Insiders Blog #3
Gary Acosta shares his weekly experiences, updates and raw perspectives about NAHREP, done exclusively for the organization’s current and past leadership.
The week was productive. I spent Monday and Tuesday in Las Vegas at the Realogy Global Exchange. It was a big event and a positive experience. I spoke with their Diversity committee and told them that I appreciated their efforts, but we need to start changing the narrative. For one, I said that we need to stop using the term ‘diversity.’ Terms like ‘diversity’ and ‘inclusion’ evoke feelings of regulatory compliance and policy. The right things to do, but not necessarily the fun or profitable things to do. I shared with them the key data points from the 2017 State of Hispanic Homeownership Report® and explained that we need to start talking more about business cases and less about social policy. I think it went over well.
Later in the week, I got my first demo of our new process management system for our chapter network. It is starting to look pretty good, but still has a ways to go. Our Chicago and Central Florida chapters have been extremely helpful in the pilot phase. Hoping this is a game changer!!!
Also, this week we announced that Ana Navarro will be speaking at our policy conference. She is a bit of a polarizing figure. She is a staunch Republican who despises President Trump, who she famously calls “President Loco.” I like Ana because she is smart and funny and, unlike most people, is willing to go against her own party when they abandon their values. We need more people like that on both sides, but I also don’t want her session to be all about bashing Trump. I hope to have a constructive and intelligent conversation with Ana. The rest of the event is also coming along nicely. It will be a good combination of industry and political dialogue. I am especially looking forward to our session on making housing policy “cool” … not an easy thing to do, but if anyone can do it, NAHREP can do it.
Turns out our policy conference lands on a busy week in DC. Lots of activity on the House floor on Monday and a Dem retreat later in the week are making it almost impossible to get many elected officials to our event. We have always had a hard time getting Republicans to come, but this year has been especially tough. One of the challenges is that the congressional calendar is not released until December. We have to lock up a venue for our event far in advance of that, so the timing is always a bit of a crap shoot. As of now, we have Senator Menendez, Congressman Cárdenas, and Congressman Cisneros confirmed. Hopefully we’ll get a few more.
We are starting to feel the impact of rising interest rates. Budget cuts are prompting our corporate partners to send fewer people to our policy event this year. It is part of a normal cycle. Nonetheless, our rank and file members are more than making up the difference. It does, however, cause me to think about ways to tighten our budget if we have to.
Watching the NCAA Tourney … still not many Latinos playing in the big dance, but I am confident that will start changing. I’ve seen lots of Latino kids playing high level AAU ball. On a related note, Earl Watson interviewed for the UCLA job this week. I hope he gets it. Earl’s mom is Mexican and his grandparents came to the U.S. undocumented in the sixties. Real deal!