Mind the Gap: Tamara


The government affairs committee at your local association of REALTORS® is planning an event to honor major investors in RPAC. During a brainstorming session, a heated debate ensues over the venue, theme, timeline and marketing of the event.

Jenny is a 26-year-old REALTOR® who suggests hosting the event at a newly constructed, LEED certified home, and inviting local municipalities to participate in a discussion on conservation and point-of-sale mandates. A few committee members get very excited about this fresh idea, which could allow REALTORS® and municipalities learn how to “green a home” and network in a relaxed environment.

Barbara is 68 years old. She has served on this committee for over 10 years and feels this venue would “cheapen” the event. She insists on the country club because “this is where we have always held our event and our members have an expectation.” Barbara demands planning an event with a five-month horizon, while Jenny and others promise to gain more attendance within six weeks using their networks and social media.

You are the Baby Boomer RPAC chair, and while this event is very important, you need to finalize the details and continue with other agenda items. How do you proceed?

Did you Mind the Gap correctly? See what Tamara Suminski, NARLA 2012 Graduate, has to say:


As the committee chairperson, I like the idea of a fresh event that may attract new attendees. As a Baby Boomer, I am optimistic and do not mind challenging the status quo. However I am sensitive to Barbara’s need for security and tradition, while excited about Jenny’s energy and passion. At the end of the day, my job is to reach a harmonious outcome, where we reach the goals intended of the committee, which is to promote education and awareness of local political issues affecting REALTORS® and acknowledge and reward our RPAC major investors.

Jenny doesn’t understand why Barbara is angry with her and seemingly very stubborn about trying a new idea. Jenny knows that she can help create excitement and a buzz for the event and get a larger group of peers involved to market and host a successful event. While many of the committee members support her idea and have witnessed her success with other committees, Jenny needs to understand the reason for Barbara’s reluctance and be more sensitive to the resistance to change.

As a Silent [wouldn’t she be a Boomer?], Barbara is comfortable maintaining a tradition by hosting an event in a familiar venue that is more formal. Barbara is accustomed to sending formal invitations and reviewing the details, several months in advance. Barbara feels overwhelmed by Jenny’s ideas to change everything.

As a long-standing committee member, the new kid on the block offends Barbara, who has worked very hard on this event and within the committee over the years. What Barbara may not realize is that Jenny is just as passionate for the cause, with a strong sense of civic duty and the desire to maximize the success of the event. It may be best to create an event subcommittee with Barbara, Jenny and a few others to coordinate the details at a later time.

Prior to meeting again, it would be wise to speak with them each separately about their points of view and allow them to see that they each have the committee’s best interest in mind. Perhaps it would be best to host the event at the original venue and infuse some of Jenny’s ideas to modernize the event and use the LEED-certified home for a future event. Or maybe the group will decide to run with Jenny’s idea and try a new venue. Once each member understands the other’s point of view and has a fluid conversation, they may be more open to collaborating on this event. Hopefully they can each learn from the situation and work better together in the future.