Dorcas T. Helfant-Browning, a native of Chesapeake, VA, was president of the National Association of REALTORS® in 1992. She was the first woman to lead the National Association, and, at the age of 45, was one of the youngest people to serve as NAR president at that point in the organization’s history.
Helfant-Browning’s presidency coincided with the beginnings of a recovery period for the housing market and the economy in general. Early in her tenure as president, Helfant-Browning joined other real estate at a White House meeting to urge the Bush administration to support tax reforms that would stimulate the nation's economy and help relieve the credit crunch for commercial and investment property. Under her leadership, NAR members lobbied Congress to enact changes in passive loss rules and other tax provisions that would help strengthen the market’s recovery. The association’s grass-roots efforts also helped secure passage of legislation to raise FHA loan limits and repeal a closing cost restriction that had cut tens of thousands of potential homebuyer out of the FHA market.
The National Association also continued efforts to encourage state legislatures to enact seller disclosure legislation in 1992, and developed a comprehensive report on agency representation issues. Helfant-Browning also focused on bringing about changes to the National Association’s internal structures, including new strategic planning and budgeting processes, and emphasized the importance of REALTOR® involvement in the political landscape.
She has been an NAR director since 1983 and taken on active roles in numerous national committees. She served as chairman of the Political Affairs, Government Affairs Strategy, Institute Advisory, and Nominating Committees, served as a trustee of the REALTORS® Political Action Committee (RPAC), and has been a member of the International Operations and Global Business & Alliances committees. She was named a member of the advisory council of Fannie Mae in 1993.
On the regional and local levels, Helfant-Browning served as president of the Tidewater Board of REALTORS® in 1980 and the Virginia Association of REALTORS® in 1984. Both groups have honored her with the REALTOR® of the Year award.
Helfant-Browning began her real estate career in 1967, shortly after the birth of her first child. Seven years later, she was owner of her own firm, which affiliated with Coldwell Banker in 1989. She is currently a managing partner and principal broker with Coldwell Banker Professional REALTORS® in Virginia Beach.
An active volunteer in her community, she was named Hampton Roads Woman of the Year in 1990 and has served for many years on the board of directors of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce. She was president of the Tidewater Council of Boy Scouts in 2004 and served on the board of trustees of Human Bayside Hospital. In 1992 she received an honorary PhD in the humanities from Commonwealth College of Virginia. She was chairwoman of Tidewater Community College, and currently serves on Virginia’s State Board of Community Colleges.
Source: National Association of REALTORS® Archives