AANHPI Heritage Month: Minh Nguyen Advocates for Change

By Hope Walborn | May 14, 2024 | 5 min. read

PAR continues to commemorate Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month by celebrating dedicated AANHPI Realtors® in Pennsylvania.

Minh Nguyen, a Realtor® of six years and a member of the Greater Philadelphia Association of Realtors®, serves as the secretary of the Greater Philadelphia chapter of the Asian Real Estate Association of America. He has also held various leadership positions with Keller Williams Philadelphia and was named their Cultural Icon in 2020.

Born in South Vietnam, Nguyen’s culture helped lead him to a career in real estate and continues to inspire him in his work and advocacy initiatives.

“During college, while searching for my identity and finding opportunities to improve my Vietnamese fluency, I volunteered and then worked at the local chapter of a national nonprofit organization serving the Vietnamese community,” Nguyen recalls. “There, I developed programming for the nonprofit community center on topics around education and workforce development, anti-biased violence initiatives, community development, social justice and housing equity. From this experience, I found the motivation to continue doing work in the community in any way I can.”

This motivation launched Nguyen’s career in real estate, which took off quickly. By the end of his first month, he had already passed his exams, interviewed with brokerages, onboarded and was under contract on his first deal.

“I had family and friends that were in the real estate industry, and I wanted to have a piece of the American Dream in the land of the free and the home of the brave,” Nguyen says. “Real estate is an industry and community made up of people from all walks of life, from all occupations, all cultures and all socio-economic and political backgrounds. We literally change people’s lives every single day.”

“Real estate has opened my eyes to many different people’s perspectives, struggles and backgrounds. It has provided me great insight into the macro and micro socio-economic and political systems and conditions in the Greater Philadelphia region and beyond. Because of real estate, I have met such incredible individuals who have inspired me in so many ways.”

“The real estate industry is most prominent and effective when we have representation from individuals of all backgrounds. We are stronger when we have democratic representation and a workforce that represents the demographics of America,” says Greater Philadelphia Realtor® Minh Nguyen.

While working in Philly, Nguyen has seen a wide range of different homes, from beautiful to dilapidated. Seeing the housing inequities in the area inspired him to create change.

“Many parts of Philadelphia and other counties represent a Tale of Two Cities, a society where there are inequities and injustices in poor communities intermixed and intertwined with some of the wealthiest communities in the United States,” he notes. “Real estate professionals are the incubators of change and have an important role in society and in our multifaceted economy. We have an opportunity to bridge the divide and create a system that empowers all human beings to have the opportunity to reach their dreams in real estate.”

Besides the many families Nguyen has represented, he’s most proud of his work on Keller Williams’ Agent Leadership Council and AREAA Greater Philadelphia. He helped the ALC roll out and transition to their new proprietary database, an undertaking of two years that included classes, workshops and technical support. He also played a role in the ALC’s initiatives to discover and confront inequities in the industry as a part of their Social Equity Task Force.

Additionally, as the secretary of AREAA Greater Philadelphia, Nguyen is proud of being able to organize and coordinate community events, homeowner education, the Diversity and Fair Housing Summit, national conventions, AREAA Eats and other programs and initiatives. He adds, “It is empowering not only to close deals and sell houses, but to be a bigger movement of change and transformation.”

“I always believed that teamwork makes the dream work,” Nguyen shares. “In order to be successful, we have to empower ourselves, one another and our clients. There is so much hate and division in our country and in our industry that we must be an example of love, courage and empowerment.”

As an advocate for equality, Nguyen encourages and celebrates AANHPI representation.

“Real estate is the gateway to freedom,” he says. “Real estate professionals are the gatekeepers to a land of possibility. Asian Americans are one of the fastest growing populations in the United States.”

“I’ve realized that there are many spaces in our Greater Philadelphia region and on a state and national level where there is simply no Asian American representation in attendance or in positions of power. There needs to be an institutional and systemic change in order to begin building power that will benefit all of us. As a gay Asian American man, I am at the intersectionality of various communities, and I see myself as a bridge to connect my various communities to one another.”

“The real estate industry is most prominent and effective when we have representation from individuals of all backgrounds. We are stronger when we have democratic representation and a workforce that represents the demographics of America.”

Nguyen encourages everyone to look at AREAA’s annual State of Asia America report to learn more about AANHPI housing, demographics, education, income and policy.

To other Realtors®, Nguyen advises, “Stay true to yourself and be authentic. Know your value and self-worth. Stand in your position of power. Ignore the haters and continue to work hard and hustle. Seek guidance and ‘Minhtorship’ from individuals you respect and want to grow with.”

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