Partnership for Success Program

Promoting good business through enhanced diversity

 Debbi Conrad, WRA senior attorney and director of legal affairs  |    February 28, 2022
Member Benefits Partnership for Success

There is a WRA committee doing wonderful and beneficial things that few members are familiar with: the WRA cultural diversity in housing committee. In addition to educating the WRA membership about fair housing and diversity issues, this committed, active bunch is always looking for ways to promote cultural diversity among membership and leadership and better enable REALTORS® to successfully work with culturally diverse clients and customers.

Members sometimes comment they are not in need of such services because they have no minorities in their communities, but the face of America has changed. Minorities now make up roughly one-fifth of Wisconsin’s population. The Census Bureau publishes a diversity index that predicts the likelihood two people chosen at random will be from different racial and ethnic groups, and the diversity index for Wisconsin is 37%. 

The committee believes real estate brokerage companies will become more profitable when the faces in their offices reflect the faces in their marketplaces. It simply is good business to increase minority participation in our companies and in our organizations. One tool serving that goal is one of the “best-kept secrets” at the WRA: the WRA Partnership for Success Program, administered by the cultural diversity in housing committee.

What is the Partnership for Success Program? 
Rather than taking a traditional scholarship approach, the WRA’s Partnership for Success Program forges a partnership between the applicant, the sponsoring broker, the local or regional association, and the WRA. Applicants must be of a minority race, color or national origin and demonstrate a commitment to becoming successful real estate licensees. The sponsoring broker provides a mentor and in-house training for the program recipient to optimize the success of the new licensee. Ideally, the applicant is a new licensee who has not had a license for more than six months and who is aspiring to become a full-time agent. The program is intended to provide startup assistance to applicants who have not previously held a real estate license.

What is the purpose of the Partnership for Success Program? 
The WRA designed the Partnership for Success Program to promote diversity within the REALTOR® membership based on race, color and national origin, in a manner designed to enhance the probability of long-term success in the real estate profession. Increased minority representation in our brokerages and in our organizations will contribute to REALTOR® diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives and marketplace success.

The WRA Partnership for Success Program offers the successful candidate the opportunity to have one year of REALTOR® dues and six months of MLS fees covered as well as the chance to attend additional courses and educational events. The WRA waives one year of WRA dues, local participating associations waive any initiation fee and one year of dues, and the WRA pays one year of NAR dues. The program also provides supplementary education and networking opportunities for the recipient to attend classes, conventions and other events.

Is the Partnership for Success Program a scholarship program? 
No. The recipient must repay fees paid by the WRA in cash and/or by volunteer service hours for the WRA, local REALTOR® association committees or established § 501(c)(3) charities. Repayment is due no later than three years after the award is given so that program funds may be “paid forward” to additional deserving recipients. One hour of committee or volunteer service repays $20. Volunteer hours must be verified either with a signed letter from the REALTOR® association or charitable organization, preferably on the organization letterhead, or on the WRA Cultural Diversity in Housing Committee Volunteer Hours form, available on the Partnership for Success webpage at

Why is the Partnership for Success Program important for the WRA?
The WRA benefits when the organization reflects the composition of the Wisconsin marketplace. The Partnership for Success Program contributes to the diversity of our membership and to our DEI initiatives.

Why is the Partnership for Success Program important to brokers?
The Partnership for Success Program enables brokers to welcome new minority agents who they believe will become successful agents and enhance the diversity of the broker’s office. The brokers are asked to choose wisely and “invest” in the new agent by providing mentorship and education for the new agent and coming to an interview with the WRA cultural diversity in housing committee. 

How does the Partnership for Success Program help minority candidates?
The candidate receives a financial boost at the beginning of their new real estate career as well as enrichment opportunities in the form of designation classes, seminars and REALTOR® events. The boost over the initial financial hurdles frees the new agent to study and learn the business — and become successful.

How does a candidate apply to the Partnership for Success Program? 
Potential applicants will find videos and information about the program, application materials and the interview schedule at

What is the most important thing to know about the WRA Partnership for Success Program?
The Partnership for Success Program works! The program enriches the office, is a fantastic tool to launch the new minority agent, and creates success for all!

Learn about the success story of Fatima Marinho Perry in “Partnership Fosters Diversity and Breeds Success,” in the April 2019 Wisconsin Real Estate Magazine at:

Partnership for Success award winners

The WRA Cultural Diversity in Housing Committee is pleased to announce the following Partnership for Success award winners! The Partnership for Success Program is designed to promote diversity within the REALTOR® membership and enhance the probability of long-term success for new minority agents. The program offers the successful minority candidate the opportunity to have one year of REALTOR® dues and six months of MLS fees covered, and to attend real estate practice courses and networking events. Most program benefits are “paid forward” via the recipient’s cash reimbursements or community service hours within three years of receipt of the award. Potential applicants and their sponsoring brokers can learn more at
Please join us in congratulating these amazing new agents and their remarkable sponsoring brokers!

Partnership for Success Award Winners

Award winner: David Cubias
Firm: EXIT Realty Horizons, Wauwatosa
Sponsoring Broker: Tom McCormick
David Cubias has worked as a property manager, has sold cars, and drives Uber part-time to sustain himself. He aims to own a home and help Spanish-speaking people learn about the homebuying process. Broker Tom McCormick finds David to be a self-starter who will do well in the company’s 10-week training program and mentorship shadowing system. The company motto: Do the right thing. Be involved.

Award winner: Kewand Eskridge
Firm: Keller Williams Realty, Whitefish Bay
Sponsoring Broker: Joan Read 
Kewand Eskridge holds an associate real estate degree from MATC Milwaukee and first became interested in real estate after experiencing the hardships of a slumlord and eviction firsthand. As a result, he has great appreciation for the value of family wealth-building through homeownership. Broker Joan Read admires the effort made by Kewand to find the Partnership for Success and bring it to her. Joan is the compliance broker for her office and will work with Kewand as coach and trainer.

Award winner: Gary Gilbert
Firm: First Weber Inc., Appleton
Sponsoring Broker: Dylan Diersen
Gary Gilbert is committed to providing opportunities to build family wealth after observing firsthand the broken-up neighborhoods in Milwaukee. He also is interested in learning more and teaching others about the benefits of real estate investment. Another plan is to spread the word about the Partnership for Success Program so others can begin their careers and contribute to the goal of minority wealth-building. Broker Dylan Diersen finds Gary to be hard-working with a desire for self-improvement and an eagerness to learn. First Weber has a comprehensive training program, is active in local associations and has extensive community involvement.

Award winner: Mercedes Lewis
Firm: First Weber Inc., Madison
Sponsoring Broker: Dan Lee
Mentor: Stacy Ozanne

Mercedes Lewis is a registered nurse committed to helping people and has the energy and drive to learn new things. She wants to share the lessons she learned when she bought her own home and educate ethnic groups regarding how to get and keep their own homes. Mentor Stacy Ozanne believes Mercedes possesses all the attributes and skills needed to be successful. First Weber has a comprehensive training program, is active in local associations and has extensive community involvement. First Weber’s comprehensive training include modules addressing combating bias and the history of real estate.  

Award winner: Eliyah Zachery
Firm: Shorewest REALTORS®, Janesville
Sponsoring Broker: Jeff Joseph

Eliyah Zachery has served in the military and holds a BA in creative writing. He is a hard worker who likes people and is willing to take extra steps to achieve his dreams. He is active with the Boys & Girls Club and hopes to teach them writing. Broker Jeff Joseph finds Eliyah to be enthusiastic and a great student for the Success Track Training Program and the Ninja Selling Training he will attend along with the personal guidance that will come from Jeff. Jeff has been very active with the local association and is proud of the extensive charitable activity conducted by Shorewest.

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