Mind the Gap: Karen


Sara is a 25-year-old go-getter. She wanted to be a part of the executive committee of the local board and communicated that to Jeanette, the president of the local board. Jeanette saw the value in Sara’s input; she provides a fresh young face and is full of youthful ideas.

A problem is brought to Jeanette’s attention. Sara has missed two meetings in a row. The local Board bylaws do not allow for any electronic meetings and state that executive committee members with two unexcused absences will be replaced.

Jeanette really wants Sara to continue her dedicated service and speaks to Sara about the absences. She comes to understand that Sara would still love to be a part of the executive committee, but is not always available to attend the meetings in person. She needs to be present via Skype.

The executive committee, at the present time, is mostly Baby Boomers. How can this situation resolved?

Did you Mind the Gap correctly? See what Karen Valentine-Pond, NARLA 2012 Graduate, has to say:


As Jeannette, the president of my local board of REALTORS®, I have appointed Sara to the executive committee and a committee chair. We have held three meetings so far and two of the three meetings Sara has NOT been present.

After speaking with Sara, I find that as a Gen X, she feels that it is a waste of her time to be present in a meeting room with the rest of the executive committee. She tells me that her solution to the problem would be the opportunity to use Skype or WebEX for the meeting. After reviewing the bylaws for the board, I find that there is no provision for Web-based meetings.

On the agenda for the next meeting, we planned to discuss these issues. Sara was present, and I had her prepare a presentation to the remainder of the committee explaining the ease of holding meetings via the Web. The committee as a whole, after much deliberation, agreed to the bylaw change for Web-based meetings. The key to the approval was Sara, who went to every board member and helped them set up the WebEX and Skype program on their computer and trained them on how these programs worked. She also did a test meeting so everyone would feel comfortable.

I now have more participation at the executive committee meetings—and I have more younger members asking to be a part of the executive committee.