Anywhere Touts Value of DEI, Engagement in Annual Gathering

Anywhere Chief People Officer Tanya Reu-Narvaez

Initially launched in 2019, Anywhere Real Estate concluded its latest “Week of Understanding” late last month, an event meant to embrace inclusivity in the realm of homebuying and selling across the industry and aiming to build a healthy company culture based on equality, including affiliated agents and franchisees alike.

Though it started as a “Day of Understanding,” Anywhere expanded the event last year, both in length and to include agents, and with a focus on a philosophy of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), with executives hosting activities and conversations around a variety of topics.

According to Anywhere’s website, sessions held this year were focused on “real, tangible, and meaningful progress that is changing the trajectory of the real estate industry,” exploring connections between inclusion and results in the real estate business, and offering case studies and “inspiring conversations.”

This year’s week of learning was summarized effectively in a live and online panel held on May 23, titled, “Making Moves That Matter: A Week of Empowering Impact.” The livestream opened with a company-wide message from Anywhere Real Estate President and CEO Ryan Schneider, who shared, “Inclusion and impact aren’t just nice things to talk about; they’re an essential part of what we do. And never forget that our work plays an incredibly important role in people’s lives. We are part of the most meaningful life moments…and that’s what we mean when we talk about ‘The Moves That Matter.’ Everyone has the power to make an impact.”

The discussion continued, led by Anywhere Chief People Officer Tanya Reu-Narvaez, with co-panelists Troy Singleton, Anywhere Integrated Services senior vice president and head of the Anywhere Diversity Council; Mike Miedler, president and CEO of Century 21 Real Estate; Matt Tebbe, Cartus president and CEO; Eric Jacobs, Regional President – Select Brands, Anywhere Integrated Services; Alex Vidal, president of ERA Real Estate and Jennifer Lind, regional president for Coldwell Banker Realty in California. The leaders gave fresh perspectives and shared their positions and experiences from previous impact and inclusion sessions they participated in during the week.

“For me,” Reu-Narvaez explained, “moving from diversity to dimensionality, when you look at inclusion impact and equity and enablement, these are choices, and these are choices that we as individuals and we as leaders can make.”

Singleton stressed the importance of acting on ideas of inclusion, and how actions are crucial for an evolving, adaptive real estate company—and industry.

“What we’re trying to do is jump from acronyms to action and really focus on this idea that inclusion is no longer a nice to have, it is a business imperative because as our customer continues to evolve, so should we. We have to be in the business of earning that business,” said Singleton.

Cartus’ Tebbe noted that these sessions helped various employees understand the power of participation, noting how warmth and openness through discourse promotes successful work environments, while leveraging personal development.

Tebbe explained, “Lexi Lopez talking about how her ERG (employee resource group) engagement has led her to finding her voice not just at work, but in her personal life as well. Colleen Lewis talked about how her participation has pushed her to get out of her comfort zone, travel more and just engage more openly with their peers. Julie Kaufman talked about how her networking has grown exponentially due to the next gen and directly led to new roles for her.”

Jacobs also spoke highly on a session of intersectionality, admitting that he walked away with knowledge that he lacked prior. “I could tell you honestly, sitting in on the intersectionality talk, I’m a little embarrassed to say I didn’t really know what (intersectionality) was, to be honest. And I was Googling before I did it. And I can honestly say, I genuinely learned stuff, and I came to have an appreciation that maybe might’ve been underdeveloped.”

Vidal shared the details about a session during the week-long event where an ERA franchise owner and one of her agents, talked about an project they worked on in Charlotte, North Carolina to educate local property owners about the opportunities that exist for those in the community who need but are unaware of the city’s available  low-income housing units. 

“What they did in North Carolina epitomizes what ERA is about,” Vidal said, speaking about the franchise owner and agent who worked on the project. “One is abundance – If we’re really good at something we don’t keep it to ourselves, especially if we can share it with not only people within our company but with those outside as well. And the other is finding a better way.”

But he also acknowledged the struggle and journey of his own milestone of becoming the first Latino president of a national real estate company. “That is something that I struggled with owning as well,” he said. “I saw it as something people were going to hold against me almost. That, ‘Oh, he got promoted because he’s Cuban-American,’ not on my merits. And so for quite a while I held back in saying that I was the first Hispanic brand president because I felt I didn’t want to be judged on that, and it took me a while to own it and say, ‘You know what, I am the first Hispanic brand president, and I got here because of what I do and just happen to be Cuban-American.’ But it takes time to look inside and own it. And I, like Eric, was a product of not knowing everything or holding back sometimes, and now we’re using that to show you can accomplish great things.”

Finally Lind was asked to share her view on what work her group is doing to make an impact in the Golden State. 

“Everything that we do for our group on the West Coast is highly driven by – it’s not just a transaction – it’s about the why behind what we do. So when you’re looking to make an impact, it’s the meaning that you get,” Lind said. “I think part of what we do and we forget how important it is, is you make an impact or learn something and then you help someone else do it. The one activity itself, the one change itself is not as impactful as what follows that. And there’s an opportunity for all of us to do that.”

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