GATEWAY PERSPECTIVES: The Year of Resiliency

Richard Haggerty | September 2020

HGAR Chief Executive Officer Richard Haggerty

In this edition of Real Estate In-Depth, Editor John Jordan has posed five questions to NAR CEO Bob Goldberg. I must confess I was curious to see what Bob focused on in these unprecedented times. He acknowledged that, in his almost 25 years with NAR, he felt that this year was the most challenging to the real estate industry, but he also views this chapter as “our year of resiliency.” This truly resonated with me because I have seen so many instances of our HGAR members displaying that same resiliency. I have also seen countless examples of our members creativity during the months when we could only show properties remotely. As Bob mentions in his responses to John’s questions, challenging times often lead to unexpected innovations that can reshape the industry.

Bob also addresses his support of new technologies, which is a true passion for him. As he phrases it, by supporting and investing in fledgling companies that have ties to real estate, NAR can influence those companies so that they become Realtor advocates and not Realtor adversaries. As I have said over many years, real estate is a people business that, at its core, is dependent upon relationship skills, but must still fully embrace technology.

Bob also focused on fair housing and the multi-pronged and aggressive approach NAR has adopted on this vital front. NAR developed the ACT (Accountability, Culture Change and Training) program, spearheaded by newly appointed NAR Director of Fair Housing Bryan Greene, who addressed hundreds of HGAR members this summer via Zoom. NAR also created and launched an implicit bias video that can be found on realtor.org, which I would strongly suggest every member watch.

Early this summer HGAR President Gail Fattizzi appointed a HGAR Diversity Task Force, chaired by in-coming President Crystal Hawkins Syska, to create a standing Diversity Committee, and the Task Force has been active in creating an aggressive and actionable roadmap going forward to tackle issues of inclusion and anti-discrimination measures.

What also struck me when reading Bob’s comments was how it mirrored some of the ideas and themes that HGAR’s Strategic Planning Task Force discussed last year. The product of the Task Force—the HGAR Strategic Plan for 2020 – 2022—is as relevant today as it was pre-COVID. The five pillars of the plan; advocacy, leadership, professional development, engagement and success, are all hyper-focused on advancing HGAR members’ interests. COVID-19 threw us a curve ball when we started the initial implementation of the plan; however, we are quickly refocusing, having just launched the new Leadership Accelerator program with 13 inaugural members, who had their very first session led by NAR past president Ron Phipps, who also was the facilitator of HGAR’s strategic planning process last year.

This has indeed been a year of resiliency. The market has come roaring back after New York’s lockdown, which lasted almost two-and-a-half months, but we would be foolish to think there is just smooth sailing ahead. There will unquestionably be more bumps on the road going forward, and some of them may be significant. However, I believe that with resiliency, creativity and determination this industry will continue to thrive.

Richard Haggerty
HGAR CEO