When I’m asked about what person inspired my passion for serving as a Realtor® volunteer , my father comes to mind. He was NAR President in 1991, and over the years I watched him run a large real estate company while still being a positive and passionate leader. And, an event played a role. Years back, I interviewed for a leadership position at a professional organization in my market. In fact, I interviewed at the same organization five times, and each time another candidate was selected.
It would have been very easy to say, “The heck with it,” and just give up. But I’ve learned to never give up if I’m passionate about a program or cause. If there’s not an opportunity in one place, there might be one someplace else. I went to another, smaller organization and was offered a leadership position on my first attempt. The lesson to share is that I kept my passion for leadership, which has resulted in a national position as Vice President on the 2013 Realtor® Leadership Team and my long commitment to the NAR Leadership Academy. And, I was just elected as Secretary/Treasurer of the Texas Association of Realtors®.
In our industry, there are many opportunities to make a difference as a Realtor ® based on your passion and expertise. The key is to identify where you can serve the membership the most. Through my involvement with the Academy, I’ve always maintained it’s important to mentor and groom future leaders – to engage them and let them find their passion
My biggest mentor and supporter has always been my husband. He’s a farm and ranch broker in our home state of Texas, and he’s been a leader in his very specialized segment of the industry for the past 35 years. I wouldn’t be where I am today without his support. And, I should call out two outstanding Realtors® — Dick Gaylord, for giving me the guidance that led to my role with the Leadership Academy, and Charles McMillan, who gave me opportunities to excel on a national level.
The Leadership Academy has, of course, been a big part of my life since its inception. I’ve had the honor of being associated with every class, and I’ve worked with just about everyone. That’s how I got my nickname of “The Godmother.” And, I’ll remain committed to help our future leaders find their way through the Academy. Applications for the 2014 class are due March 31, and we encourage all Realtors® who are interested to apply.
Education is critical to nurturing Realtors®, and I’m beyond honored to be a member of the Board of Regents and part of the development team working on Realtor® University, especially its Master of Real Estate program, which is a true master’s degree. When I was chair of the NAR Professional Development Committee, a Presidential Advisory Group was formed to study professional development, our image and raising the bar. The result was Realtor® University, and I’m proud to say that our idea is off to a rousing start and celebrated its one-year anniversary February 27.
If you’re not familiar with Realtor® University, there are five areas of concentration, and new sessions are offered every eight weeks. Learn more by visiting Realtor U calling 855-786-6546. So far, we’ve had participation from Realtors® in 26 states and Canada, and have students that range in age from 25 to 70 years of age – which is a good indication that you’re never too old to learn!
The 2013 NAR Leadership Academy class is a diverse group of REALTORS® spanning the globe. Our class this year is composed of 17 individuals who are committed to learning more about the REALTOR® organization, each other and how they can use their talents to strengthen NAR’s mission. Meet the class here.
The class met during NAR’s Annual Meeting in Orlando. Otto Catrina, past chair of the Leadership Academy, provided an overview of expectations for the NAR Leadership Academy experience. As a past graduate, Otto shared his own experience, those of his colleagues and provided an insight into life after the Academy and the role of the Advisory Board. I then provided an overview of leadership and leadership styles and challenged the class to try different styles of leadership in various situations to practice and learn what is the most effective for them.
Stephanie Singer, NAR’s Managing Director of Public Affairs shared several aspects of NAR’s programs that promote the REALTOR® brand to the general public. Stephanie also shared how NAR decides to focus on specific issues or messages that are targeted to the consumer. The class was very appreciative of all of the information and learned that the Public Advocacy campaign provides a comprehensive set of resources for the members to use, and that the campaign is not just a few commercials seen on television.
The class then had a wonderful opportunity to hear from 2012 President Moe Veissi and past president, Ron Phipps. Ron delivered a wonderful message about his leadership within the REALTOR® organization at various levels of the organization and some successes and challenges that he had faced. The group also heard from current leaders Brooke Hunt, Leslie Rouda-Smith and Elizabeth Mendenhall. These leaders shared how an idea turns into an actionable program within the REALTOR® organization. Each of these leaders have lead and participated in different committees and Presidential Advisory Groups that were challenged to determine the course of action and direction that the organization needed to take in response to market situations.
The class had a team-building assignment that took them all over downtown Orlando working in various ways of as a team, learning about each other’s strengths and how to best collaborate to achieve a goal. The end of the day concluded with a wrap-up of each team’s performance and a well-deserved group dinner.
Our next session will take place January 28-29th in Washington DC where the class will learn about NAR’s regulatory and legislative initiatives.
For more information on the National Association of REALTORS Leadership Academy (NARLA) and to apply for the graduating class of 2014 visit REALTOR.org/LeadershipAcademy
2011 marks the fifth Academy class, and I’m happy to say that I have been involved in every one of the five classes. Each year the board reviews and refines the program with the goal in mind to ignite the leadership passion of each individual.
What I enjoy most is the opportunity to help Academy participants find a place where they can reach their own personal goals. I firmly believe that mentoring is a key component of leadership, especially among volunteers. The Academy is a place where aspiring leaders find supportive colleagues. I think this is an advantage to the REALTOR association model, a place where people who’ve had individual success as entrepreneurs now have the opportunity to work collectively for the good of the profession.
I have a couple of passions that drive my involvement as a volunteer leader; the Realtors® Political Action Committee and professional development. I served as the fundraising chair for NAR this year. It’s an exhausting schedule of meetings, and it’s exhilarating. Especially when I see that moment of recognition for people when they realize the efforts the PAC funds shapes the future of our businesses. On the education front, I have been appointed to the REALTOR® University board of Regents. REALTOR® University is set to offer high-quality entrepreneurial and career-oriented programs in real estate. I want each of the Academy participants to make their own decisions, we have a great group that I know will take advantage of the networking and educational opportunities that are part of the Leadership Academy experience.
When my year as chair ends, for both the Academy and RPAC, it doesn’t mean my passion will dwindle for either cause. I believe that we’re creating the future by our actions today. Developing the future leaders for the National Association of REALTORS® is to create a compelling vision of the vitality of organized real estate.
I encourage all Realtors® to get involved in whatever drives your passions. In my twenty five years of being a REALTOR volunteer leader I’ve had many roles and plan to continue my involvement. Currently, I’m running for 2014 secretary/treasurer of the Texas Association of Realtors® and in 2013 at NAR I will be the Liaison to Committees for Gary Thomas.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader, a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves.” I aspire to leave a legacy of confident, motivated volunteer leaders. We’re always working on improving ourselves and on that course of personal improvement we need to be willing to learn from others. Participating in the Academy helps the participants grow as professionals, and serving as Chair this year helped me, too. I like to say I’m “under construction and will never be complete.”
As told by Leslie Rouda-Smith, Otto Catrina and Pat Pipkin
The NAR Leadership Academy is going through some changes. Beginning with the selection process for the 2012 class applicants may now be asked for an in person or Skype interview. Chairman of the Academy Advisory Board Leslie Rouda-Smith, “The goal of the Academy is to identify those with potential for leadership at the national level. The interviews give us a chance to discover each person as an individual and find out their passions to create a mix of people that will progress and grow.” With this in mind the advisory board is going to choose a smaller size class than previous years, “we’ll make sure that we have a complementary group of talents and diversity for leadership at NAR.”
“Each of us on the board put in hours of time reviewing the applications before we get to the actual selection meeting. The diversity of perspectives among the board members in the room and the open dialogue we have during the process really contributes to what we hope will be a well-rounded representation of our membership” says, Otto Catrina, Vice Chairman of the board. The Advisory Board is a group of ten; eight REALTORS®, two of which are graduates of the Academy; one state Association Executive and one local Association Executive. They met during the recent Midyear Business meetings in Washington DC to begin the selection process for the class that will graduate in May 2012.
“The advisory board is always looking for ways to improve the program and the interviews are a change in process that allows the board to connect faces and names, it’s a benefit for the candidate and to the selection process” says Pat Pipkin of New Mexico, immediate past Chairman of the board. “With the smaller, more elite group size and the use of interviews, we hope to get a really dynamic group of future leaders.”
The Leadership Academy Advisory board is:
Leslie Rouda-Smith, Chairman from Plano, Texas, Otto Catrina, Vice Chairman from Castro Valley, California, Pat Pipkin, Immediate Past Chairman from Santa Fe, New Mexico, Jill Beck, Executive Vice President of North Dakota Association of REALTORS®, Bonnie J. Boyd from Mentor, Ohio, Ingrid Glancy, from Denver, Colorado, Brenda G. Ghibaudi, CRS, PMN from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Dwight Hale, from San Antonio, Texas, Theresa Hatton, Executive Vice President of the Greenwich Association of REALTORS®, Mary T. McCall from Tampa, Florida.
When members of the 2011 NAR Leadership Academy met in Chicago for session IV, we knew we were near the end of our time together; not surprisingly, our class has grown closer and friendships have gotten stronger. After all, learning and building relationships are paramount to the program’s success. Even though we have our own aspirations and are determined to succeed, we work as a team and are supportive of the collective efforts and achievements. Together we’ve helped build and pave the future of our profession. Synergy among our group is outstanding.
We started the session with a Tuesday evening reception where we mingled and got caught up on business and personal affairs. On Wednesday morning, Chairman of the Advisory Board Leslie Rouda-Smith offered some opening remarks, followed by Vice Chairman Otto Catrina, who hosted a session entitled “Modeling the Way.” He offered these characteristics of great leaders: Honesty, forward looking, competency, inspiring, credibility and shared values. Otto shared his own experience as a member of first Academy class and pointed out how his leadership experience evolved.
Later we toured the Realtor® building, an amazing experience. We met with a wide range of department heads and staff representing the library and Information Central, Center for Realtor® Technology, Marketing and Business Development, Realtor® University, Commercial, Conventions, the NAR Executive Offices, and the Global Alliance. Passion and dedication from our staff was clearly displayed by all.
The Chopping Block was our dinner destination. It’s a cooking school and retail space that let guests cook their own dinner. Wow! What an awesome team-building activity. As we walked into the “kitchen,” appetizers and drinks were offered. We had professional chefs assist us through the entire evening. We will long remember this wonderful experience.
The next day, we received a great deal of insight into the complex organization that comprises NAR. Erin Campo from NAR Executive Offices provided the NAR Governance overview. She explained the importance of the expertise profile and the responsibilities and criteria necessary for committee involvement. It is interesting to learn about the appointment process, where each year 1,500 positions are filled based on 7,000 recommendations from 2,000 applicants.
We also heard from national leaders. Elizabeth Mendenhall, Vice President and Liaison to Committees, shared the NAR strategic planning vision, its purpose and process. And, Charles McMillan, 2009 NAR President, offered insight regarding his path to national leadership and the rewards and sacrifices of being President of the world’s largest trade organization.
As we finished the session, we had to say good bye and look forward to our final session in Washington DC during the spring meetings in May. We look forward to our graduation and one more opportunity to celebrate our accomplishments together! Must say the Class of 2011 rocks!
As the 2011 Chair of the NAR Leadership Academy Advisory Board, I’m sure I’ll get asked this question in the upcoming year: “Has the Academy reached the goals established when the program was founded?” My answer would be a resounding: “Absolutely!”
The Academy was founded in 2008 on the principle that we can mentor and guide REALTORS and identify those who have the skills, talents and commitment that NAR is looking for to lead the organization in the future.
But from another perspective, it’s an initiative that continues to evolve; we’re always evaluating the program to keep moving it forward, to keep progressing toward another level. We want to set an example for the entire real estate industry, and our key goal is to give those REALTORS who participate the training and insight they can’t get anyplace else.
Across the nation, there are some really great state and local leadership programs, and some have been around for several years. We strive to give Academy participants something different – whether it’s the leadership training, the mentoring or the kind of relationships that they build through the program.
I think that what we’re doing here goes way beyond the real estate industry and what’s taking place at the state associations. There is a bigger picture perspective here regarding what’s good for our economy and the nation.
Here’s an example. The next meeting of the current Academy class will be February 1 during the NAR Policy Conference in Washington. I’ve been involved with the REALTOR Political Action Committee for 25 years, and I know this will be a wonderful opportunity for the Academy participants to get a firsthand perspective on the kind of national legislative issues brought before REALTORS.
These issues define who we are as REALTORS, and we get a chance to rank them at a town hall meeting. I still remember my first time attending a Policy conference and thought, “How cool is this! We get to learn about how policy is made, the legislative process, what our lobbyists do.”
Nationally, we’re still suffering with today’s housing market, although there are some positive signs that things will get better in 2011. There are some legislative issues pending we believe will help the housing industry and the economy. So it’s important that REALTORS deliver the message that home ownership matters, and I hope the Academy will share the knowledge and wisdom of our PAC efforts within their communities.
I’ve been on the Advisory Board since the first NAR Leadership Academy class, and I think that the Board members set an example for the participants. We have to be careful about how we handle our role because there are different styles of leadership. I have a great Vice Chair in Otto Catrina, who did go through the Academy and is the first graduate to serve in a leadership role. Our door will always be open because we want to keep making the program the best it can be.
The primary goal of the NAR Leadership Academy – to nurture future REALTOR® leaders over a nine-month, five-session training and team-building program – has remained constant since the initiative was launched with the class of 2008. But the exercises we employ to realize that goal continue to evolve.
As the outgoing Chair of the Academy Advisory Board, I’ve been fortunate to have been a member of the Board since the first class. It was critical from the onset of the program that the Board could implement revisions to training and development that would best serve the men and women who were participating. Each year, the Board had to take a hard look at every session to determine what worked, what didn’t work and how we could make the program better.
Looking back in my year as Chair, I can point to two key accomplishments. One was the ability to be fluid in planning the individual Academy courses and adjusting them for each class. And, the second was to communicate to the Board the importance of working with the NAR staff when considering suggestions on how to improve or delete course content. Personally, serving as Chair further enhanced my ability to evaluate endeavors and accomplishments in my real estate business, and look forward to see how I could work smarter.
If I could point to a defining moment the past year, it was this: It became very apparent to me that all of us who are involved with NAR in a leadership capacity — whether it’s on a state or local level — have a passion for the organization and are entrenched in the real estate industry.
We each may have a different understanding of the process in which things get done, the particular programs and their respective goals. Yet, in my role as Chair certainly reconfirmed the importance of knowing how to listen, how to come together and how to work together in an atmosphere of cooperation.
From a broader perspective, the past year illustrated how important it is for a leader to be a true team member and not have his or her own agenda. And, I gained a much better understanding of NAR and our industry, which is continually changing. It’s very important today to keep up to date on new business models, especially this year, with the many challenges facing the economy and the housing market.
As a REALTOR®, my work as Chair made it very clear to me that you have to look at the big picture. You have look and take a deep breath, and then see everything that’s in that large picture. That tells you where you’ve been, and more importantly, where you need to go.
It just so happens that the person who will follow me, Leslie Rouda-Smith, is extremely well-qualified because she has the advantage of having served on the Board; and, like me, has been involved since the first class. She knows that with each class, there are new challenges because every class is different.
By Leslie Rouda-Smith
The U.S. economy continues to take small steps toward recovery and shake off the effects of the recession that crippled the nation in a way not witnessed for generations. Yes, there’s been progress; but plain and simple, we have a ways to go before we can say with conviction that the recession is over.
It’s times like this that those ready to lead really show their mettle. Clearly, the nation must look to strong leaders who can champion policies and practices that get the economy back on solid ground. Real estate — a pivotal component in the national economy – needs leaders who can inspire, take charge and energize the troubled residential and commercial sectors.
As the 2011 Chair of the NAR Leadership Academy Advisory Board, I’m proud to announce the names of 27 REALTORS® who comprise the Leadership Academy class of 2011. These REALTORS®, already leaders within their respective state or local associations, will work hard and over the next nine months.
They’ll gain first-hand insight into the workings of the Realtor® organization through interaction with national leaders. They’ll learn to think strategically following participation in group projects and workshops. They’ll get a better grasp of the world around them, as well as themselves. And, of course, they’ll master team-building techniques and leadership skills.
REALTORS® from 20 states and just about as many professional backgrounds comprise the 2011 class:
• Louis Baldwin, GRI, of Winston Salem, NC
• Matthew Case, CNS, GRI of Benzonia, MI
• Mike Craddock, RPA of Tulsa, OK
• Ansel Crombleholme, ePRO of Rochester, NH
• Debra Greene, ABR, CIPS, CRS, Green, GRI, SFS of Plymouth, MN
• Kathy Haddock, ABR, GRI of Duluth, GA
• Keith Kanemoto of Longmont, CO
• Linda Lee, CRS, CIPS, GRI, ePRO, PMN of San Diego, CA
• Victoria Lowry, AHWD, CPM, Green of Pittsburgh, PA
• Reinaldo Mesa, CRB, CRS of Sunrise, FL
• Sean Moore, CFS, SRES, ePRO of Columbia, MO
• Karen O’Donnell, ABR of Mayfield Heights, OH
• Patricia Ohmberger, CRS, GRI, LTG, PMN of Lincoln, NE
• Craig Ragg, SFR, SRES of Castro Valley, CA
• David Raphael, sfr of Essex, VT
• Matthew Ritchie, CCIM of Alexandria, LA
• Laurie Rushing of Hot Springs, AR
• Veronica Seva-Gonzalez, CIPS, GRI, TRC of Washington, DC
• Suzanne Sherer, ABR, GRI of Cape Coral, FL
• Janice Shows, ABR, GRI, SRS, ePRO of Ridgeland, MS
• Sherri Souza, CRS, GRI, PMN of Livermore, CA
• Hagan Stone, ABR, CRS of Brentwood, TN
• Zsolt Szerencses, CIPS, TRC, ePRO of Winter Park, FL
• Christopher Allen Tenggren, ABR, AHWD of St. Charles, IL
• Jason Wright of Tyler, TX
• Leigh York, ABR, CRS, GRI of Weatherford, TX
• Jennie Zopfi, ABR, GRI, ePRO Dayton, TN
These professionals, and the 80 who represented the three previous Academy classes, have made a commitment to themselves, to the REALTOR® organization and to the real estate industry. They’re sacrificing time and extending personal resources to take part in what will prove to be a very challenging time in their lives. Their journey begins in early August. Join me in offering a round of congratulations.