The Metropolitan St. Louis Chapter of the Women’s Council of REALTORS® proudly includes cultural diversity as one of its core values. In April, the Business Resource Meeting will focus on the strengths and challenges of cultural diversity and will outline some of the resources available to assist REALTORS® to better serve these communities in its presentation INTERNATIONAL ST. LOUIS: 101 - Celebrating Diversity with Kate Howell and Kelly Moore of the International Institute St. Louis.
Cultural diversity is an important source of strength for the Women’s Council of REALTORS®. Historically, women had been excluded from professional organizations and lacked a strong platform for voicing their unique concerns and views regarding the real estate industry. In November 1938, 37 ambitious women representing nine states met to form the Women’s Council of REALTORS®.
Since its inception, the Women’s Council of REALTORS® has been at the forefront championing such issues as:
- Earnings Equity between Male and Female Real Estate Agents
- Flexible Work Schedules to Balance Work and Family
- Development of Strong Support Systems for Women REALTORS®
- Development of a Nationwide Referral Network
- Recognition of the Achievements and Successes of WCR Members
Today, the Women’s Council of REALTORS® continues its commitment to cultural diversity. However, it isn’t just about gender, race or nationality. It is about providing a forum for our members to become better leaders, to develop their sales skills and to plan and grow their businesses.
In a recent Leadership Program exercise, the value of diversity was driven home to members of the 2010 Leadership Class. The exercise was simple but revealing. Individual participants were presented with a hypothetical scenario (e.g. lost at sea in a life raft) and were then asked to allocate resources, prioritize action and plot a course of action for survival and hopeful rescue. After the participants made their decisions as individuals, the individuals then met as a group and repeated the exercise. The results were very revealing. The group exercise prompted discussion and debate and refined the plan action. The result was a much better plan of action that beat the scores given to the individual plans of action, proving diverse input betters the output.
From an organizational standpoint, cultural diversity is important for the same reason. Cultural diversity allows for the sharing of diverse opinions and approaches. Our chapter leadership understands the importance of the diversity of ideas and approaches. For this reason, we are the focusing on the expansion of our membership to include a diverse base such as:
- REALTORS® from Different Brokerages
- Affiliates from a wide range of Real Estate Related Industries
- Members from St. Louis City, St. Louis County and Jefferson County
- Member REALTORS® who sell new construction and existing homes in all styles
- Members with Diverse Backgrounds
The reason for this approach is simple. A diverse membership is important because it leads to competing ideas and better results at the organizational level. Equally important, it also creates a strong and active referral network. So this month, I challenge our members to recruit someone outside of their organization and invite them to become members of the Metropolitan St. Louis Chapter of the Women’s Council of REALTORS® and to discover why we are the “Go 2 Network for St. Louis Real Estate Professionals.”
Elizabeth Robb, WCR Metro St. Louis President