John Thorpe is a Crusader
John Thorpe was at Jacksonville airport ready to board a flight when his phone rang. It was a Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate colleague.
“For what?” John said.
“You won a RIS Media Award, visit our LinkedIn page to read the story!”
Prior to boarding, John quickly visited Realogy’s LinkedIn page and was beaming with pride as he realized he was named a RIS Media Newsmaker in the Crusader category for his work leading the company’s LGBT Employee Resource Group (ERG).
Thorpe will be honored when RIS holds their awards ceremony at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on May 13.
The work he has done in co-Chairing Realogy’s REALPRIDE ERG with NRT trainer Tommie Wehrle is nothing short of spectacular:
- The group is backed by executive sponsor and Realogy Franchise Group President and CEO John Peyton
- REALPRIDE led Realogy to sponsor the Equality Act which passed in the House of Representatives last May
- Realogy sponsored and marched in World Pride for the first time
- The company now offers full benefits to transgender employees
- The company welcomed trans visionary Sarah McBride to speak at Realogy’s headquarters and met with Peyton and Realogy CEO Ryan Schneider
- Realogy has taken a leadership role in its sponsorship of NAGLREP
- REALPRIDE revised their logo last year to include the colors of brown and black in addition to the trans colors and design. The new REALPRIDE logo was utilized on the Realogy social media outlets during the month of June in 2019 to coincide with Pride month.
“We have about 60 participants in our ERG and having John Peyton involved is crucial,” Thorpe said. “Our job is to show the Realogy employee population – LGBTQs and allies – that we are authentically engaged with the LGBT community. We are working to teach employees about unconscious bias towards the community and also make sure that employees are protected from defamation and discrimination.
“While Realogy is far ahead, it is important for us to lead,” Thorpe continued. “Think about an LGBTQ employee who has a boss who is not understanding, or even outwardly prejudicial. The employee would likely have no chance for promotion and raises. This happens every day all across the country. We are hoping our work goes far beyond Realogy.”
Thorpe currently works for Realogy’s Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate brand in their franchise sales group. He started his real estate career as an agent before quickly moving into office management with NRT Mid-Atlantic. He started in his current position in 2013.
“Our BHGRE CEO Sherry Chris has been amazing in supporting me and she is highly engaged with what we do with NAGLREP,” Thorpe said. “It has been amazing to see the transformation and the welcoming attitude within the company since we launched the REALPRIDE group five years ago. “I actually broke down when Sarah came. It was incredible that the company I worked for was so progressive and welcoming. It meant so much. And Realogy has maintained and strengthened its support. We even lost a major conversion deal because of our public support of NAGLREP, the Equality Act and the LGBTQ community. That says a lot. Ryan Schneider put values ahead of a deal.”
NAGLREP Conference attendees also know Thorpe as NAGLREP’s resident DJ. He goes by the name of DJ Maroules to honor his mom’s side of the family (Maroules is her maiden name).
Thorpe, a classically trained musician through his college years at Elon, took up DJing three years ago to re-discover his musical roots. It was also his second major recent life-changing decision.
“My husband Jay and I got married on Memorial Day five years ago just after Florida passed its pro-gay marriage law that January,” Thorpe said. “We had wanted to wait, but were nervous what would happen if the Supreme Court didn’t rule in favor of Jim Obergefell. We figured if we were already married Florida couldn’t take it away from us.”
Thorpe realizes his platform leading the REALPRIDE group, and now the Newsmaker honor, gives him a voice and he intends to use it wisely.
“The work we are doing is really important,” he said. “While our focus is inside the walls of our Fortune 500 company, the truth is we are having an impact on the real estate industry, our affiliated companies, and the LGBT consumers. There is definitely a ripple effect of awareness that happens and we are being seen as positive change agents. It’s really amazing to be involved in it.”