Autumn 2021: President’s Perspective

I attended our 114th Annual Golf Classic back in July, where I had the chance to speak with Neli Vazquez Rowland, the founder of A Safe Haven, a foundation that helps transition Chicagoans from homelessness to self-sufficiency. What started as a small vision and a passion turned into a model that saves hundreds of lives each year. I was moved by their story, and it got me thinking about the current state of our industry and our future. We have survived a pandemic that has greatly impacted our communities; but that doesn’t mean our challenges are over. We will likely be facing a brand-new set of issues — and potential opportunities —  which the REALTOR® community will need to rise up and meet head-on. It’s important that we not only continue the conversation around homelessness, but also around the issues of equity: how do we build equal opportunities so all of our REALTOR® members have ample chances to succeed, and how do we help foster and build equitable opportunities throughout our neighborhoods? Recently, I read statistics that confront the magnitude of this issue. According to the National Association of REALTORS®’ Career Choices in Real Estate report from this year, Black REALTORS®’ net personal income from real estate was only $9,900, significantly less than all other races. In fact, it was almost half as much as Hispanic and Asian REALTORS®, both of whom were at $ 18,600 in 2020. And, as you can imagine, women REALTORS® fell behind men in most personal income areas. As REALTORS®, we are at the forefront; we can make positive changes if we work together, in ways both big and small, to support our communities. I challenge you now, as I did at the beginning of my presidency last fall, to rise up to these challenges. I don’t know that I have any answers to these issues, but I do have some thoughts, starting with embracing diversity. It’s up to each of us to find the beauty in one another, and I know that’s something we can all do. NYKEA PIPPION McGRIFF 2020-2021 President Chicago Association of REALTORS®