Thoughts on Leadership: The 2016 NAGLREP Conference

This week my travels found me in Ft. Lauderdale, FL for the National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals Conference. This meeting is the premiere forum for the LGBT real estate market and highlights issues that affect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender homebuyers and sellers. As an example, at the 2016 conference, NAGLREP released the results of its latest Member Survey, which found 20% of LGBT real estate agents surveyed thought the historic Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court ruling positively affected their clients’ decision to buy or sell a home. (Read more results from the survey here.)

Each year, industry leaders gather to celebrate accomplishments, discuss pressing topics and brainstorm ways to make a real difference for an influential, important and impactful area of the real estate industry.  This year’s meeting was exactly that.

Brad Inman, founder of Inman News delivered a keynote address about how people and technology are making the world a better place (and why we need to play along); Sean Becketti, chief economist at Freddie Mac talked about what’s in store for the housing market; Blair Myers star of “Like A Boss” TV show on the Oxygen Channel, spoke on the topic of using personal characteristics to grow your brand and business; Sherry Chris, president and CEO of Better Homes and Gardens, along with Todd Sears, founder of Out Leadership, discussed how companies and organizations working together can help evoke positive change within the real estate industry; Ann Green, president and CEO of CooperKatz & Company, Inc., explained the ways agents can benefit from today’s golden age of PR; David Siroty, VP of Communications for Coldwell Banker, talked about smart content strategies for growth; and Krisstina Wise, founder of GoodLife Realty, gave a keynote about how to find true wealth and long-term financial security in real estate. Additionally, I was honored to deliver a keynote speech on the seven principles for sustainable success. Thanks to Jeff Berger, founder, president and CEO of NAGLREP for asking me to speak.

Over several days, attendees at the NAGLREP conference discussed, brainstormed, shared ideas and connected, all for the betterment of the LGBT community and ultimately, real estate at large. It was a significant step toward bringing more diversity into our industry and one in which I was proud to participate.

So, what’s the message? Diversity is incredibly important. As George Takei once famously said, “We should indeed be calm in the face of difference, and live our lives in a state of inclusion and wonder at the diversity of humanity.” Just as we can’t settle for mediocrity if we’re truly set on progressive growth, we also cannot settle on monotony, on a workforce or industry marked by sameness. We’ve got to focus on fostering diversity because while our similarities undoubtedly unite us, it’s our differences that really bring about the most powerful kind of collaboration, creativity and change.

GINO BLEFARI is CEO of HSF Affiliates LLC. You can follow Gino on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

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