‘It Started with a Scarf’

Having a more diverse clientele not only opens up more opportunities, but also gives me a chance to get to know people from different cultures and learn how to show up respectfully.

‘It Started with a Scarf’

The number of people looking to buy or invest in real estate is extremely broad and diverse. One would believe a Realtor’s clientele would match that, but that’s not always the case. As humans, we tend to stick to what we are familiar with, but if we branch out with a sense of openness, kindness, and curiosity, we can open up doors to numerous personal and business opportunities.  

Take a look at your sphere of influence. Is it diverse, mirroring the community of people who could use your expertise, or is it limited to just those with whom you find familiarity? 

Having a more diverse clientele not only opens up more opportunities, but also gives me a chance to get to know people from different cultures and learn how to show up respectfully. My curiosity usually prompts me to interact with people who are different from me. 

In 2014, I took a trip to Dubai to celebrate Christmas and New Year's Eve. I loved the way the hijabs looked on women. It was so elegant to me. When I got back home, I had a ton of scarves that were gifted to me, and I wanted to wear them, but I was not sure how to do so and also how to be culturally sensitive. I did not want just to throw it on my head but wear it as I saw Muslim women do. 

Shortly after my return, some new neighbors came in, and to my surprise, the mother wore a hijab; I was in awe.  As time went by, I finally expressed my admiration of how Muslim women dress to my neighbor and how I enjoyed my time in Dubai. There are so many scarves I would love to wear, but I don’t know how to make them look like hers.  She instantly invited me over and I was so excited!  She told me to bring hairpins and I received a tutorial on how to wear a hijab. That was not the first or last time, and we still have a relationship to this day.

Fast-forward five years—I was in a shop, and the cashier left a note that he had gone to pray. I waited, and when he came back my curiosity led to a conversation.  I asked him if he had prayer cards. I only knew of prayer cards from my neighbor. He did, and we began speaking about our lives. I found out he was the owner of the shop, and at this time, I had just received my real estate license, so I shared that with him. 

Two years later, he called me because he was looking for a church to turn into a mosque. Now if I had never built a rapport with my neighbor, I would probably not have spoken to the man behind the counter. All those times spent with her, and her family allowed me to be open to talking to people of a religion different from mine.

Clients from numerous backgrounds have different real estate needs. The more people you can reach as a Realtor, the more you can build your book of business and help bring the diversity and inclusion we wish to see.

In my experience as a Realtor, I have enjoyed working with different cultures and becoming a part of my clients’ extended families. I am always so honored to be invited to birthdays, holiday celebrations, or to simply hang out. I have learned about many New Year’s celebrations, holidays, and traditions by being open and kind to others, even if we are not alike.

If every Realtor opened up to people of different backgrounds, it would show that HGAR Realtors not only preach about diversity, but show we have a sense of unity.

Shari Davis is a member of the HGAR Diversity, Equity and Inclusion At-Large Committee.


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