How Passion & Pride Can Bring Professional Success

One Coldwell Banker agent became an LGBTQ+ ally and discovered a powerful community

This is a contributed post by Coldwell Banker West Shell agent Lisa Phair

One of the best parts about choosing a career in real estate is the opportunity to use the work I do every day to affect real and lasting change in my community. As a top agent in Cincinnati, my business goals are tied to my community goals. I always felt strongly about fair housing and equal rights, so when my family life became deeply connected to the LQBTQ+ community, I made my passion part of my business.

I started working with local organizations supporting the LGBTQ+ community. And while I’ve never been a “secret agent,” I certainly wasn’t out speaking specifically about real estate. Even still, I began to see that the more involved I got, the more connections I made. Those people knew I worked in real estate and that turned into business. I expected that by becoming an ally, I might find more clients who are members of the LGBTQ+ community. What I didn’t expect was the number of other allies who seek out my services — mothers, fathers, siblings, children, and friends come to me because they know we have shared values.

When I finally learned about the National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals (NAGLREP), I knew it was a perfect way to officially unite my passions and my business. My brokerage is Coldwell Banker West Shell and Coldwell Banker Real Estate is a corporate sponsor of NAGLREP so I was able to join at a reduced membership rate.

Despite their name, NAGLREP is an organization for anyone in the real estate industry who supports housing equality and wants to help the LGBTQ+ community. I helped grow my NAGELREP chapter in Cincinnati because I saw how backing from a professional organization can bring critical resources to underserved areas, and get the ball rolling when it comes to making a change. With almost 2,500 members and 37 chapters, NAGLREP members are LGBTQ+ Realtors and Allies, mortgage professionals, title representatives, and insurance agents.

I built my thriving business by focusing on my passion. Building a network through the things you care about will bring a new level of satisfaction and fulfillment to your work. If you’re passionate about a cause, joining a professional organization focused on that cause is a great place to start. And don’t be surprised if your real estate business grows, too. Here’s what I want all agents to know:

It’s easier than you think

Standing up as an ally is easy and it can go a long way to starting a conversation. Add a frame to your social profile picture. Share a post supporting the LGBTQ+ community. List your pronouns at the end of your email signature. You can quickly sign up to become a member of NAGLREP. Even if there isn’t a chapter in your area, you can still network on the site and participate in the national discussion.

Business works under the laws of attraction

When you’re passionate about something, people take notice. They’re drawn to the positive energy you create. If you find yourself face to face with people doing what you love, you’ve got a golden networking opportunity! You’ll find likeminded people who support your cause, which translates to support for your business. With the right referrals, you don’t need advertisements. People will find YOU. Use your voice and talk at community events. Networking is a gift that keeps on giving.

Treat your small business like a corporation

Diversity and inclusion are priorities for Fortune 500 companies, and they should be for your business, too. The opportunities to grow your team are enormous when you attract talented individuals who aim to work in inclusive environments. Investing in inclusion is an investment in your business and community.

I’m a firm believer that what you put out into the world will come back to you. Serving my community and supporting my passions put my name on the radar. After seeing what I was doing for others, they saw what I could do for their real estate needs.

To find out more about how Coldwell Banker can be the place that supports you and your business, visit our Careers page.

Senior Manager, Public Relations & Giving for Coldwell Banker. Grew up in Sarasota and attended college at Western Carolina University. Athena wanted to wake up in that city that doesn’t sleep so headed to Madison Avenue to start her marketing career. She has been with this awesome brand for more than 15 years and can be found generating buzz about CB in every way possible. Athena helps to grow the brand’s position as the most storied real estate company within the industry and has led many high-profile endeavors; she was at the forefront of the brand’s pioneering smart home campaign, raised $6 million in two years to build 130 Habitat for Humanity homes, and led the Homes for Dogs program in partnership with that resulted in tens-of-thousands of dogs finding their furever home. She currently leads the CB Supports St. Jude program, which encourages the Coldwell Banker network’s 96,000+ real estate agents to make donations to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital for every real estate transaction they represent. In her spare time, you can find her either digging up a new area in her yard for another flower bed or planning her next travel adventure. She's the proud mom of three cats Jolene, Ziggy and Lucy.

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