Joseph Doherty

President of the National Association of REALTORS® - 1974

This country may have faced a severe energy shortage in 1974, but there was no lack of energy in the leadership of the National Association of REALTORS®. Joseph Doherty*, REALTOR® president in 1974, was an energetic leader all his professional life.

When Mr. Doherty assumed the presidency of the Association in 1974, he was faced with three major problems. Solving them became his goals and those solutions remain among his major accomplishments.

The impact of the Association's decision to allow REALTOR-ASSOCIATES® as a member classification was felt in 1974. With the tremendous growth in membership, the Association staff was neither large enough or, in many areas, competent enough, to do the necessary work of the newly aggressive organization.

Mr. Doherty hired a consulting firm to assess the staff needs. "The Arthur D. Little Company took a look at our staff and then introduced a management by objective system in the staff organization," Mr. Doherty explained. "They helped us to identify certain areas where we needed to increase the levels of competence and to employ new, highly qualified people. And we did."

Overhauling the Association's staff to allow it to deal effectively with its own numbers was just the first of the three problem areas for Mr. Doherty.

In 1974, serious problems arose in the relationship between the National Association and some of its "family" members. Two affiliates wanted out, and it was up to President Doherty to smooth the ruffled feathers.

Doherty's solution was "to provide the kind of autonomy that the affiliates needed and were entitled to and, at the same time, retain their loyalty and their interrelation with the National Association."

The effectiveness of his solution is borne out in the simple fact of its endurance. The alliance between the National Association and its institutes, societies and councils today is very solid.

Mr. Doherty also presided over the Association in a recession year that was compounded by the first critical peacetime energy crisis. The housing industry was particularly hard hit in the 1974 recession and Mr. Doherty spent a good deal of his time in Washington working to ease the strain on REALTORS® and the real estate industry.

With the dramatic increase in Association membership, Washington began to listen to what the National Association of REALTORS® had to say. President Gerald Ford invited Mr. Doherty to participate in his National Economic Conference. Mr. Doherty told the President, "We believe that a reduction in federal spending should be accompanied by an immediate easing of the tight monetary policy that has forced housing to bear an inordinate share of the burden of inflation and recession."

Mr. Doherty formed the REALTOR® Committee on Energy to insure industry input with the Federal Energy Office. In meetings throughout the year with FEO, the committee made an all-out effort to lay claim to fair treatment for the industry during the gas crisis.

Mr. Doherty was a graduate of Boston College and earned a master's degree in education from Harvard. His career was marked with a strong interest in education, leading him to the chairmanship of REALTOR® Education Committee at the local, state, national and international levels. Before his involvement in real estate, Mr. Doherty taught high school for 10 years in his native Andover, Mass., and served as superintendent of two different public school systems in Connecticut.

Mr. Doherty also served as president of the American Chapter of the International Real Estate Federation (1978).

Source: Presidents of the National Association of REALTORS®, (Chicago: NAR, 1980).