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Happy Black History Month! Three Keller Williams Agents Share Their Vision for the Future of Real Estate

February 1 marks the beginning of Black History Month: a time to promote, recognize, and celebrate the achievements of Black Americans and those of African descent. The Outfront team is thankful for the opportunity to highlight and elevate agents spanning a multitude of backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. This month, we proudly celebrate our Black associates and their remarkable contributions within the real estate industry and beyond. Meet Kashmir Parker, Charles Holloway, and Lasha Raddatz. And, join in on the celebration by leveraging the Black History Month graphics available now in Designs

Three Agents Share Their Journey

Kashmir Parker, KW St. Petersburg

Kashmir Parker

For Kashmir Parker, a top luxury agent in St. Petersburg, Florida, business is booming. “It’s just been unbelievable growth and excitement,” she shares. “Blessings left and right, I’m just so thankful.” When she started in the industry as a high school senior, she never would have imagined that St. Petersburg would be one of the top most attractive cities to live in. Though originally from New Jersey, she says “St. Petersburg raised me. I love my city, which prompted me to want to give back. When I became an agent and got my license, at one point, I was one of the only minority agents out of three hundred in my office. I am blessed to be in a space like this, to be the North Florida Social Equity Ambassador, to be a part of the Luxury Sports & Entertainment division, and to have an office in the luxury suite in beautiful downtown St. Petersburg. These were all dreams that I am now seeing being accomplished.”

Outfront: What is your vision for the future of the real estate industry? How are you implementing that vision within your own business?

KP: My vision is to have the industry look as diverse as our country is. Historically, different people may have trust issues, and I don’t want anybody to miss out on an opportunity, especially understanding that the first start of accumulation of wealth is typically through real estate. I would hate for someone to miss out on an opportunity because they are just not aware of what their options are, so I think having agents that come from diverse backgrounds would allow people the opportunity to feel comfortable, and would give more people the opportunity to build wealth.

I want to help my community as much as possible because the wealth gap is just staggering. So, I went into my community with a focus on education: Teaching first-time homebuyer classes and offering resources for free. I was blessed to become a trusted source for both clients and other agents.

Outfront: How have your identity and unique experiences shaped the way you approach your business?

KP: When I initially signed up with Keller Williams back in 2019, I was one of the only minority agents in my office. I couldn’t understand why, but I wanted to see other people that looked like me. Through research, I found that statistically, there was a lack of minority representation in the real estate world, so I dug really deep into understanding why that was. I found out, amongst other things, that the average salary for an African American agent was only about $25k a year. $25k a year! That baffled me, when there are others in the industry that are making triple that and more, just off of one commission check. I knew there was a major disconnect and set out to find what that was. I know that you “can’t be what you don’t see.” I then made it my mission to pull together other African American agents across multiple brokerages in my area and create a safe space to find out what is happening within our community and how we could come together to support each other and share resources to become successful. I called it the “Empowerment Committee.” Once COVID started, more agents began to reach out to me for help and mentorship, which turned into something I could have never imagined.

This initiative became what is now a 12-week program called, “The Sparkle Guide to Creating a Life by Design.” It was created out of a need for members of systematically marginalized communities to have resources and education that we can relate to and use to build our businesses and ultimately our legacies. We’ve now completed two classes successfully. One of my proudest moments is one of my mentees, Zoey Dickerson. She has four children and was a real estate agent for three years before she joined the program. In those three years, she had only sold three homes. Within six months of her completing my program, she closed six deals and had five under contract. She is now a member of her office’s ALC and just capped for the first time ever! Watching people who at one time wanted to give up but are now thriving – that is everything to me.

Outfront: What message would you like to share with our Outfront audience?

KP: With God, anything is possible. That’s first and foremost to me. If you were given a vision, as scary as it may be, you have to go for it. When I was able to create the mentorship program, I did not know what it was going to look like and did not wait for anybody to help. I just created it. I understand that my ancestors sacrificed something for me to be here. And now, I’m able to create something that I pray, down the line, will affect other people. My legacy. Fall in love with your personal development and your process. No matter what that outcome looks like, it’s going to be wonderful. 

Charles Holloway, Keller Williams Elite, Peninsula

Charles Holloway

For Charles Holloway, the gates of real estate flung open during a moment of frustration. After getting passed over for a promotion at his former telecommunications job, and inspired by Robert Kiyosaki’s “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” book, which spoke about not relying on one sole income source, Holloway plunged into real estate on a part-time basis. One afternoon, he spearheaded a new construction deal with a client, bringing in $12K in revenue. “I’ve never looked back,” he recalls. “They always say you never forget the day you were born, or the day you die. Well, I’ll never forget the day my real estate career was birthed: July 9, 2013.” 

Today, Holloway leads Holloway Experience Real Estate in Virginia: a 10-person operation bringing in over $46M in volume for 2021. For the team, 2021 also marked the first time gross commissions surpassed $1M. “We were just doing the work, so we didn’t even realize when we hit the mark,” Holloway says. Beyond the numbers, the team spent the year being purposeful in their community outreach. Between client appreciation events such as their Holloway Holiday and Family Renunion, and raising funds for breast cancer research and organizations catering to battered women, the team consistently acted within their core values: Love, Serve, Care. “We were really intentional in what we wanted to do in regard to our presence in our community.” 

Outfront: What is your vision for the future of the real estate industry? How are you implementing that vision within your own business?

CH: My desire is that real estate will be a career path that is chosen. Oftentimes, people stumble into real estate. But I want to bring dignity and honor to the real estate industry, because we are essential. People are always going to need a place to lay their head. The real estate industry allows you to be creative, interact socially, give and build something greater than you could have imagined. Those are things that our younger generation aspires to. 

Every summer, our business hires interns for on-the-job clerical work and to give them the boom of being a real estate professional. We teach them how to be entrepreneurs, build their business, and watch it grow. Last year, our college intern was able to develop a passion for marketing and could also allow her to build a business – something that was completely off her radar. Now, she is with us full time. We’ve created a pilot program called Experience University, and it allows us to talk about real estate and being an entrepreneur. As parents, we don’t teach our children about the entrepreneurial spirit as much as we should, and that’s the thing that I really want to change, because it is the fiber of our nation. It is something that I am really passionate about. 

Outfront: How have your identity and unique experiences shaped the way you approach your business?

CH:  First and foremost, my parents were givers, and this platform allows me to give on a larger scale. Additionally, I remember the way I was treated previously, which wasn’t necessarily based on my merit or my performance. In real estate, you are rewarded for the work that you put in, because you will see the end results and the numbers that you put out. Because I have this platform and I am able to employ others, I can act on the vision of having a world so big that others are able to see their world grow inside of that.

Lastly, the name of our organization is the Holloway Experience. Holloway is the namesake, but the experience is more than a real estate transaction. It is about feeling good and providing an experience that is unparalleled to anything in the marketplace. We focus on the holistic person. Real estate is the work, but the purpose of the work is what we’re attached to. And that’s being in relationship with my employees, with my business partners, and with my community. 

Outfront: What message would you like to share with our Outfront audience?

CH: Lift as you climb. Success is meant to be shared, and no one achieves it on their own. Create spaces for other people to grow, and in return, your vision will grow even bigger. And lastly, enjoy the process as much as you enjoy getting to the destination, because the joy is in between the start and the finish. This is what will make our profession better. In the real estate industry, we are identified as one, but we don’t always function as one. I may be with this company, and you may be with another. What can I do to help you? What can you do to help me? Let’s lift as we climb and make the real estate profession better than we inherited it. 

Lasha Raddatz, Minneapolis Lakes

Lasha Raddatz

For Lasha Raddatz, real estate has been a wild ride. During her first run-in with the industry at the raw age of 19 (commercial real estate, acting as a receptionist), Raddatz was smitten. “These people’s boats were bigger than my house. I was like, what is happening and how do I become a part of it?” Deciding to pursue her residential license was a no-brainer, and unsurprisingly, Raddatz’ business took off … until the ’08 crash. “I lost everything. I had to go back to corporate America. So I did, and sold real estate part time. It took me being fired from my last corporate opportunity to find my way back into the industry, and that was five years ago.” 

Today, Raddatz runs a seven-person Minneapolis-based team alongside Tre Adams and kwx’s very own Julia Lashay Israel. ”Last year, we knocked it out of the park, being able to help 204 families, and $66M in volume. “It’s just been an incredible year. The best year across all of our business and our team.” 

Outfront: What is your vision for the future of the real estate industry? How are you implementing that vision within your own business?

LR: Minnesota has the largest disparities in homeownership rates in the country. Our team has been working towards closing the gap for Black families in the Twin Cities. Our word of the year is “IMPACT.” We want to “impact” as many lives as possible by helping them become homeowners. That has been challenging since many of our clients are using FHA loans. In fact, last year almost 60% of Black applicants used an FHA loan, compared to 30% of white applicants. When you’re competing for a house, many agents are encouraging their clients not to accept an FHA offer, and that has been disheartening. We also struggle with having sellers discriminate based on our clients’ names on the first page of the purchase agreement, or the fact that they are using down payment assistance. Neither of these things should matter. My vision for the future would be for everyone to have the opportunity to be given a fair shot at buying a house, regardless of their name or financing type.

I also feel like the real estate industry, where we’re at right now with the market, we will have to use our skills and work a little harder for each offer. Right now, I’m finding myself looking for other opportunities and ways to stay in the industry, but work a little less hard. We’re trying to attach ourselves to more developers. And then we also focus on expansion a lot. Our future goal over the next five years is expanding the signature group to other markets like Atlanta, Dallas, and Austin. 

Outfront: How have your identity and unique experiences shaped the way you approach your business?

LR: I have a natural connection with women – that’s been my niche. It’s very rare that I’ll have a man outside of a married couple as a client. I think that just being a woman, being a Black woman with natural hair, I think I attract my tribe of people that look like me. People like to buy from who they like and who they identify with. So, I will post on my social media: my children, my trips, my favorite restaurants, favorite bands. I just think that we as Realtors are selling a lifestyle now, not just a home. So, I try to share a little piece of my identity and my personal life with the general public, and I think it’s been very helpful for my business.  

Outfront: What message would you like to share with our Outfront audience?

LR: It’s tough right now with our market, and agents that have to write 15,16,17 offers in this seller’s market probably get frustrated. My biggest message is – I returned to this industry five years ago, often with negative numbers in my checking account. It was tough. And now, we ended the year as the number one team in our market center. So, truly, it’s about never giving up, really fighting for what you believe in, and finding a village and tribe that encourages you and inspires you. Anything can happen.

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