Reflecting on their roles as leaders in Realtor® organizations, three Realtors® see this as an opportunity to highlight the industry’s diversity and encourage others to volunteer in their organizations. They shared their stories to mark Black History Month.
PAR’s President-elect Preston Moore has been a Realtor® for 20 years. It’s a second career for him, having retired from the finance industry.
“When you retire from finance, you usually have two choices: become a stockbroker or go into real estate,” Moore likes to joke. “I’ve always been fascinated with real estate since I was a young adult and this was an opportunity to explore that career.”
Moore was inspired by a landlord he had when he and his wife were first married. “We rented an apartment and the landlord came to the property every weekend to do some work around the property. He talked with the tenants and made an impression on me.”
Moore will be PAR’s first Black president next year. He was president of his local association, the Realtors® Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh, in 2015 and he served as a PAR district vice president for three years. This year, Moore was appointed the chair of NAR’s Multicultural Real Estate Leadership Advisory Committee.
“Serving as PAR’s first Black president will represent a turning point in our association and I’m pleased to serve as a role model for our diverse members and encouraging them to become more involved in the Realtor® organization,” Moore said. “I’m proud to represent our industry throughout the state. As Realtors®, we are key in helping people achieve the American dream of homeownership and generational wealth.”
Tiffanie Bailey-Romey is serving as the first Black president of the Pocono Mountains Association of Realtors® this year.
A Realtor® for 18 years, she was encouraged to run for a leadership position by people in her community, as well as the association’s executive, Nicole Murray. “So, I released the fears and anxieties that I had and decided to run for an association office,” she added.
“I want more of our members to be knowledgeable and excited about all other aspects of real estate and serve on committees and task forces,” she said. “When Realtors® are having conversations with their clients, they should be as educated as possible. The door to our association is open to everyone and you are welcome to be part of it. I didn’t feel like that when I first joined the association, but I want everyone to feel at home at the PMAR. We want to continue the narrative in a positive way.”
Bailey-Romey believes real estate helps provide generational wealth. “My grandfather, a Tuskegee Airman, was not allowed to purchase a home in Levittown, New York, after serving his country. Because he was Black, he could only purchase a home in South Jamaica Queens. And while that property over the past years has become worth $1.2 million, had he been allowed to purchase a home in Levittown, that property would be worth $3 million.”
“My grandfather was a New York city police officer, who had all of the qualifications needed to be able to buy a house, but because of the color of his skin, this was the level he was allowed to go,” she said. “For me, being a descendant of that man who accomplished so much, I want to help take people further. Understanding multicultural families, there’s so much catching up they have to do to even the playing field and I’m thankful my journey has given me the knowledge to share with others to help them achieve that generational wealth for their families.”
Greater Philadelphia Association of Realtors® President Roderick Walker is also serving as the vice chair of PAR’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee this year. The 21-year real estate veteran bought his first house 34 years ago.
Walker initially trained to be a Golden Glove boxer, but wanted to get an education to support his family.
“Growing up, my family didn’t own a home,” he said. “I worked with a broker to purchase my first house and I started buying a property every year. He suggested that I get my real estate license and that started my career.” He went on to get his broker license from Temple University.
Walker got involved in GPAR to learn more about the industry. “Every time I attended a meeting, I had more information to take back to my community,” he said. “I learned more about how to buy real estate, how to maintain that property and how to keep it. I wanted to be able to share that information with others.”
He feels strongly about being part of the process and constantly learning. “I want to be a wealth of knowledge for my clients and others,” he added.
Walker ran for president of GPAR and is the fourth Black Realtor® to serve as president in the association’s 115-year history, the first in the last 20 years. He sees this as an opportunity to give back to the community and help increase homeownership in his neighborhood.
“Real estate has provided me a life by design to allow me the freedom to provide for my family and to help my children go to college,” he added.