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To promote Black homeownership, amplify Black Realtors

Cultivating efforts that improve Black homeownership rates, broker-owner Jemila Winsey writes, requires Black real estate professionals to take on leadership positions

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Houston has several nicknames, including Space City, because it is home to NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. Bayou City refers to the 10 winding waterways that flow through the city. And H-Town, well, that’s pretty self-explanatory.

As for me, I call Houston home. After immigrating from my country in Nigeria to go to college, I have made my life here with my husband and two children. I have also made my career here. I discovered real estate while working for a global consulting firm and spent 16 years there. I took a leap of faith and pursued real estate full-time.

With a median home sold price of $322,400, Houston is one of the country’s most affordable places to buy a house.

Considered one of the fastest-growing big cities in the country, Houston is luring more residents from around the globe, drawn to its mix of cultural amenities, world-class restaurants, diverse communities and low cost of living. Houston is a hub for several industries, including energy, healthcare, technology, aerospace, transportation and logistics.

Based on the success of that local effort, I began lobbying for a national ranking for Black real estate brokers and agents sponsored by the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, the real estate trade organization for Black real estate professionals. I got appointed to lead a task force to make it happen.

Success and recognition for Black Realtors

The NAREB Top 100 was celebrated in Houston last summer, bringing incredible visibility to NAREB and its members. For many of the Top 100, this was their first-ever professional award.

Public recognition of Black Realtors’ achievements has given other Black Realtors inspiration to be mega-successful, expand into luxury, launch large production social media and video campaigns, live out loud, and come out from behind the curtain and take center stage.

When we have role models to look up to and mentor us, we can see a path we may not have seen or considered before and feel supported in stepping out of our comfort zone. I like to say, “If you can see it, you can be it!”

So, having representation and recognition is essential, but having equal access to opportunity is also critical. Under the glittering chandeliers, we are invited to sit at the grand table. But what’s a seat worth if we’re left reaching for a plate that isn’t there? The feast of opportunity passes, and we’re told to be grateful for the view.

The real opportunity as it relates to inclusion is that, at our table, everyone gets a plate, and nobody leaves hungry. That’s why I take my leadership roles so seriously. I am intentionally cultivating efforts that will move the needle for Black homeownership.

Jemila Winsey is broker and co-owner, with her husband, Patrick, of ERA Legacy Living in Houston, Texas.

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