I just returned from the 2011 NAR Issues Conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico and wanted to share with the Leadership LAB some highlights of this wonderful event. This is by far one of my most favorite meetings of the year. It was exciting to see the large number of current and former NAR Leadership Academy class members in attendance.
The meetings kicked off with a welcome by NAR President Ron Phipps, who reminded us that “Home Ownership Matters.” The payoff was information and statistics relating to his recent testimony at the Capitol, where he noted that real estate represents 15% of the U.S. GDP and touches almost every aspect of our economy.
We then had a fascinating look at the recent election results and how the current polls are trending with Bill McInturff and Peter Hart. They pointed out that this era will be defined by a massive shift in power from the states and institutions to the people and communities. Confidence in Congress is at 9%; furthermore, it has been a decade since the majority of Americans have felt the country is heading in the right direction. I did find it amusing that one poll revealed that 29% of respondents think the economy will get better, while 29% think it will get worse. Anyone got a coin? Another poll found that 21% of Americans believe that their home value is increasing, while 18% believe it is decreasing.
Bethany McLean, author of “All The Devils Are Here,” spoke to us about the financial collapse and her inside look at the players involved. Her research into this subject matter was very intense and she had amazing insight to share. I highly recommend you read her book. She did leave us with a glimmer of hope after presenting so much negative information when she told us that bad business tends to get the spotlight and media, but that there is much more good business outweighing the bad.
The highlight of day one for me was listening to John Ansbach talk about generational diversity. He poised a great question: “How fluent are you with each of the generations?” He also pointed out that the generation gap maybe bigger than we realize and took us on a journey through each of four current generations of Americans. His statistics on the number of Members of Congress in each generation was very eye opening. One example is that there are only four U.S. Senators from Generation X, the rest are Baby Boomers and Civics. He also pointed out that if you don’t “speak” Generation Y, you better learn it! It’s not a good business strategy to ignore 80 million people!
On the second day, Vince Malta and Dale Stinton discussed building the REALTOR party. Did you know the REALTOR brand is now worth $4.5 billion in brand value and has a 95% recognition value? Stay tuned for more exciting information as NAR decides how to take advantage of the Citizens United vs. FEC ruling. We must increase our advocacy of home ownership.
The dueling economist session was entertaining as the debate was heated and quick. It was too hard to take notes and make sense of it all, but let’s just say every economist has a different view and opinion of where we are headed!
Former Senator Trent Lott and former Congressman Paul Kanjorski gave us an inside look at their respective views of the recent elections, the current Congress, and what they see happening in 2012, with no partisan spin… yeah right! Finally we wrapped the conference up with an amazing and entertaining discussion between political strategists James Carville and Mary Matalin.
I highly recommend you become a President’s Circle member and attend next year’s Issues Conference! It will be held February 16-19, 2012 at the Boca Raton Resort and Club in Florida.
In just two short – but busy and exciting years – my role in the NAR Leadership Academy has come full circle. It started with my participation as a member of the Academy class of 2009, an experience that helped crystallize my passion for learning and embracing REALTOR volunteer leadership. And, this year, I have the honor of serving as Vice Chairman of the Leadership Advisory Board.
My roles with the Academy and East Bay Association of REALTORS have made me better attuned to different types of leadership of styles. I’ve gained some insight into the particular characteristics or traits of leadership; now, I can determine with confidence whether a person already is a good speaker, or has persuasive qualities, or demonstrates integrity or has a commanding presence. And, from the other perspective, I believe I can identify those who might need some guidance.
Over these past two years, I’ve been exposed to an unbelievable number of NAR leaders from around the United States. There’s a commonality among those of us who serve, and I’ve developed relationships with people from around the country. Under other circumstances, these relationships would have taken years to build.
As the Leadership Academy enters its fourth year, I maintain it has definitely encouraged REALTORS to pursue other volunteer opportunities, especially on the national level. There’s a good probability that Academy participants can get an appointment to serve on a national committee and learn more about the structure and process involved with how NAR functions. Coming out of the Academy is not a next step to being the president of NAR; but the caliber of talent that makes up this organization is phenomenal, and there are many opportunities for those who want to take on challenges locally, statewide or nationally.
Today, our industry continues to face challenges of a national scope. When dealing with legislative issues that have an impact on the real estate industry, there’s nothing higher than what takes place by NAR in the nation’s capitol. I saw this firsthand when I participated in the Policy Conference earlier this month. Washington is where national policy is made, and REALTOR leaders rallied to make our voice heard on Capitol Hill.
The months to come will bring more challenges for me and the Academy, and I’m not just referring to getting from the West Coast to the East Coast during the winter months. The Advisory Board is in evaluation mode right now. We may decide to revamp some of the course content and even consider reducing the size of the class, taking it from a maximum of 26 to perhaps 15 participants as a way to make the program more intimate and exclusive.
I’m fortunate to work with a great chairman in Leslie Rouda Smith and the rest of the Board. I’ve discovered that one of the great things about being appointed Vice Chair is that I still have a desire to learn.