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WomanUP!® Live with Julia Lashay Israel

Updated: Nov 11, 2022

This week's “Shine A Light On Her” conversation is with Julia Lashay Israel.

Julia consults for some of the world's largest real estate companies and government agencies. Named Texas’ Top 100 Professionals to Watch in 2022, Julia helps real estate leaders and other industry professionals all across the country grow their businesses through training, coaching, and strategic career development. She is currently spearheading diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts for Keller Williams Realty.


About Julia:

As the head of inclusion and belonging, Julia Lashay Israel advises, trains, and coaches leaders, team members, and agents to recognize and address diversity, equity, and inclusion opportunities and challenges across the organization.

Over the past 20 years, Israel has trained and coached thousands of real estate professionals. A community leader and homeownership advocate, Israel has instructed continuing education courses on diversity, career development, and homeownership.

Israel is the co-founder and owner of Refocus University, a real estate training firm, focused on career development and diversity.

A licensed real estate broker in Minnesota and Texas, Israel also serves as a managing partner of The Signature Group at Keller Williams Realty Integrity Lakes in Minneapolis.

Israel is a founding member and past president of the Twin Cities National Association of Real Estate Brokers. She also serves on the National Association of Realtors Housing Opportunity Committee and the Minnesota Association of Realtors Board of Directors.

In 2020, Israel received the Exceptional Service Award conveyed by the Minneapolis Area Realtors.


Interview Highlights

Tell us about your leadership journey…

My leadership journey began with my participation at the local REALTOR association on several committees in 2011 and expanded when I was elected by over 1500 of my peers to serve on the Board of Directors at the Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS (MAAR) in 2013. I chaired several committees there and went on to represent MAAR on the state board of directors and represent the state of Minnesota on the National Housing Opportunity Committee. Additionally, I have held several leadership roles at Keller Williams Realty and was a founding member of the Twin Cities National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB) chapter, where I served as local president from 2016-2018. After the George Floyd murder, Gary Keller of Keller Williams Realty began a social equity task force, which I served on as a regional ambassador. In 2021, I was hired as the first-ever Head of Inclusion and Belonging.

As you look back, tell us about a challenge you faced. Perhaps it was a risky move that didn’t pay off, a failed project, a fork in the road, or a personal mishap. How did you address it? Did you ask for help?

In 2019 I decided to leave MN and move to Texas. I was separated, but not divorced, my oldest son was away at college and my youngest son was entering high school. Financially, I was very secure where I was, but knew I needed to make a change for myself and for my kids. (This is a pretty lengthy story, but I’ll share the decision points and how this led to my current role. It also involves me NEEDING to ask for help in a way I never had before and how that’s changed the way I make decisions now. Additionally, my oldest son died in this process, which led to a whole other set of challenges)

From the perspective of where you are today, how would you handle a similar situation this time around? In hindsight, what would you do differently?

I wouldn’t do anything differently. As with most experiences, you learn quite a bit through tough experiences and your challenges shape and mold you into who you were designed to be. Asking for help and accepting help was major. The only thing I’d do differently is ask for more! :)

No one succeeds alone.

You’ve had many memorable moments in your career… what are some of your favorites?

  • Tre and Jose- now highly successful agents

  • This year's convention; learning how the work we are doing is having an impact on real estate professionals in our company and in our industry

  • Created Agent of Distinction

  • Cece’s daughter and the little girl named Julia

We also need to mention a few of the Recent awards that Julia has received...

  • 2020 Exceptional Service Award

  • 2021 RISMedia Newsmaker

  • 2021 Go Getter Award

  • 2022 Top Sales Group

  • Texas’s Top 100 Most Influential People to Watch in 2022

In honor of BHM and highlighting the achievements, involvement, and creation of programs to true diversity, equity, and inclusion in our industry.

You shared your favorite topic to discuss is ”Consciously Inclusive Leadership" - please tell us about this!

No one succeeds alone. My journey really began because someone invited me to a table that I didn’t know existed. We talk a lot about diversity, but diversity is simply being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.

*Story about John Butler, Tom Vance and Cotty Lowry. Everyone needs a Cotty.

“We grow into the conversations…"

In addition to your work at KW, you also have a consulting practice - (ICON DEVELOPMENT), dba Julia Israel & Co. What are some of your key pieces of advice for brokerage owners and leaders right now?

Self-reflection. Examine our personal dispositions and biases. Be willing to respect different perspectives because we NEED different perspectives and voices at the table to continue to serve the consumers of the future and be the real estate company of the future.

Before I ask you for your final words of wisdom… would you please share a few books or podcasts you LOVE and recommend to other leaders in your life?

"Do it with passion or not at all!"

John Maxwell - podcast and leadership

The ONE Thing - Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

TD Jakes, Myles Monroe,

Connect with Julia:


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