Permission to Dream

I wouldn’t be where I am in this season of success if, early in my career, my association hadn’t invested in developing my skills, talents and abilities.

Of course, most professionals must possess the drive, the will and the ambition to elevate. But being open to learning new things and poised to jump at the right opportunity are key!

Professional development is essential in every industry. It gives an individual the opportunity to be better and become more efficient in their skill set. It also broadens their horizons.

It is important that association executives understand that professional development can be achieved and offered in many forms. The opportunities are abundant, from taking classes and attending relevant workshops and industry conferences to simply earning a certificate to expand your knowledge in a particular field.

In my experience, it was receiving my REALTOR® association Certified Executive designation, Professional Standards Administrator training, and the Certified International Property Specialist designation—all in a three-year time frame—that truly opened my eyes to a career in REALTOR® association management. Don’t get me wrong; I enjoyed being a government affairs director in the exciting advocacy realm. However, until I was challenged to learn and understand more about our industry and truly comprehend all facets of the association and how we serve our members, I never really saw myself leading as a CEO.

I was comfortable and very happy as a GAD, but you just don’t know what you don’t know. Sometimes your professional development will expand the limits that you unconsciously set for yourself! More knowledge in your field gives you permission to dream.

I am particularly excited about this AExperience edition highlighting professional development and how to become the consummate pro. I’m a firm believer that a successful AE will be a forever student. If you love what you do, you’ll never be complacent, and you’ll never lose your hunger to be greater and serve your staff and members better. I hope this edition inspires you to dream bigger, invest in your staff and challenge yourself from time to time.


Written by: Jessica Coates, RCE, is CEO of the Sacramento Association of REALTORS® and 2023 AEC chair.


About AExperience

All state and local REALTOR® association executives, association communication directors, regional MLS executives, and Government Affairs Directors receive AExperience at no cost. Issues are mailed to the address found in NAR’s M1 system. To update your AExperience subscription preferences, update your mailing address in M1.

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