Self-Help Shares

Showing Up: Inspiration from a Recent Conversation

By staff
  | Feb 29, 2024

 At Self-Help, we honor Black History Month by highlighting some of the many stories, people and issues that resonate with us. We acknowledge that diversity and inclusion are some of our strongest tools in the work towards authentic equity. We note where we could do better, and we celebrate successes. 

But just as we don’t practice gratitude only on Thanksgiving or offer affection to our loved ones only on Valentine’s Day, we also don’t just celebrate Black history during February. Instead, we aim to integrate celebration, equity and inclusion into our work throughout the year.

Insight from like-minded partners

We appreciate that many within our community have a similar year-round commitment to equity. Kimberly Jones, Vice President and Director of Partnerships & Community Engagement for our Midwest region, recently had an insightful conversation with Sarah Ware.

Ms. Ware is past president of the Chicago Association of REALTORs (CAR) and founder of Ware Realty Group. This conversation was part of a larger and more comprehensive look at barriers to homeownership for people of color that Self-Help has been working on.

Below, we share a short clip from their discussion; we hope you find it as thought-provoking as we did.


A commitment to equity year-round

We share Ms. Ware’s story and her conversation with Kimberly Jones as an inspiration on how all of us can continue our work towards a more equitable, diverse and inclusive society by keeping these thoughts present in our daily practices.

A leader who shows up: About Sarah Ware

We first met Ms. Ware, in 2018 when she was participating in a Small Business Growth Program offered at The University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. Self-Help partnered with the Center to help implement the program.

Today, Ms. Ware is a powerhouse: a real estate executive, busy entrepreneur, and passionate community leader in Chicago. When she served as the 2022-23 President of CAR, she was an embodiment of the kind of change she and Kimberly talk about: even though CAR boasts nearly 18,000 members and is 140 years old, Ms. Ware was only its 11th female president, and the second Black woman to ever serve as president. 

When Ms. Ware accepted the presidency, she knew she was stepping into a role where she would need to show up, as she put it in her interview with Kimberly Jones. Ms. Ware brought to the position a keenly equity-focused perspective, and a goal of highlighting realty as a profession for people of color, as a way of addressing some of the historic discrimination and barriers that Chicago’s Black residents have experienced. Those barriers have not only prevented wealth accumulation but have also served to discourage Black Chicagoans from joining the real estate field.

Before her CAR presidency, Ms. Ware, a South Side native, already had a mindset of civic engagement. She served for eight years as a director of the Cook County Land Bank Authority, an organization focused on redevelopment of vacant, abandoned, foreclosed or tax-delinquent properties in order to stabilize neighborhoods, spur economic development and provide affordable housing and jobs.

Thank you—and onward!

Thanks to Ms. Ware for sharing her insights in this conversation, and thank you for watching. We hope you'll join us in committing to centering inclusion and celebration in our work and lives—all year round.

Share This


Back to our blog