What is DEI? Meet the DEI Committee

Katheryn DeClerck | October 17, 2022

In the past few years, DEI has become a commonly used acronym. Some people are unfamiliar with the term and are unsure how DEI relates to them. As Realtors, we wear many hats. We are business owners, advocates, and champions of homeownership. As such, DEI is an essential concept for us and we should be clear on its meaning.

DEI stands for diversity, equity, and inclusion. Many Realtors think it is a “fair housing” concept. Fair Housing pertains to the laws with which we must comply on a daily basis. DEI, on the other hand, is about embracing diversity, striving for equity, and intentionally being inclusive of others. Verna Myers said it so perfectly—“Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.” If we all valued those principles, we wouldn’t need fair housing laws to protect people.

The Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors took steps to reflect and evaluate the organization and, as a result, decided to put DEI principles front and center. Our DEI statement is “At Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors (HGAR), we aim to create a more diverse, equitable and inclusive professional community in which all members are empowered to learn, thrive, and work as agents for change. We commit to diversifying our membership, creating a deeply diverse, equitable and inclusive organization for our members, and embedding inclusive practices in the ways we work and learn with one another.”

We get there by increasing and highlighting the diversity among our members, listening to the challenges our colleagues and clients face, and understanding the barriers, past and present, of homeownership for our diverse communities. We widen the opportunity for homeownership through equity, a by-product of diversity and inclusion.

HGAR was one of the first associations in the country to hire a DEI officer. A DEI steering committee and an at-large committee were created. A member survey was conducted, and valuable data was collected. We launched the first DEI Summit in June and kicked off our first “Meet and Great” event in September. Currently, our committees have three separate task forces working on “Diversifying our Membership,” “Creating a Deeply DEI Organization,” and “Embedding Inclusive Practices.”

We welcome you into the discussion and invite your support of the mission. The committee members’ names can be found on the website at https://www.hgar.com/about-us/diversity-equity-inclusion. You will see more initiatives and articles here in Real Estate In-Depth. Look for us at upcoming events, and let’s work together to create the inclusive environment we all desire for ourselves and our clients.

Katheryn DeClerck
Katheryn DeClerck is a member of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors DEI Steering Committee.