GATEWAY PERSPECTIVES: 2020: From Adversity to Opportunity

Richard Haggerty | December 14, 2020

HGAR Chief Executive Officer Richard Haggerty

As HGAR President Gail Fattizzi observes in her column for Real Estate In-Depth this month, 2020 was a year like no other. It has tested us in ways that we could not have imagined prior to the pandemic. From the complete lockdown of the Spring, to the resurgence of the “Black Lives Matter” movement, which began long before the senseless death of George Floyd, and which generated conversations and reflections on our country’s past that should have occurred long ago, to the market rally this summer and fall, 2020 was indeed a year like no other.

In spite of the challenges of 2020, or perhaps because of the challenges, HGAR leadership and staff overcame obstacles and stayed laser-focused on helping our members weather the storm, from transitioning hgar.com into a COVID-19 all in one resource center to remaking our education department into a virtual Zoom powerhouse, offering more classes than ever before.

Two accomplishments in particular I think will have lasting positive impacts on the Association. The first was the launch of the HGAR Leadership Accelerator program, an initiative which was an outcome of HGAR’s strategic plan and was a special priority for President Fattizzi who has been instrumental in its launch. The program provides invaluable leadership training and growth opportunities for its inaugural class, and I want to give a special shout out to Past President Katheryn DeClerck who has been facilitating the monthly meetings.

The second initiative has its roots in the Black Lives Matter movement which, from my perspective, has led to necessary and long overdue discussions about racial injustice which has plagued this country for far too long. With the strong support of the HGAR Board of Directors, President Fattizzi appointed a Diversity Task Force chaired by President-Elect Crystal Hawkins Syska. The mission of this Task Force was to recommend a road map for the creation of a Diversity Committee, as well as to recommend tangible steps HGAR can take to foster meaningful measures to promote diversity initiatives.

Within a few short months the Task Force has recommended, and the Board of Directors has approved, the creation of a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee as well as the creation of a new staff position which will be dedicated to fostering ongoing diversity initiatives. HGAR has made it clear that diversity and inclusion initiatives are not just necessary, they make us stronger as an association and they are here to stay.

As the countdown continues to the end of 2020, there is a lot of discussion about how the year can’t end fast enough. Folks are commenting on how happy they will be to see 2020 in the rearview mirror. Many have said that 2020 was like a nightmare that can’t end soon enough. However, we cannot afford to forget the lessons of 2020, or we are doomed to repeat our mistakes. We must remember both the good and the bad of 2020 and learn from both our mistakes and our successes.

I look back on 2020 as a year of resiliency. I believe our HGAR members, staff and leadership team did not bow to adversity, but rose above it. I am optimistic about the opportunities that 2021 presents and I know that HGAR will be by your side, helping our members succeed and grow. On behalf of all of the HGAR staff, I wish all of you a safe and healthy holiday season.

Richard Haggerty
HGAR CEO