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HRC launches 2017 Corporate Equality Index in Mexico City

State-owned oil company attended launch event

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Mexico City, gay news, Washington Blade

Mexico City, gay news, Washington Blade

The Human Rights Campaign this week launched its 2017 Corporate Equality Index in Mexico City. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

The Human Rights Campaign on Tuesday launched its 2017 Corporate Equality Index in Mexico City.

The tool scores nearly 900 companies worldwide for LGBT workplace equality.

“Now more than ever, we need to find points of collaboration to protect our global community’s gains and continue to move forward,” said HRC Senior Vice President for Programs, Research and Training Mary Beth Maxwell in a statement.

The Mexico City event is the second international launch of the CEI following last year’s expansion of its scoring criteria, which now includes global LGBT-inclusive workplace policies.

“Increasingly global employers are leveraging their values of fairness and inclusion in more public platforms such as HRC’s Global Business Coalition,” said Deena Fidas, director of HRC’s Workplace Equality Program. “Most major private sector employers understand this, but need the partnership, resources and guidance to actually implement best-in-class policies and practices.”

The HRC’s Global Business Coalition is a consortium of major global businesses. Tripling in size since it’s 2015 launch, it now includes 36 companies that represent more than 3.5 million employees in over 200 countries around the world.

As well as representatives from the HRC Equidad MX: Global Workplace Equality Program, which promotes LGBT workplace inclusion throughout Mexico, the launch was attended by the U.S. Embassy in Mexico, J.P. Morgan Chase and PEMEX, the state-owned oil company.

“More than 35,000 employees have taken courses on inclusion and diversity that are a fundamental part of the assessment that all employees have to take to get promoted,” said Alejandro Dieck Assad, deputy director of human resources of PEMEX’s Corporate Management and Services Division.

U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Roberta Jacobson had this to say of recent events.

“We are proud that so many U.S. companies in Mexico have adopted more inclusive and equal workplace policies,” she said. “We applaud HRC’s efforts to promote these best practices in Mexico as well as the United States and look forward to continuing the collaboration between the Embassy and HRC.”

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Miscellaneous

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Bars & Parties

Beyonce vs. Rihanna dance party

Music provided by DJ Just Different at Union Stage

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R² Productions LLC and Union Stage are teaming up to host  R² Productions’ inaugural “MEGA Dance Party” on Thursday, Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. at Union Stage at The Wharf.

The event will be a night full of dancing to music by pop stars Beyonce and Rihanna. DJ Just Different will be performing at the event. 

General Admission tickets cost $25 and Premier Plus tickets cost $35. For more information about ticket purchases, visit Union Stage’s website.

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Miscellaneous

The evolution of the open house

The more sophisticated the advertising, the more the events flourished

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From car giveaways in the 1950s to today’s QR codes and virtual events, agents have used diverse strategies to draw buyers to open houses.

In the early 20th century, there were no exclusive agreements between a seller and a real estate agent. Any broker who knew of someone wanting to sell could participate in an “open listing” by planting his sign in the yard of that person and competing with agents from other brokerages who did the same. To the victor who obtained a buyer went the spoils of commission.

The rules began to change in 1919, when being a real estate broker now required a license. An agent might handle only one property at a time exclusively, but an “open for inspection” period could be used to introduce a model home or new community to the buying population. 

According to the National Association of Realtors, Dallas homebuilder, Howdy Howard, hosted one of the most successful open houses of all time in the 1950s. During the first 12 days of the event, an estimated 100,000 people attended, drawn by free sodas and the ultimate prize for the buyer – a new Cadillac.

Soon, brokers began hiring additional agents who could handle multiple properties. Unlike Howard’s marathon open house, agents would now host them for a few hours at a time, usually on a Sunday, to whet the appetite of the buyer pool. 

Classified advertisements with a description of a property would be placed in a local newspaper and potential buyers would review them with their morning coffee to decide which houses to visit later in the day. 

Marketing in newspapers went from a few lines of black and white text to a photo of a home’s exterior, to a multi-page spread that included both photos of houses and the agents who represented them.

The more sophisticated the advertising became, the more the open house flourished as a marketing tool, not only for the home itself, but also for the agent and the brokerage. It allowed agents to prospect for buyers for that home and others, and converse with neighbors who might want to sell their homes as well. 

Soon, the sign-in sheet was born, used by the agent to capture the contact information of a potential client or customer and to let the seller know who had visited his home. While sign-in sheets or cards are still used, some agents have gravitated to electronic applications, using a tablet computer instead of paper for the same purpose.

Fast forward to the early 2000s in D.C., when open houses became the primary source of showing property. An agent would enter a property into the multiple listing service (MLS) on a Thursday, entertain no showings until Saturday, host an open house on Sunday afternoon, and call for offers either Sunday night or Monday. The open house allowed agents to send their buyers rather than accompany them and serve multiple clients at once.  

The delayed showing day strategy referenced above has since been supplanted by the MLS’s Coming Soon status. Agents can now email or text links to upcoming properties to their clients in advance of showing availability and the clients can view photos, read property descriptions and disclosures, and schedule future visits accordingly.

Enter COVID-19. Due to the proliferation of the virus and the subsequent lockdown, the real estate world had to accommodate new public health requirements. 

One of the first things to go was the open house. Even agent showings were constrained, with visitors limited to an agent plus two people and additional requirements for wearing masks and disposable shoe covers and gloves. 

Overlapping appointments were not allowed, showings were limited to 15 to 30 minutes, and bottles of hand sanitizer sprung up on kitchen counters everywhere.

Ultimately, technology and ingenuity provided new marketing avenues for agents that included 3-D virtual open houses, Facetime and Duo viewings, videos, property websites and QR codes. Many of these marketing techniques remain, even though traditional open houses are coming back post-lockdown.

But are they really necessary? Certainly not for all types of properties. 

I believe the days of using a public open house to procure a buyer are limited. Agent security has become a concern and the desire for in-person viewings during a specific day or time has waned. 

On the other hand, Internet marketing and social media have a much wider reach, so much so that some people now feel comfortable buying a home – probably the most expensive item they will ever purchase – without even stepping into it until after closing.

After all, if we can work in sweatpants or pajamas while Zooming corporate meetings, how can naked virtual reality house hunting be far behind?

Valerie M. Blake is a licensed Associate Broker in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia with RLAH Real Estate. Call or text her at 202-246-8602, email her via DCHomeQuest.com, or follow her on Facebook at TheRealst8ofAffairs.

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