EVENT UPDATE: On Tuesday, June 2, the first day of Inman Connect Now, Gary Keller and Josh Team, the CEO and president at Keller Williams, will take the stage for a live conversation with Brad Inman. Click here to learn more…
Gary Keller and Keller Williams are going beyond speaking out against racism as protests against police brutality spread across the country in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, a Black man, at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.
Keller, the CEO and co-founder of the Austin, Texas-based real estate franchisor, announced in an email Sunday that the company is creating a new task force to address racial disparities at Keller Williams and the industry at large.
“I’d like to make one thing clear: Racism is wrong and Keller Williams stands with the Black community and wholeheartedly supports equality,” Keller wrote in the email.
“Right now, communities across America are experiencing tremendous pain,” Keller added. “This pain builds and grows exponentially with each name: George Floyd. Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. Eric Garner. Sandra Bland. Michael Brown, and too many more. Each person had a story, a family, a home, and a life that mattered that was taken away from them.”
The task force is being created in conjunction with the company’s International Associate Leadership Council. Leaders from each region will be tapped to join the task force, which is aimed at coming up with recommendations for action to eliminate racial disparity within Keller Williams or the real estate industry, as well as guide the company and its agents on how to lead the way in the communities in which they work and live.
Each associate leadership council is made up of the top 20 percent of agents in each market center and is referred to by the company as a “dynamic board of directors.”
“We can all do something,” Keller said. “Lead a conversation in your market center and commit as a family to create change.”
“Reach out to your local real estate board and make sure that racial equality is reflected in their positions,” Keller added. “Ask if they support initiatives and measures crucial to racial and social justice. Then, get involved in those you believe in.”
Keller Williams isn’t the only company taking direct action. Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman said in a blog post, that his company plans to release its annual report on employee diversity and its own diversity initiatives. The company will talk more in detail about what’s working and what’s next, when it releases that data.
Other real estate industry CEOs and leaders have released statements addressing actionable steps their agents and company have and can take in the future to address racial injustice in society and the real estate industry.
Read Keller’s full note below:
Dear Keller Williams family,
I’d like to make one thing clear: Racism is wrong and Keller Williams stands with the Black community and wholeheartedly supports equality.
Right now, communities across America are experiencing tremendous pain. This pain builds and grows exponentially with each name: George Floyd. Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. Eric Garner. Sandra Bland. Michael Brown, and too many more. Each person had a story, a family, a home, and a life that mattered that was taken away from them.
To our Black Keller Williams associates and clients: We are with you. You matter. Your family, friends, and community matter. Your lives matter. You are in our hearts and in our prayers.
The truth is that racial injustice and inequality persists. And, in order to help change that, it’s critical to not only say something about it, but to do something about it. I believe that the real estate community has a unique opportunity to promote healing and reform. The first step is reflection and thoughtful self-examination. Then, we listen. We learn. We speak up. That’s how change happens. We know many of you are past this stage. And, from you, we need your leadership.
Effective immediately, we are creating a task force of our International Associate Leadership Council to come forward with recommendations for action to eliminate any racial disparity within our company, our industry, and how we can lead the way in the communities where we live and work. I will be reaching out to your regions immediately to ask for a nomination from each to join us in this critical effort. I’m proud of the company we’ve built together, but I know in my heart that we can do more. I believe we can also set an example within the industry by committing more of ourselves to a better, and equitable future.
We can all do something. Lead a conversation in your market center and commit as a family to create change. Reach out to your local real estate board and make sure that racial equality is reflected in their positions. Ask if they support initiatives and measures crucial to racial and social justice. Then, get involved in those you believe in.
Now is also the time to check in on each other, speak our truths, and listen with an empathetic ear. While we may not be able to come together in person, we can make a difference. Call, video chat, text, and support each other during this unbelievably challenging time.
Take heart. And, take care of each other. While pain and hate brought us to this moment, love will help us find our way out.
After 25 years, Inman Connect is coming to you. We’re transcending our legendary events in a live digital event, Inman Connect Now. Get ready for the top industry leaders plotting the path forward, new business ideas and opportunities, networking like you’ve never imagined it, and tons of exciting new magic, all straight to you. It’s all part of an epic new Inman experience, Connect Now, June 2-4, 2020. Click here to save your seat.