Atlanta REALTORS Association’s first African American female president promotes diversity and inclusion in 2022
Karen Hatcher is the first African American brokerage owner in its 112-year history.
Earlier this month, the Atlanta REALTORS Association (ARA) appointed Karen Hatcher as their 97th president, making her the first African American female to lead this prestigious institution.
Hatcher, who joined the ARA in 2007, is the founder, CEO and head broker for Sovereign Realty & Management. She plans to improve the diversity and inclusion of the real estate industry in the Atlanta metro area in her new position.
Hatcher said, “we now must continue to move further across the spectrum from diversity to inclusion. Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance. So let’s dance.”
Calling themselves “the voice for local real estate agents,” the ARA and its members serve 11 counties within the Atlanta area. With a 21 percent increase in membership this year alone, Hatcher will now be the voice of over 14,000 agents, brokers and lenders who do business all over the state of Georgia.
Hatcher added, “to be able to lead such a large organization and be able to represent the real estate community in Atlanta and be the face of our association in 2022; I am just really humbled and honored.”
When it was brought to the attention of past president Cynthia Lippert from one of the members that the ARA has been counterproductive in including people of color and other minorities like the LGBTQ+ community in the organization, Hatcher helped her draft a letter that was published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle apologizing to their members for the organization’s past actions and discriminatory practices that prevented Black realtors and clients from selling and purchasing residential and commercial property.
Hatcher told SaportaReport that in one of Lippert’s first speeches to the ARA, she wanted to lead the organization with love and fill the diversity component. “Now we have to take it a step further that we do have diversity in our leadership and the most diverse board of directors ever in one of the largest [realtors] associations in the country.”
Hatcher wants to continue the momentum Lippert started in improving the ARA’s culture by reaching out to all agents, including people of color and owners of boutique firms.
“They have a voice,” said Hatcher. “We want to hear your voice; you also matter and your real estate issues matter to [us] as well.”
In addition to changing the climate of the ARA, Hatcher is also focusing on making affordable and equitable housing more available. A new committee within the ARA has been formed to address this vital need in Atlanta, and Hatcher is looking forward to implementing new programs that will help counter this long-term issue.
She mentioned that “our first-ever affordable and equitable housing committee will be part of our culture, which means we’re speaking to a huge group of members that service those consumers that we were never speaking to before.”
Hatcher plans to create a housing fair as a first step to improving this.
She mentioned that “we want to get people qualified [to own a home] if they need credit assistance. We will also have reputable, vetted vendors there as well to make sure that any partners that are in this industry, that are in the space of affordable and equitable housing are putting forth vendors that get it done.”
To learn more about what the ARA is doing and membership opportunities log onto their website.