The First Black ‘Bachelor’ and What the Real Estate Industry Can Learn

The show is making history. Finally. Multifamily should follow.
Jessica Fiur, Managing Editor
Jessica Fiur, Managing Editor

I’m sure you’ve already heard the very important news: ABC announced the new bachelor!

“Why should we care about a reality show?” you might correctly ask. In the middle of a global pandemic, economic turmoil, widespread protests and Pilot Pete’s train wreck of a season as the bachelor (seriously, he broke up with Madison only to take her back but then let his mom berate her on national TV?), who’s even paying attention to pop culture right now?

(Besides me, of course, who constantly writes about it as a metaphor for property management.)

Image credit: Fortune magazine

But this season is monumental. ABC announced that the next Bachelor will be Matt James. He’s to be the first black bachelor in the show’s 18-year history. (And he’s also a commercial real estate broker!) 

It’s the first, small, step towards inclusion on the show. 

Diversity is a crucial issue in the apartment industry as well, of course. So important that organizations such as NMHC have initiatives to help promote diversity in multifamily. We know that different voices are important. Our renters are not homogeneous, so our leadership can not be either. And we have certainly made some strides.

Yet, there is still a lot of work to be done. According to the Real Estate Associate Program (REAP), there is less than 1 percent minority (employees) at management levels—less than 1,000 people of color in an industry with over 125,000 professionals.”

So, how we as an industry grow? Here are some suggestions:

  • Start mentorship programs focusing on helping a wide range of talented employees get to work with top leadership. 
  • Expand your talent pool by looking to places you might not before. It seems in multifamily that while there might be diversity at the property level, it is less so as you go towards the corporate level. But an experienced property manager might be a great person to move up, and would have insights about multifamily that someone brought in as a leader might not have.
  • Join programs such as REAP. 

There is always more that can be done. After all, The Bachelor only changed after public outcry. This should be something that the apartment industry should be thinking about constantly, and of course we should always take any opportunity to do better. 

Please let us know of any other tips you have. Post your comments on our Facebook page or send a tweet to @MHNOnline or @jfiur

PS: Is anyone else psyched to see James as the bachelor?