Real Pride Network (RPN) is welcoming new members. The new non-profit organization’s goal is to bring LGBTQ2+ real estate professionals together, and to give like-minded consumers a place to find those whose core values are inclusivity, democracy, transparency and accountability.
RPN, formalized in March, was incorporated in Washington State but Canada will play a central role, says vice-president Robert Peterson of Engel & Völkers Vancouver Island – Oak Bay in Victoria.
The other two Canadians on the interim board are Sue Scott of Engel & Völkers Vancouver in West Vancouver and Chip Barkel of eXp Realty in Toronto.
What sets RPN apart is that it is structured less like a trade association and more like a professional membership such as the Canadian Bar Association, which offers professional development and membership benefits as well as a “find-a-lawyer” directory.
RPN’s goal is to foster strong professional relationships, to facilitate (no fee) referrals and to provide mentorship opportunities. He says it’s important to be able to call someone you trust who is not in your local market.
Each member (real estate professionals and those offering real estate related services) can post a bio, complete with a photo and contact information. There’s also an option to add preferred personal pronouns.
This directory lets consumers find like-minded professionals. The organization is promoting itself through social media, with assistance on the tech side from an SEO specialist.
RPN offers professional development and events (virtual for now but in person when the pandemic allows). Along with serious topics, there are fun activities, such as Thirsty Thursdays and a recent Zoom Halloween costume party with a New York City drag queen.
RPN is based on honesty and transparency, Peterson says. On the back end, members can view financial statements, bylaws and minutes.
The organization provides an opportunity for members to get to know each other, develop best practices, learn how to grow their businesses and stay current on relevant issues.
It also gives back to the community, focusing on two groups: homeless LGBTQ2+ youth, who are vastly represented in the numbers of youth without a home, and LGBTQ2+ seniors.
Paterson says, “We’re blessed in our lives, do well and give back.”
RPN started as a Facebook group and is now working to convert the group’s 1,700 members to the formal organization.
When the opportunity presented itself to create a truly member-driven democratic membership organization dedicated to the LGBTQ2+ community, the trio of Scott, Barkel and Peterson couldn’t let it pass them by.
RPN provides good opportunities for little cost, so as the website says, the organization urges people to join and “be part of something big and growing.”
“It’s a value proposition,” Peterson says. Membership is $100 US. Members will have a chance to vote for the new board. Bylaws require an election from all members by spring, he says.
For more information or to join online, visit www.realpride.network. Or if you would like to speak to Robert Peterson, he’s available to answer questions. Call him at 1-250-896-3463.