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 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.
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.