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NAR Forms New Commission to Address Association Culture
By Stacey Moncrieff
CHICAGO—The National Association of Realtors announced on Tuesday (Oct. 10) the appointment of a new commission aimed at developing recommendations for changing NAR’s culture. The 75-member Culture Transformation Commission is made up of both members and association staff. The CTC will hold its first meeting Oct. 19.
Formation of the CTC comes in the wake of news reports, including an Aug. 23 story in The New York Times, alleging that NAR did not act swiftly or adequately enough to counter incidents of harassment, intimidation and retaliation by its leaders. The Times report led to the resignation of 2023 President Kenny Parcell. President-elect Tracy Kasper ascended to the presidency two months before the scheduled start of her term and vowed to staff and members that NAR would act quickly.
In a memo to NAR staff on Tuesday, NAR CEO Bob Goldberg said commission members were selected from a large group of volunteers by the CTC Appointment Task Force, which was established by NAR’s Executive Committee. “The Appointment Task Force was mindful about choosing individuals with different experiences and perspectives,” Goldberg said, including representatives from affinity trade groups and NAR’s Institutes, Societies, and Councils.
NAR staff members named to the CTC were nominated and elected by their colleagues. Among the group are some of the most vocal critics of how the association responded to staff complaints lodged in 2022. “We utilized a comprehensive process to ensure this group is representative of the broad viewpoints at NAR,” Goldberg said.
The CTC includes 33 NAR members, 25 NAR staff members and 17 local and state Realtor association staff. Shaun Harper, Ph.D., of the University of Southern California will lead the commission.
Any transformation of the culture at NAR must include an examination of the power held by NAR’s Leadership Team, Kasper said in a meeting with staff in September.
Harper is employing surveys, interviews with executives and focus groups, and he will facilitate a town hall–style forum at NAR NXT in November. The CTC will analyze the ideas and perspectives gleaned from these interactions and present recommendations to NAR’s leadership in 2024.
“While this work will take time, we’re taking a focused and deliberate approach, guided by an external expert, to ensure we’re considering the best ways forward to help NAR to emerge a stronger, more cohesive organization,” Goldberg said in his memo to staff. Kasper posted the same message to NAR’s Board of Directors on Tuesday morning.
What Came Before
Even before appointment of the CTC, changes at NAR were underway.
In November 2021, the Board of Directors and Delegate Body approved nine recommendations coming out of the Governance Game Changer Presidential Advisory Group, led by NAR Past President Sharon Millett of Maine and Terrie Suit, CEO of Virginia Realtors. The changes included expansion of the Executive Committee’s size and power, more specific duties for regional vice presidents and changes to the composition of the Board of Directors.
Following the complaints in 2022, NAR undertook a number of steps, including the development of a Leadership Pledge. The pledge outlines the behavior expected of NAR leaders, as well as disciplinary actions that could be taken if leaders fell short of their commitments. In addition, NAR created protocols regarding member behavior at events and now requires all attendees to accept the terms. “We have since expelled members from events for inappropriate behavior,” Goldberg said in a separate memo to staff.
NAR also mandated enhanced harassment prevention training for volunteer leaders.
“We are now working to take additional actions, led by outside experts, to promote a safe and supportive environment for everyone,” Goldberg said. In addition to the CTC, he added, “we have established a new policies and procedures task force, a new special committee to address claims of member misconduct and new processes for employee complaints.”
Kasper wrapped up her message to board members by reiterating her commitment to action. “Many thanks to each of our commissioners for their leadership and to all of you for your dedication to NAR,” she said. “We will continue to provide updates. Our intention is to be attentive to concerns, responsive to feedback and transparent in our communications.”
Members of the CTC were notified of their selection on Sept. 30 and will hold their first meeting this month. They are expected to submit recommendations to NAR leadership in 2024.
Shanta Patton Golar
Chris Pelkola Lee
NAR Staff Commissioners
Local and State Association Staff Commissioners
Michelle Mills Clement
Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in Realtor Magazine.
Stacey Moncrieff is Executive Editor of publications for the National Association of Realtors and Editor in Chief of Realtor Magazine.