Keifer Rowlands of eXp Realty: “To continue to work towards equal pay”

Well, I think I can nail it down to one most important step — the first step that we have to take is to continue to work towards equal pay. We can’t have an inclusive society if some are just making more than others because of something they aren’t in control of. In a society where one […]

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Well, I think I can nail it down to one most important step — the first step that we have to take is to continue to work towards equal pay. We can’t have an inclusive society if some are just making more than others because of something they aren’t in control of. In a society where one gender, race or sexual identify is paid more than another, that’s not equality.

As part of our series about ‘5 Steps We Must Take To Truly Create An Inclusive, Representative, and Equitable Society’ I had the pleasure to interview Keifer Rowlands.

Based in both Phoenix and Los Angeles, Keifer Rowlands is a real estate professional with over 25 years’ experience as a real estate, mortgage and sales executive.

He is a licensed real estate broker with eXp Realty, The Real Estate Cloud Brokerage, which is the fastest-growing, global residential real estate company — and he volunteers to serve as an active board member of the Victory Campaign Board.

Prior to beginning his career in residential real estate, Keifer previously served as a sales and sales management executive in the SoCal mortgage industry including US, Wells Fargo and Chase banks spanning Palm Springs to Malibu.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to ‘get to know you.’ Can you tell us a bit about how you grew up?

I grew up in Arizona, with a love of the desert. I spent my entire childhood through college in Paradise Valley, which is surely paradise. I graduated with honors in psychology as a Sun Devil at Arizona State. I then began my career in banking at the early age of 19 as a preferred financial representative.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

Yes, Michelle Obama’s book, Becoming, really awakened me to the importance and impact of grass roots community service, matched of course, with vision and execution. It solidified a long-time desire to be of service to the world in a bigger way than I had understood before.

Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote?” Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life or your work?

I think my favorite quote is by Andrew Carnegie, “As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.”

How do you define “Leadership?” Can you explain what you mean or give an example?

When it comes to leadership, quite often people get confused between management and leadership. I think the fundamental difference is when you’re a true leader, people naturally want to follow you and look to you for guidance, mentorship, and development in order to achieve what their dreams are in life. Management is also exceptionally important however that focus is controlling and directing the work of others. Both are important, yet different, and have distinctions.

In my work, I often talk about how to release and relieve stress. As a busy leader, what do you do to prepare your mind and body before a stressful or high stakes meeting, talk, or decision? Can you share a story or some examples?

I work out and I meditate. Also, I use food as fuel and make sure I’m putting good whole healthy food into my body at all times.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. The United States is currently facing a very important self-reckoning about race, diversity, equality and inclusion. This is of course a huge topic. But briefly, can you share your view on how this crisis inexorably evolved to the boiling point that it’s at now?

I agree, it has evolved to the point that we’re at today. Not because it’s been unaddressed in the past, but because it has had the illusion of getting better. Yet there have been forces during the course of history that have made it significantly worse, and have specifically worked against inclusivity.

For example, as someone whose been in the mortgage business, I think about redlining and how in the real estate and mortgage industries, sadly, there has been institutionalized bias to ensure that people of color and other types of individuals were kept from home ownership, especially in all white neighborhoods.

If we go back, to the middle of the last century, for example, I think there’s been a lot of forces that have worked against inclusivity. To be a truly inclusive society, all members of society have to have the same opportunity for wealth, success, family, healthcare, homeownership and everything required to be a full-fledged member of a functioning society. Everyone should ideally have the same opportunities.

Can you tell our readers a bit about your experience working with initiatives to promote Diversity and Inclusion? Can you share a story with us?

I think the place that I got to do the most was when I was a board member for the Gay Men’s chorus of Los Angeles. One of our programs was the It Gets Better campaign aimed at gay youth and helping them understand there are others like them.

As a board member, I would help support the organization’s fundraising to finance those and similar efforts. And part of the It Gets Better campaign is we would go into traditionally small and remote areas around the country that were not traditionally open to inclusivity for members of the LGBTQIA community. Through the power of song, the Chorus would move people in those communities and help them to understand not just the importance but the joy of inclusivity for all people. For many of the young people that would see us, we were often their first big vision of inclusivity in their community.

This may be obvious to you, but it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you articulate to our readers a few reasons why it is so important for a business or organization to have a diverse executive team?

To begin with, a diverse executive team, or board, is proven to be highly correlated with a much higher degree of organizational success. This is because the world that any company markets its products or services to is diverse. So, by having execs or board members who understand those specific constituencies and know what messages will resonate best, companies will be more successful. The key here is it has to be real, from a company’s “heart” — not merely marketing spin.

We instinctively understand people like ourselves. Even though most want to be inclusive, we all still tend to look at the world through our own eyes. Inclusion is not simply a goal, as worthy as that is. It starts with us.

Ok. Here is the main question of our discussion. You are an influential business leader. Can you please share your “5 Steps We Must Take To Truly Create An Inclusive, Representative, and Equitable Society.” Kindly share a story or example for each.

Well, I think I can nail it down to one most important step — the first step that we have to take is to continue to work towards equal pay. We can’t have an inclusive society if some are just making more than others because of something they aren’t in control of. In a society where one gender, race or sexual identify is paid more than another, that’s not equality.

It all begins with equality in the workplace because as Americans we’re the most productive society in the world. Part of being so productive is that we work the hardest, we spend most of our time at work. So, if we’re going to have inclusivity it has to start in the workplace. Fairness and equality demand equal pay for equal work. It’s the first essential step.

We are going through a rough period now. Are you optimistic that this issue can eventually be resolved? Can you explain?

Absolutely, I’m always optimistic. And I have always found that there’s always a solution to every problem…not always an easy solution, not always a transparent solution. But there is a solution. It’s just how hard you want to work at it. So, yes, I definitely think that there’s a solution. And I think we’ve taken the first big step by electing our current leadership in the White House.

As is well known in corporate America, everything is top down. Well, now we have a great leader who believes in inclusivity. From the top, we’re going to have someone that is not only preaching inclusivity, but acting on it, showing it, being an example of it. And I think that’s fantastic and necessary to address the current state of affairs.

For better or for worse, the transparency of the media, and specifically technology, putting recording devices in the hands of every American has brought this to light. And I think that’s one reason why, if we look at some of the main events that have really caused turmoil and outcry, it’s videos of abuse. It puts it right out there — it’s obvious, it’s happening, and the definition of what is or isn’t acceptable needs to change at the core level. It’s no longer debatable. It needs to change now, and we all need to be a part of this ending.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

I admire Oprah, first for what she’s achieved as a black businesswoman working against all odds. She really used her life as an extraordinary canvas and is self-made. I really respect and appreciate how much she has done to educate and unify her audience and basically anyone she comes into contact with. To her core — her work is about inspiration, education, and unity — she’s a great uniter.

How can our readers follow you online?

Go to my website, keiferrowlands.com and connect with me on LinkedIn.

This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!

This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!

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