I was honored to be invited to last week’s CEO Summit in New York. Those in attendance were tasked with discussing “The Future Of Real Estate.” It seemed like the perfect topic for a gathering of some of the brightest and most truly influential people in the real estate industry. Frankly, I felt a bit a bit out of place.
My day was pleasurably spent sandwiched between Rick Davidson, CEO of Century 21, and Richard Silver, Past-President of the Toronto Real Estate Board. Rick had the responsibility of teeing up the discussion about the changing face of real estate. He delivered a staggering list of demographic statistics.
“Majority of household formation in the US is being driven by Hispanic and Asian populations,” Nikesh Parekh, CEO of ActiveRain related in his recap. “The real estate industry does not reflect these demographic changes as Hispanics and Asians are a small percentage of the industry today, though growing.” Further statistics were given that indicated a tremendous shift toward a younger home buying demographic as well. It was an eye-opening wave of data that indicated the real estate industry needed an extreme makeover.
Nowhere was that more evident than in the room where this discussion was taking place. Diversity at the CEO Summit could easily be defined as different sized, old white men. I mean no disrespect. I’m one of those old white men. I just always find the discussion of diversity in an environment like that an interesting one. I think it’s difficult for a group dominated by white males to have a meaningful discussion about how to impact real change relative to diversity.
And while, as Nikesh indicated, each of the major real estate companies might be pursuing new recruiting strategies to diversify the agent base, this discussion highlighted the one missing element that would have made this CEO Summit even better than it was – action items.
And diversity was just one of the major topic areas that left me feeling this way. I’m sure I’m not the only one.
Don’t get me wrong, I told Brad Inman that the CEO Summit was a home run. I meant it. From my perspective, it was the best thing I’ve ever seen from an Inman conference. So, I consider the day a tremendous success, even without action items.
Maybe the goal of a summit like this is to leave you wanting more, to leave you asking, now what? Or what’s next? How much can you reasonably ask for from a conference anyway? Perhaps the goal of a summit like this is simply to inspire us to take action on our own. I don’t know.
What I do know is this, if I’m offered a seat at the next CEO Summit, I’ll gladly accept it, even if I my presence throws the demographic mix off. And Brad, if you’re reading this, congratulations. You’ve inspired me.