DEI Best Practices and Benchmarks

Anthony Domathoti | February 7, 2023

There is a lot of discussion about DEI … lots of opinions and thoughts. So, why is DEI important, especially in our industry?

The term DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) was coined in the early 2000s, though the concept has been around for much longer. DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) is important because it creates an environment where everyone is respected and valued, regardless of their identity. It helps to cultivate an atmosphere of respect, understanding, and acceptance, which can lead to increased productivity and creativity. Additionally, creating a diverse and inclusive workplace has been shown to be beneficial for businesses, as it can lead to improved customer relations, increased profits, and better employee engagement. Finally, DEI is important because it ensures that everyone is treated fairly and has access to the same opportunities, as well as a safe and supportive workplace.

So, what is our role and responsibility as Realtors?

Creating DEI initiatives can be very time-consuming—it’s part organic and part blood, sweat and tears. You don’t always see the results right up front and it’s hard to benchmark where you are.

We must embrace acceptance as opposed to tolerance. Acceptance is the active embrace of someone or something, while tolerance is the recognition and respect of someone or something, despite differences. Acceptance involves actively embracing diversity, while tolerance involves putting up with differences. In other words, acceptance is a positive attitude towards someone or something, while tolerance is a more neutral attitude towards someone or something. Neutrality can be bad because it can lead to an environment of inaction. This, in turn, can lead to stagnation and a lack of progress in addressing important issues, such as poverty, inequality, climate change and human rights. Neutrality can also create an atmosphere of complacency, in which people become accustomed to the status quo and are less likely to take risks and innovate. This can result in a lack of innovation and create a sense of apathy and complacency that can be detrimental in the long run.

We, as Realtors, can play a critical role in fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion in our industry. We can ensure that we are inclusive when marketing and advertising properties, including being aware of language and imagery that avoids stereotypes. We must take steps to ensure that the clients we serve are from diverse backgrounds, listening to their needs and preferences. Advocating for DEI initiatives in our local and state real estate associations and working with real estate industry partners to create more equitable opportunities for all fall on all our shoulders. Professionally and socially, we can use our platforms to actively promote DEI initiatives, such as hosting events for underrepresented groups and working to increase access to homeownership for marginalized communities.

How does one advocate and implement DEI Initiatives?

• Educate yourself: Make sure you have a good understanding of DEI initiatives and the issues they are trying to address. All Realtors should receive comprehensive training on how to be culturally sensitive to all clients and customers, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or other characteristics.

• Speak up: Advocate for DEI initiatives in your community, brokerage and other relevant settings.

• Listen: Listen to different perspectives and understand the perspectives of those around you.

• Be an ally: Support and advocate for DEI initiatives in your brokerage, community and other relevant settings.

• Donate: Donate to organizations that are actively working on DEI initiatives.

• Participate: Participate in DEI initiatives, such as attending events, joining task forces or volunteering.

• Engage: Engage with your local government and elected officials on DEI initiatives.

• Advocate: Advocate for DEI initiatives by writing letters, speaking out about them and attending rallies. Advocate for legislative change to ensure fair and equitable access to housing opportunities for all individuals and communities.

• Support: Support DEI initiatives through your time, money and energy.

• Share: Share the stories and experiences of those who have been affected by DEI initiatives with your friends, family and colleagues.

Anthony Domathoti
Anthony Domathoti, AHWD, CIPS, CRS, C2EX, SRS, ABR, is the 2023 Immediate Past President of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors and is a licensed Real Estate Broker/Owner of EXIT Realty Premium in the Bronx. Domathoti has been accepted to the 2023 NAR Leadership Academy.