Thursday, November 27, 2008

6 Ways to Build an Effective Multicultural Recruitment Strategy

nov27leadweb.jpg

Today when I opened my e-mail I got this article from Rismedia that I think is very interesting. Feel free to share your opinion here.

By the Gonzales Group

RISMEDIA, Nov. 27, 2008-As our community profiles change, diversity recruitment has become more important and a priority for organizations. Qualified multicultural talent is in high demand and organizations are ramping up their search for the best and brightest multicultural stars in the industry. Having a workforce that is reflective of the community is critically important and ultimately leads to a positive experience for the multicultural consumer and your bottom line.

Here are some guiding principles to consider when developing a multicultural recruitment strategy:

1) Establish Clear Recruitment Goals. Be committed at the highest level of the organization. Establish a business definition and value statement for what diversity means to your organization. Ensure that management is on board with “measurements of success” for its diversity program. More importantly, have bonuses and other compensation factored in as incentives.

2) Leverage Useful Knowledge and Resources. Do your research. Leverage the latest research and hiring techniques to access and improve upon existing diversity recruiting systems.

3) Partner with Agencies that Specialize in Multicultural Recruiting. Partner with an agency that can support your organizations multicultural recruitment efforts like the Gonzales Group, that have resources and a strong network in the non-profit and for-profit sectors, major universities, and professional organizations.

4) Train Your Recruiters to Better Screen Multicultural Candidates. It’s a proven fact that untrained recruiters will give highest marks to people most like themselves in appearance and background.

5) Train for Success. Ensure you have the right orientation and training for new Multicultural recruits. This means having the right programs that are accessible and culturally correct and provide opportunities for professional growth.

6) Evaluate and Reward. Provide more than brochures and lip service. Be committed to making diversity a standard measurement of the performance evaluation process. Provide incentives to think outside of the box by having diversity goals tied to compensation for all levels of management.

Don’t go it alone. Find the right partner that can help you recruit multicultural talent for all levels of the organization. Multicultural recruits will respond most when they can culturally connect with an organization. A one-size fits all recruiting strategy is no longer a recipe for success.

At the Gonzales Group we provide recruitment services to help you recruit and retain talented Multicultural professionals that will build profitable connections with the Multicultural consumer.

For more information, visit www.thegonzalesgroup.com.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Victory in El Barrio

Victory in El Barrio

East Harlem tenants win one as British 'predatory equity' landlord collapses.

By Jennifer Janisch

The global economic crisis that has shaken the real-estate industry has one tenant organization in East Harlem celebrating victory over a British landlord.

Keywords: News, Class, Manhattan, Economy, Human Rights, Corporations, Activism, Housing & Development, Immigration,

The global economic crisis that has shaken the real-estate industry has one tenant organization in East Harlem celebrating victory over a British landlord.

After nearly two years of community organizing, demonstrations, an innovative lawsuit and international campaigning, Movement for Justice in El Barrio (MJB) — an East Harlem collective of mostly Mexican immigrants — is calling its battle with failed financial-services firm Dawnay, Day “a triumph of David and Goliath proportions.”

Dawnay, Day purchased 47 buildings in the neighborhood for a quarter of a billion dollars in March 2007. It was the British firm’s only foray into the U.S. real-estate market, following the lead of several large property firms that over-leveraged their investments in New York City residential buildings over the last couple of years and are now paying the price.

The London-based company, which manages more than $10 billion in assets worldwide, has become one of Europe’s most high-profile casualties of the international financial crisis. It is now under the administration of accounting firm BDO Stoy Hayward and the real-estate advisor DTZ, which are charged with restructuring the company and selling its property holdings.

Neither BDO Stoy Hayward nor DTZ would comment on the status of the transactions. But according to PropertyWeek. com, final bids were submitted November 7 by Threadneedle, F&C REIT Asset Management, Criterion Capital and Exemplar. Two unknown U.S.-based cash buyers are submitting bids as well.

‘INSPIRED BY TENANTS’

Organizing in the buildings began more than five years ago, when they were owned by Steven Kessner, who was once named one of New York’s ten worst landlords by the Village Voice. Originally, about 15 tenants met in the lobbies of their buildings to discuss ways to confront Kessner and get him to make repairs. They expanded their initiative to his other buildings.

Since they had little experience organizing, the tenants turned to Juan Haro, who once worked organizing restaurant workers, to help them develop a strategy.

“I was inspired by these tenants who wanted to initiate something and really just didn’t know how,” says Haro, the coordinator of MJB. “A lot of people have this stereotype that immigrants live in fear and don’t want to take on such a battle, but we found the opposite: tenants were fed up with the conditions they were living in and ready to take action.”

After MJB held protests to draw attention to Kessner’s negligent management practices in East Harlem, he sold his 47 buildings to Dawnay, Day. MJB decided to put the British financial firm on notice.

“We held a press conference warning Dawnay, Day, saying ‘Welcome to El Barrio. We will not be moved, we are here to stay,’” says Haro. “You may not know this, but you bought buildings where tenants are organized.”

Dawnay, Day representatives clearly stated their intentions to the British press.

“East Harlem is the last area of the whole of Manhattan being gentrified. Our intention is to build up,” Phil Blakeley, leader of the firm’s U.S. expansion, told the London Times. “We are not just looking at New York — that is just a start. Our aim is to have in excess of $5 billion within a short period — within a few years.”

Blakeley added that he was attracted by the opportunity to raise rents on vacant apartments. “With renovation, a flat could well take $1,700 a month once re-let on the open market,” he said, adding that long-term tenants could be bought out.

“They were planning to take advantage of New York’s lax rent laws,” Haro says.

RATS AND ROACHES

According to some tenants, the negligent maintenance continued under Dawnay, Day’s management. (The British firm could not be reached for comment.)

Andres Hernandez lives with his family in a Dawnay, Day building on East 117th Street. He gestures toward a gaping hole in his kitchen wall, near the stove. He says the superintendent replaced the apartment’s small boiler with an electric heater months ago, but has not yet sealed the wall shut.

“People in the building say they want to force all the Hispanics out and fill the building with white people,” he says.

Carolina Ortega has lived with her father and her children on East 116th Street for decades. She says Dawnay, Day has tried to force them out by ignoring their pleas for extermination of the rats and roaches that infest their apartment.

“They do things for the new tenants, but not for us,” she says. “We’ve taken them to court two or three times, but we haven’t said anything lately because my father doesn’t want to fight it anymore.”

MJB has filed a lawsuit against Dawnay, Day, claiming the company violated consumer- protection laws by using deceptive business practices. Despite the company’s financial turmoil, MJB says it does not plan to drop the suit.

MJB’s attorney, Ed Josephson, recently filed a motion to obtain Dawnay, Day’s financial records. He says the company was slapping tenants with suspicious bills, citing charges they did not owe.

“They invent phantom charges to make us leave here,” says Filiberto Hernandez, a mechanic who lives in a Dawnay, Day building on East 106th Street and is an MJB member. “They say the rent arrives late and they overcharge us.”

Tenants say the company offered them buyouts of $10,000 to vacate their apartments. They have also reported that Dawnay, Day charged them for ordinary maintenance and for washers and dryers that they do not have.

THE HARDER THEY FALL

Dawnay, Day isn’t the only private-equity company that over-leveraged its investments in rent-stabilized apartment buildings. A recent report by the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development (ANHD) states that from 2006 to 2007, projected income — not actual income — was used to justify inflated loan amounts for an estimated 90,000 units of affordable rental housing in New York City.

Perhaps the most notable example was Tishman Speyer’s purchase of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village from MetLife. The firm bought the 80-acre, 11,200-unit complex of mostly rent-stabilized apartments for a recordbreaking $5.4 billion in 2006. In late September, Standard and Poor’s downgraded ratings on 22 classes of mortgage-backed securities related to these properties. It estimates that the complex is now worth 10 percent less.

In Harlem, Riverton Houses and Savoy Park are on the verge of default as well. Their new owners failed to meet their projections that they could double or triple their income by bringing rents up to market rate. According to the ANHD report, which cites SEC “Free Writing Prospectus” filings, Savoy Park’s landlord had anticipated increasing its net operating income (NOI) from $7.4 million to $19 million over a five-year period. The owner of Riverton Houses believed it would increase its NOI from $5.2 million to $23.6 million in the same timeframe.

Although investors claimed they could turn over the rent-stabilized apartments at a rate of 20 to 30 percent each year, the reality is that tenants won’t move out voluntarily at that rate, as they know they can’t find equivalent affordable housing. The average annual turnover rate is 3 to 5 percent, making the quick profits these firms envisioned next to impossible without employing high-pressure eviction tactics.

ANHD deputy director Benjamin Dulchin says that despite tighter access to credit and the bursting of the national housing bubble, he doesn’t see a transformation yet. “I think these investments will slow, but firms will continue to argue that these assets are undervalued,” he says. “They’ll say ‘if only we can get rid of these pesky rent-stabilized tenants, we can reap a large profit.’”

Haro says it’s unlikely the tenants will have a cordial relationship with another big financial firm.

“We’re more ready than we were before Dawnay, Day bought these buildings,” he says. “The tenants know their rights and are ready to fight.”

Members of MJB were poised to travel to London to confront Dawnay, Day when they heard the news that the firm was collapsing and had to sell its property holdings. They recently held a march in East Harlem to celebrate their victory.

Hernandez says the Dawnay, Day tenants aren’t fearful of the future.

“We are very happy,” he says. “We feel it is a great success for us. [Dawnay, Day] is a powerful, rich company, and it has fallen as a victim of its own devices.

“We are a people that is fighting for the right to live with dignity.”

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Santa Ana leads a bittersweet real estate boomlet

Santa Ana, foreclosure, housing, real estate, Angelica Maciel
Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times
Angelica Maciel, who was priced out of the market during the real estate bubble, closed on this Santa Ana bungalow last month. She paid less than $270,000 for the two-bedroom, 910-square-foot house, which previously sold for $504,000 in 2006.
The Orange County city is flooded with cheap foreclosures, giving people previously priced out of the market the opportunity to buy homes that others have been forced to leave.
By Peter Y. Hong
Angelica Maciel used to drive through the oak-shaded streets of Santa Ana wondering if she'd ever be able to buy one of the charming little bungalows she so admired.

But the real estate frenzy had overtaken even this hardscrabble Orange County city, and prices kept going up.

Read here full article. http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-santaana18-2008nov18,0,3551566.story

Saturday, November 15, 2008

RE/MAX Among Top Franchise Opportunities for Minorities

RE/MAX Among Top Franchise Opportunities for Minorities

Annual Survey Ranks RE/MAX in Top Fifty of All Franchises


Last update: 1:00 p.m. EST Nov. 14, 2008
DENVER, Nov 14, 2008 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- RE/MAX International is proud to have been selected as one of the country's "50 Top Franchises for Minorities." As the only real estate franchisor included in the prestigious ranking, RE/MAX is joined by such notable corporations as McDonalds, 7-11, and InterContinental Hotels Group.

"From our early days 35 years ago, RE/MAX has always provided rewarding career opportunities for women and minorities," said Margaret Kelly, Chief Executive Officer of RE/MAX International, Inc.. "We believe our greatest strength is the diversity of our management and membership. It's an honor to receive this recognition and to be associated with other like-minded organizations."

Each year, The National Minority Franchising Initiative (NMFI) recognizes the top 50 franchise opportunities based upon a commitment to minority recruitment and advancement. Final selection is the result of factors such as, historical performance, brand identification, franchisee satisfaction, training/support, and financial stability. Each organization must also complete a questionnaire noting the number of minority-owned franchises, and the number of minorities in senior management.

Kelly said, "RE/MAX offers all our franchisees a tremen
dous amount of support to ensure their success. Cutting edge technology resources and training, available online and through the RE/MAX Satellite Network, aren't available from any other franchisor."

In 2007, RE/MAX International was also named a "Top 25 Franchise Opportunity" by Hispanic Enterprise magazine, and was ranked number three among the "Top 10 Military-Spouse Friendly Employers" by Military Spouse magazine.

The most comprehensive franchise ranking, Entrepreneur Magazine's "Franchise 500 Survey" has ranked RE/MAX the top real estate franchisor for eight of the past ten years. In this year's survey, RE/MAX also ranked in the Top 10 in four different categories.

Even in today's challenging market, RE/MAX is experiencing success selling new franchises. Through the third quarter of this year, sales have topped 500 worldwide with more than 200 in North America. RE/MAX is positioning itself for further growth when the real estate market turns around.
About RE/MAX International, Inc.

RE/MAX was co-founded by Dave and Gail Liniger in 1973. From a single office in Denver, Colorado, RE/MAX has grown to be a global network of nearly 105,000 Sales Associates in more than 65 countries. No one in the world sells more real estate than RE/MAX. Today, all U.S. home listings in thousands of cities and towns can be found at www.remax.com, the most visited web site of any real estate brokerage brand.

RE/MAX is proud of its Premier Community Citizenship, which has raised tens of millions of dollars for deserving organizations like Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Children's Miracle Network and The Sentinels of Freedom Foundation.

For information on RE/MAX International visit: www.remax.com or www.joinremax.com
SOURCE: RE/MAX International
RE/MAX International, Inc.
Shaun White, 303-796-3405
Director, Media Relations
shaunwhite@remax.net

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

NAR Selects New Bilateral Partners Including Representatives From Latin America

NAR Selects New Bilateral Partners

Last update: 2:13 p.m. EST Nov. 9, 2008
ORLANDO, Fla.,, Nov 09, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Today's real estate market knows no borders, which is why the National Association of Realtors(R) has been expanding its network of business partnerships around the world and has recently established new bilateral agreements with seven national partners in Europe, Latin America and Asia.

"Over the past two years, as the domestic real estate market has flattened, global business has remained a mainstay for many of our members who are involved in international business," said Realtor(R) Tony Macaluso, 2008 chair of NAR's international operations committee. "We want to build on and expand that outreach. Our guiding vision remains to render the global real estate markets accessible, profitable and ethical for Realtors(R) everywhere."

Macaluso announced the new partnerships at the 2008 REALTORS(R) Conference & Expo here. NAR's European bilateral partnerships are with the Confederation of Belgian Real Estate Brokers and the Real Estate Consultants Federation of Turkey.

In Latin America, NAR's new bilateral partners are the Association of Real Estate Brokers of Belize and the Association Peruana de Agentas Immobiliarias del Peru.

In Asia, the new NAR partnerships are with the China Institute of Real Estate Appraisers and Agents, the Taipei Association of Real Estate Brokers in Taiwan, and the Vietnam Real Estate Association.

With the addition of these latest agreements, NAR now has 81 bilateral partnership agreements in 59 countries worldwide. Bilateral agreements provide for reciprocal exchange of education and training, as well as commitments to high standards of ethics and best practice.

This year more than 26 percent of NAR's members had some business relationship with foreign-domiciled clients, but in certain regions, those numbers are much higher. In Florida, for example, 61 percent of Realtors(R) reported having foreign clients. "As our world becomes increasingly borderless, NAR will continue to work for broadening opportunities for our members and for investors everywhere," Macaluso said.

The National Association of Realtors(R), "The Voice for Real Estate," is America's largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

Information about NAR is available at www.realtor.org. This and other news releases are posted on the Web site's "News media" section in the NAR Media Center.

REALTOR(R) is a registered collective membership mark which may be used only by real estate professionals who are members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS(R) and subscribe to its strict Code of Ethics. Not all real estate agents are REALTORS(R).

All REALTORS(R) are members of NAR.

SOURCE National Association of Realtors
 http://www.realtor.org

Cuatro razones por las que 2016 será el año para comprar casa en Estados Unidos

(CNNMoney) -  Si has estado renuente a comprar una casa, 2016 es el año para dar el paso, al menos en el mercado estadounidense. Las ta...