Insiders Blog #2
Gary Acosta shares his weekly experiences, updates and raw perspectives about NAHREP, done exclusively for the organization’s current and past leadership.
NAHREP Creates a Program for Past Leaders
For years, I have struggled with the dilemma of how to continue to remain engaged with our former leaders. Leadership development is one of the primary contributions NAHREP makes to the real estate and Latino communities, and we want to provide those coveted leadership opportunities to as many people as possible. This is why we require the chapter and national leadership to turn over every year. However, there is a big trade-off for this policy. Every year, dozens of NAHREP’s best and most experienced leaders rotate off our boards and for the most part, move into the shadows of the organization. Many have continued to contribute by becoming unofficial advisors and mentors to their successors, but for the most part, NAHREP’s past leaders have been an underutilized resource. To address this issue, last month we officially launched NAHREP Alumni, a new designation that is designed to honor these past leaders and keep them in the communication loop. Armando Tam helped frame the idea, and Christa Murillo was tapped as the staff person to manage the project.
To be eligible, you must be a former chapter president, a former national board member or a former chapter board member that served for a minimum of four years. NAHREP Alumni must complete a short application, and once approved will receive free Platinum membership for life. More importantly, NAHREP Alumni will be part of a special brain trust to the organization where they will share their thoughts, insights and recommendations to NAHREP’s staff and current leadership. I am super excited about this long overdue program. After two weeks, we had received over 140 applications and hope to have 200 Alumni by the policy conference. If you know anyone that qualifies, please have them apply at nahrep.org/alumni.
NAHREP Makes Political Advocacy Cool
About ten years ago, we decided to reduce our focus on housing policy and political advocacy and direct more of our activities on professional education and business growth. The housing crisis drove most of the industry into survival mode and, while still important, our policy work became a secondary priority. Last year, we decided to ramp up our policy work and hired Noerena Limón, a veteran of the White House and the CFPB to help us build our advocacy platform. This past week Noerena and Jaimie Owens hosted a small mastermind group of NAHREP members who were selected to represent NAHREP in a handful of key congressional districts. The initial group of advocates included Nora Aguirre, Josie Anderson, Gay-Lynn Barnes, Rachel Briseño Bruno, Justine Jimenez Garcia, Oscar Guerra, Lucy Guzman, Rich Hernandez, Alex Mosquera, Joe Nery, Denisse Roldán Newell, Joel Rivera, and Nancy Vargas-Johnson. Noerena and Jaimie will train and mobilize this team to work with elected officials who serve on committees that regulate our industry. Their job will be to educate the members of Congress about the economic power of the Latino cohort and the legislative issues that affect our mission. The initial meeting took place in Las Vegas and was capped off with a gourmet dinner sponsored by Alterra Home Loans, hosted at the private residence of Jason Madiedo. Consider this a big step forward in making NAHREP one of the most politically consequential trade groups in the country.
In addition to the policy work, Noerena and Jaimie are working with Marisa Calderon to produce our two flagship reports, The State of Hispanic Homeownership and The State of Hispanic Wealth, which will be released at the policy conference in April. It’s exciting stuff and I hope to see you all in DC.
We had 14 chapter events last week that were attended by over 2,000 people. Spectacular job by those boards.
New data shows that while the Hispanic market continues to outperform most segments, the overall housing market is showing weakness and many top firms posted losses last year for the first time since the crash. Changes in the market require us to continue to find new ways to create value for our members and sponsors. I feel even more pressure than usual to make sure our Leadership Academy and Policy Conference is a big success.
The U.S. Census Bureau reported last week that Hispanic homeownership improved for the fourth consecutive year, the only demographic to have four straight gains. Overall, Hispanics had a net increase of 362,000 new homeowners. This is the largest single-year increase since 2005.