Atlanta Business Chronicle Names ARA’s First Black Woman President as a ‘Woman of Influence’

Karen Hatcher, CPM®, CEO of Sovereign Realty + Management, and the 2022 President of Atlanta REALTORS Association, has been recognized for her dedication and commitment to the real estate industry by being named “REALTOR of the Year” for 2022.

She is the first African-American female and African-American-owned company to be awarded this prestigious award since it was established over 60 years ago.

The ARA created the distinguished award in 1960 to recognize the REALTOR® who contributed most to the Association in that calendar year. This recognition is given to those who embody the spirit of the REALTOR®, engage in exemplary civic activity, and show impressive business accomplishments.

Karen Hatcher receives plaque as a "Woman of Influence"
(Image: Courtesy)

Hatcher was the first Black woman to lead the ARA and dedicated her tenure to ensuring that it embraced intentional inclusion with a campaign called “Let’s Dance.” Coined from the phrase, ‘Diversity is being invited to the party, Inclusion is being asked to dance.’ Hatcher focused the organization this year on advancing their strategic plan through inclusion, prioritizing our voices being heard on important real estate industry issues, and working together with industry colleagues, so everyone has a fair chance of attaining The American Dream of home ownership. This would create more housing opportunities and allow future generations to build a legacy of wealth.

In the first six months of Hatcher’s presidency, ARA institution voting rights for local Multicultural Real Estate Affiliate Associations and reinstated that ARA members who actively participate in committees receive voting power. The Multicultural Association representative on ARA’s Board of Directors had their non-voting seats turned into voting seats, enabling the underrepresented constituents a true and full seat at the table on issues impacting communities right now, such as housing affordability, equity, and inclusion. In addition, ARA provided a total of $20,000 to the Multicultural Partner Organizations.

REALTORS are community builders and much more than the transaction. Envisioned by Hatcher in 2021, in 2022, the ARA Board formed the Atlanta REALTORS Impact Foundation (ARIF) to support the awarding of educational scholarships and community charitable giving and received tax-exempt status. $135,000 in funds were donated by ARA to support the Community Excellence Scholarship program and to establish an ARA Care Fund. This year, (10) ten $1,000 scholarships were awarded to local students, and (3) three ARA members in need received a total of $7,500 in Care Funds.

This year marked a momentous occasion for the ARA as their task forces and committees achieved several firsts during Hatcher’s appointment:

  • The ARA RPAC Subcommittee convened and surpassed their goal for the first time in many, many years, raising a total of $317,450, a 22% increase year over year.
  • The ARA Diversity Council launched a new initiative that partners new association members with volunteers of diverse backgrounds willing to help them establish stronger connections within ARA.
  • ARA hosted a virtual interview on The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America to provide members with a greater understanding of the ways government-sanctioned segregation affected housing options and wealth building historically and in the present.
  • ARA reached a record of 14,193 members in 2022, a 10% increase over the previous year. Atlanta REALTORS Association is now the 19th largest local association in the country.
  • The newly formed Affordable & Equitable Housing Committee became one of the largest ARA committees ever, with nearly 160 members, followed by the Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Council and Governmental Affairs Committee, with nearly 110 members on each.
  • ARA donated $10,000 to NAR’s Disaster Relief Fund.
  • ARA established relationships with entities that provide complementary services and information that is beneficial for our members, including the Home Builders Association, the Urban League, and HouseATL, to name a few.

Karen states, “This year was monumental for our association in a multitude of ways. From my tenure as president to our restructured operations, adding new key personnel, and our astounding committee work.” She continues, “Our focus for 2022 was implementing our strategic plan through acceptance and putting our voices at the forefront of significant real estate industry issues. I am exceedingly proud of our success. Furthermore, our efforts were unwavering in upholding our NAR Code of Ethics.”

Hatcher’s recognition as the “REALTOR of the Year” reflects her dedication to promoting access to equitable home ownership. She is determined to do so through the 2023 key appointments, 2023 NAR Small Broker Chair & 2023 Co-Chair HouseAtl Homeownership Working Group.