Huntsville REALTORS® Build Partnerships and Promote Diversity in Northern Alabama

Huntsville REALTORS® Build Partnerships and Promote Diversity in Northern Alabama

December 2016

Recognizing that minority representation in its leadership didn’t accurately reflect the diversity of its membership, its community and the real estate industry at large, the Huntsville Area Association of REALTORS® (HAAR) has embarked on a determined initiative to encourage the engagement of minorities in its leadership structure. Under the direction of 2016 HAAR President Kathy Mann, the first African American woman to serve in the position, the association is using a Diversity Grant from the REALTOR® Party to help revive the local chapter of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB), the historic organization founded by African-American industry professionals in 1947. In partnership, the REALTORS® and the REALTISTS®, as NAREB members are known, are moving toward a stronger future in northern Alabama.

Mann explains the impetus behind HAAR’s support of NAREB: When she became president of HAAR, one of her goals was increasing its minority membership involvement and leadership. A work group was formed to help find solutions to getting more minority members engaged with the association and how to help address issues in the community such as improving minority homeownership and affordable housing. “Four years ago, I learned about NAREB and attended a national meeting. I loved what it stood for, and what it was accomplishing as a national organization focused on economic opportunity for all,” she says. The work group decided that revitalizing the local NAREB chapter that already existed would be the perfect solution. HAAR member April Parker was elected as the new president of the Huntsville Association of Real Estate Brokers (HAREB,) which now numbers fourteen members.

HAAR Chief Executive Josh McFall says that at the board level, the association is constantly looking to get new people involved. “NAREB is a great channel to expand our leadership with professionals of diverse perspective and experience,” he says. “We’re proud to be able to support our local chapter with outreach and training that will help its members succeed and, hopefully, join our efforts.” In July 2016, Parker, Mann and McFall worked together to apply for a Diversity Grant from the REALTOR® Party to support leadership training and community outreach for the local REALTIST® board, activities that coincide with the NAR Core Standards requirements.

When the grant was received, Mann and Parker hit the ground running. They’ll soon be launching a membership drive among contractors and other professionals associated with the real estate industry, to increase participation in HAREB. In early November, HAAR supported a regional NAREB leadership event in Birmingham, which was attended by eleven of the fourteen current HAREB members, and where Parker shared information with her fellow leaders about partnering with local REALTOR® Associations. She has planned training sessions throughout 2017 that will cover leadership principles and practices, business etiquette and professionalism, how to set up a business, and tax and finance issues. All the training will be hosted at the HAAR offices. The HAAR Board of Directors has also granted one HAREB member ex-officio non-voting status on its board, giving the new leader valuable insight into the governance of the REALTOR® Association.  Says Parker, “We’re bringing together a group of passionate people.  As we reach out to real estate professionals in our community, they’re excited about these opportunities, and the inclusion. Several of our HAREB members are already serving on HAAR committees!”

For local consumers, Parker has developed a two-part series on homeownership and credit-worthiness that was so well received at a local church, that HAREB has been invited to present it at a local college, and to high school seniors and their parents at a local school. “That’s our goal,” she says, “reaching the community that our members will serve. Thanks to all we’re able to do with this grant from the REALTOR® Party, they’ll be prepared, and so will we.  I’m so grateful to Josh, Kathy and HAAR for recognizing the importance of NAREB being part of the REALTOR® Association.”

To learn more about how the REALTORS® of Huntsville, Alabama are strengthening their community by supporting diversity in their industry, contact HAAR President Kathy Mann at, HAREB President April Parker at, or HAAR Chief Executive Officer Josh McFall at 256-536-3334 or

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