rodeo long enough nationally to be jaded. But from the discussions I had with others in the three committee meetings I sat in on, more got accomplished this last Midyear than at any other in years past — even the jaded were converted! Nevertheless, it was so cool being part of the NAR conversation during the — hands down — most gratifying week I’ve ever had as a REALTOR(R). As a YPNer you are a de facto part of this conversation too. So if you didn’t get a chance to sign up for a committee, there are and will be many of us that will. Come to New Orleans for RealtorCon, accompany us to our meetings and get your feet wet into committee life. You’ll be glad you did.
Nobu Hata is a sales associate for Edina Realty in Minneapolis, and a founding member of the Minneapolis YPN group, the YoPros. Visit his Web site at www.nobuhata.com.