Yes to Equity: Historic IALC Vote Centers KW’s Commitment to Opportunities for All
In June, Keller Williams CEO Gary Keller proclaimed that as a company, Keller Williams stands together in support of equality and change. “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 do something about it,” he wrote in an open letter to leaders and associates.
In the months that have followed, Keller’s words have been transformed into swift action, beginning with the creation of KW’s Social Equity Task Force. At 68 members strong, the task force – which includes associates from every Keller Williams region across the U.S. and Canada – has been charged with creating immediate long-range strategies to uproot racial disparities within Keller Williams. Also, to promote healing and reform across the greater real estate industry.
On September 17, the company took another step forward in its pursuit of a more equitable future by passing two key proposals at the biannual International Associate Leadership Council meeting; each brought forth by leaders from the Social Equity Task Force.
Comprised of 124 agents across the company (of which 122 were present and voted during the meeting), the IALC is evidence of KW’s agent-led model fueled by shared decision making. Through the IALC, agents are able to shape the trajectory of the company by bringing proposals to the floor to be voted on that both protect and enhance the vitality of Keller Williams and its culture.
Here is a deeper look at the proposals – which passed unanimously – and the moving testimonies each one drew.
Proposal 1. Adding Equity: Opportunities for All to the Keller Williams Belief System
The first proposal to pass amended the company’s belief system from WI4C2TS to WI4C2TES to include equity:
- Win-Win: or no deal
- Integrity: do the right thing
- Customers: always come first
- Commitment: in all things
- Communication: seek first to understand
- Creativity: ideas before results
- Teamwork: together everyone achieves more
- Trust: starts with honesty
- Equity: opportunities for all
- Success: results through people
Before votes were cast, Keller Williams Social Equity Task Force co-chair John Clidy shared, “We stand behind Gary’s proclamation that it is not enough for our Keller Williams family members to refrain from exclusive and discriminatory practices, but rather we must all be engaged and active in the fight against exclusivity and discrimination. This mindset should be included in our belief system.”
Property Group team lead Jesse Dill echoed the sentiment. “It’s our culture here at Keller Williams to create a place where anyone and everyone, no matter your race, color, national origin, religion, sex, creed, age, or disability, can thrive in an environment that is truly incredible while having an opportunity to build lives worth living,” he shared. “Empathy without action is meaningless. It is our duty as IALC delegates to protect and enhance the vitality of our culture.”
Proposal 2. Adding “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee” to the List of Local ALC Standing Committees
In addition to the inclusion of ‘equity’ within the company’s belief system, Keller Williams leaders and agents will be paving the path toward true change through the inclusion of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) committees at the market center level.
“The rationale for this motion is to establish a platform for each market center to develop and promote strategies and best practices within the realms of racial, social, sexual, gender, age, disability, socioeconomic, and religious diversity for the betterment of Keller Williams culture,” National Social Equity Task Force co-chair Kymber Menkiti said.
The committees will advance the company’s mission to provide opportunities for all by working at the most granular level – in the market centers that make up the building blocks of a global operation. They will:
- Maintain a welcoming and inclusive environment for all protected classes (sex, race, color, creed, age, national origin, ancestry, disability, veteran status, genetic information, and sexual orientation).
- Actively promote diversity, equity, and inclusion education and initiatives.
- Uphold our culture to ensure individuals are not discriminated against on the basis of their differences.
- Teach agents how to increase their network and net-worth by eliminating bias and becoming accessible to various demographics.
In speaking for the passing of the motion, Florida-based Realtor and team leader Zahide Wallace reminisced of her personal experience sharing a healing conversation with one of her team members. “It was a conversation in which she shared with me her personal experiences and the times when she had been complicit in conversations, activities, and areas that did not uplift the Black community,” she said. “I want to encourage our leaders to be courageous and brave enough to have these conversations, because I want everyone to be able to experience what I was able to experience in my conversation with this brave associate. I am excited that this proposal will continue to move the ball forward in the right direction.”
To close out the historic IALC meeting, Mo Anderson, vice chairman of the board, said: “Remember, when we leave, the joy of being one synergistic, united team that works together and grows together. You have stood tall and strong, and you’ve come together, you’ve had conversations, with many more to be had, and you’ve taken our culture to a whole other level. We are so proud.”
Keller Williams President Josh Team shared Anderson’s pride: “I am honored to watch an organization of our size and magnitude, with people from all parts of the United States and Canada, come together and align and move as one.”