Tracy Kasper emerges as president of fractured NAR amid mild dissent

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Two hours after former National Association of Realtors President Kenny Parcell resigned amid a firestorm of sexual harassment allegations outlined in The New York Times, NAR announced the crowning of a new leader — 2023 President-Elect Tracy Kasper.

Kasper’s term was scheduled to begin in November during NAR’s NXT conference in Boston, but Parcell’s swift exit forced NAR leadership to vault Kasper into the president’s chair nearly three months early. “We look forward to the value of the experience and capabilities that Tracy will bring to her role as President,” a NAR spokesperson said on Monday.

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Tracy Kasper

The new president released a statement acknowledging the “concern, anger and disappointment” of NAR members who’ve lost trust in the organization, as it faces widespread discrimination and sexual misconduct allegations alongside several landmark antitrust cases aimed at upending Clear Cooperation and buyer-broker commission policies.

“We recognize there is lots of concern, anger and disappointment, and we want to acknowledge the people who have come forward and shared their stories and those of you who have shared your perspective over the past few days,” she said on Monday. “We have taken everything we have heard to heart. Our commitment to our staff and our members is unwavering, and we will continue to enhance the way we foster a welcoming, safe and respectful workplace.”

Kasper promised to begin the work of overturning NAR’s culture and creating an environment where employees and members can freely report allegations of sexual misconduct, discrimination, or other issues. The newly-minted president also announced the formation of The Culture Presidential Advisory to foster a healthier relationship between staff and members.

“As your president, I take the responsibility of rebuilding very seriously. Know I’m here for you, as is the entire leadership team, and we will get through this together,” she said.

The promise of a new president

News of Kasper’s early appointment brought cautious optimism among several Inman readers, who said they trusted Kasper to follow through on her promises and hoped fellow NAR members would give her a fair shot at upending decades of structural issues.

“I hope that NAR members can support Tracy Kasper in her efforts in bringing the change that has been needed at the association,” Chicago-based BHHS broker Andrea Geller said on Inman’s Coast to Coast Facebook page.

“Glad to hear that a new president will assume the helm,” added Florida-based agent Karen Coney Coplin. “All of us are replaceable and someone with this many dings against them shouldn’t be representing our organization. Even if you believe the dings are inaccurate (unlikely with sworn testimony), find someone with no dings. It’s not that hard to do.”

At first glance, Kasper seems to be someone with “no dings” — The Boise-based broker has 30 years of real estate experience, with half of that spent as the broker-owner of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Silverhawk Realty.

Kasper’s campaign page shows a lengthy history with the Nampa & Caldwell Association of Realtors (NCAR), the Idaho Association of Realtors (IAR), and NAR stretching back to 1998 — when she stepped into her first Association leadership role as NCAR’s treasurer.

From 1998 to 2018, Kasper held 29 leadership positions with NCAR and IAR, such as state director, affiliate director, Realtor Political Action Committee chair, convention committee chair, public policy trustees member, west district vice president and legislative committee member. Kasper was NCAR’s local president in 2001, and IAR’s state president and Realtor of the Year in 2016.

Kasper’s leadership history with NAR is just as extensive, with 27 appointments from 2013 to 2023. Her work includes roles in the RPAC Implementation Group, the Future of the REALTOR Party Presidential Advisory Group (PAG), and the RPAC State Fundraising Partnership Goal PAG.

Her campaign received a litany of personal, state and institutional endorsements, including backing from Alaska Realtors, Florida Realtors, Idaho Realtors, Kentucky Realtors, Montana Realtors, Oregon Realtors, South Dakota Realtors, Virginia Realtors, Washington Realtors, the D.C. Association and Realtors and numerous state caucuses.

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Andrea Geller

“Tracy has obviously proven herself, which is why she’s gotten to be where she is,” Geller said in a phone conversation with Inman. “She’s an amazing leader with a stellar reputation in the industry, not only within the Realtor Association but within the brokerage.”

Geller said she met Kasper after transferring to BHHS in 2020 and was impressed by an in-person conversation she had with Kasper about housing equality, brokerage leadership and Association issues during an industry conference. The two women continued to stay in touch, and Geller made a personal endorsement during Kasper’s 2023 run.

“I support Tracy. We need to support Tracy,” she said. “Tracy is not going to be able to do anything if she doesn’t have the support of NAR’s membership. She has more than a year in her role, and I want to be the first one to step up and support her.”

Geller said she’s well aware of the distrust members have of anyone connected to NAR, including Kasper. However, she believes the new president is in a unique position to begin cleaning house, which for Geller, means pushing NAR CEO Goldberg to retire before his December 31 contract expiration, bringing in a whole new human relations and legal team, and properly investigating any other misconduct allegations that may arise.

“I think that all of these people who are criticizing her statements, don’t understand what she can and cannot say legally,” she said. “This is a huge explosion regarding sexual harassment in the workplace, but there are other big explosions to come. She needs our support to make those vital decisions on behalf of the members.”

“I will continue to support her until she gives me a reason not to,” she added.

Can you trust an insider?

While Geller is willing to let Kasper keep earning her trust, several other people Inman spoke with said they’re unsure about Kasper’s ability to shake the status quo.

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Karen Schlosser

“I don’t know much about her, outside of what I’ve read [on Inman],” Cincinnati-based Realtor Karen Schlosser said of Kasper. “I’m still a Realtor, but I don’t participate at the NAR level anymore. The reason I don’t even participate at our state level is because of the many people that I see and the leadership  — they don’t adequately represent who we are and who we are supposed to be.”

“I don’t know what happened. I wasn’t there. All I know is what I’ve read, which is disturbing,” she added. “I’m not surprised because of all of my years in life. I’ve been in real estate since 1977. So, I do have serious doubts that anybody in the current leadership would have the ability to make changes when they were present during whatever allegedly happened.”

As a former president of the Realtor Alliance of Greater Cincinnati, Schlosser said she had first-hand knowledge of what it takes to enter and rise through the ranks of local, state and national leadership. To succeed, Schlosser said people have to be “fully integrated into the system” and learn to overlook misconduct and discrimination to curry favor with higher-ups.

“I’ve seen the behavior at the state level and the national level and I have to presume that she’s part of the system,” she said. ‘To become a president, you have to work the system. I think back to a time when I questioned a fellow Cincinnati Realtor about supporting a person who was running for NAR director and made racially discriminatory remarks to our caucus.”

“I said, ‘How can we support her?’ And I was told, ‘You understand the system, Karen. If we don’t support their candidate, they won’t support ours,’” she added. “I was the only one that voted no.”

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Chavi Holm

Like Schlosser, Team Diva Real Estate Partners Principal Chavi Holm said she simply can’t trust NAR and its current leadership, including Kasper, although she’s heard great things about the newly minted president.

“I have friends who really like her and say she’s a great person. They even endorsed her during her campaign,” Holm said. “But Inman came out with that article [about Janelle Brevard] back in June. I would challenge Tracy on why she didn’t say ‘Hey, I think we have an issue here.’ I mean, as a woman, like I think it is sometimes our duty to believe women when they are bold enough to come up and say something.”

Holm said Kasper’s inability to make a strong public statement in support of Brevard leads her to believe that Kasper — no matter how intelligent, kind, or well-intentioned she is — won’t be able to break the ties of loyalty and make the decisive decisions Geller and others believe are needed to turn NAR around.

“There are good people in leadership. There are people trying their best,” she said. “But if we can’t do the simple work of making sure that men don’t text photos of themselves to women, there’s no way we’re going to actually be able to be our best selves when it comes to following Fair Housing guidelines and other regulations, rules, and laws, etc.”

To earn her trust, Holm said Kasper needs to prove she’s taking on the difficult intellectual and practical work of making NAR an organization that truly stands for justice and equality for its employees, members and millions of American homeowners.

“I haven’t necessarily seen her say, ‘Hey, you know what I did? I read all these books about what it means to be an anti-racist,’ or show she’s taken on that work needed to make a difference,” she said. “I’m not saying she doesn’t have the intellectual skills or the emotional skills to lead this organization, but it’s blatant — she’s in a paid position.”

“She’s gonna do this for probably a year and a half and she’s probably not going to hold accountable the people that kind of allow this structure to exist in the first place,” she added. “It wasn’t just with Kenny. It’s also with other organizations within the Realtor, let’s say Realtor complex, that also has deep systemic issues.”

If not Kasper, then who?

Geller and Holm confirmed the growing frustration among their colleagues with NAR leadership, which has reportedly led to a scattering of conversations in private real estate Facebook groups and chats about who could replace Kasper. Geller said she’s seen some of those chats; however, there doesn’t seem to be a frontrunner with enough backing to knock Kasper out of her spot.

“I’ve heard that. I’ve seen some of the different chats, some of the different polls and discussions in Facebook groups [about replacing Kasper],” Geller said. “But it’s just like in the government, you put that face out there as president-elect. She did her job and fulfilled her role when she was under [Parcell]. Now her job is to pick up this association, turn it around, and put trust back in it.”

Holm couldn’t recall the names she’s seen as potential replacements; however, she said she’d like to see longtime coach, trainer and business consultant Ginni Field, Windermere Abode broker-owner Anne Jones or NAR Western Region President Dale Chumbley have their opportunity to lead NAR.

“I don’t think [Ginny’s] name has been brought up, but she’s someone who can bridge the gap between like the old guard and the new guard and can probably have some pretty tough conversations with people,” she said. “And then I would say Dale Chumbley is a really good person. Even though he’s another white guy, he’s still someone who I would trust to have an empathetic voice and what’s best for NAR.”

“If they were going to bring someone from the outside who’s really going do the work and is not currently in the leadership — which is at the heart of current concerns — I’d choose Anne Jones,” she added.

A search through Inman’s social media profiles revealed another choice, North Carolina Realtor and former NAR Vice President of Advocacy Leigh Brown, who was quoted in the NYT exposé. “Leigh Brown for NAR President,” Ohio-based agent Lisa Blomgren said late Tuesday evening.

While Realtors hash out their opposing feelings about Kasper, there is a resounding consensus to dismantle NAR altogether and create a new organization without decades of baggage — or at least remove NAR membership as a requirement to gain MLS access.

“It seems many have lost faith in NAR a long time ago,” North Carolina-based BHHS agent Lisa Aguilar said in Inman’s comments section.”We want the choice on whether to join NAR or not — we don’t want to be forced to join NAR and our local boards to gain MLS access. They should be separate. What is the next step?”

“NAR is an organization that lost touch with its reason for being a very long time ago,” added noted Nashville broker Phillip Cantrell. “Instead of truly serving the membership in meaningful ways, it chose a path of self-aggrandizement and mini-fiefdoms. The fact that I need to belong to 7 separate local associations so that my agents can have access to the MLS is proof that this system is broken — from the top to the bottom.”

Geller and Holm said it would be impossible to get rid of NAR and would likely be nearly as impossible to untie MLS access from NAR membership, as the Association has had 115 years to create an airtight system that keeps it in power.

“Let’s be realistic, right?” Holm said. “The organization’s built to protect itself so it’s not going to burn down anytime soon. It’s one of the leading arms of dislike [political action committee] money within our country’s political structure. I mean, there’s a reason we don’t have affordable housing.”

Geller said the best course of action is to force Goldberg to retire before his contract expires on December 31 and hire an interim CEO.

NAR began the process of finding a CEO after Goldberg’s mid-summer retirement announcement. NAR said in June it would not publicly reveal the search committee members, despite members requesting a more transparent selection process. Inman reached out to NAR on Tuesday and asked if it would now reconsider releasing search committee member names. They did not reply in time for publication.

“I would ask for Goldberg to step down early as well,” she said. “What happened is not a new issue. It’s just they got caught. The lawsuit brought out a situation that has been ongoing for many years, which means that the department — from HR to the legal department to the C-suite, has been complicit.”

“The #MeToo movement came out and the entertainment industry and private corporations and public corporations and many other industries had their reckoning,” she added. “I don’t know why NAR thought they would be able to continue to sweep this under the carpet — there is not a big enough rug to sweep this under.”

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