A Personal Revolution for Bill Brown

The 2017 NAR president reflects on how challenges have shaped the industry and changed his life over the last year.

When I was installed as president of the National Association of REALTORS® a year ago in November, my inaugural address focused on the revolution occurring within our industry and how REALTORS® must drive innovation and embrace change. With legislative, MLS, technology, and market forces advancing rapidly, I knew 2017 would be an unpredictable year for REALTORS®. What I didn’t anticipate was the personal revolution that lay ahead of me.

The health struggles I endured this year have been no secret. I developed severe pulmonary issues after receiving a strong antibiotic that knocked down my immune system. As the symptoms worsened through the spring, I was put on oxygen, and it soon became clear that I needed an organ transplant. Accepting that my survival was dependent on a successful double lung transplant surgery was, literally, a life-changing moment. Since my surgery in August, I’ve gained an appreciation for each new day.

As I pen this last column as NAR president, my personal revolution encompasses a journey to healing. This ordeal has been challenging, but a revolution is never easy. It changes all who take up arms, whether it be an individual or an industry. I am not letting the obstacles get me down. I have so much to be thankful for. At the top of the list: my faith, my family, the doctors and nurses who have become an extension of my family, and all of you, my REALTOR® family.

Since I started my career over 35 years ago, this association has been my rock, providing the foundation I needed to help build and maintain a successful real estate practice. Over the last few months, however, this relationship has become even more meaningful. The opportunity to serve as NAR president and help move our industry forward has powered me through my personal setback.

With your support and service, we have made great strides to ensure sound success for REALTORS® and for our industry. There’s a lot to be proud of—the Sustainable Homeownership Conference, which explored ways to increase opportunities for buyers, a successful Call for Action to extend the National Flood Insurance Program, your generous contributions to the REALTORS® Relief Foundation, and, last but not least, the appointment of NAR’s new CEO, Bob Goldberg. (Read about Goldberg’s vision for knocking down the ivory tower here).As I prepare to pass the gavel to 2018 President Elizabeth Mendenhall, I feel good about the direction our association and our members are headed. Our industry is still in the midst of a revolution, but REALTORS® are well positioned to thrive.

With gratitude to my unknown organ donor, a final note: Please consider signing up on your state registry to be a donor. One day you just might confer the ultimate gift of life.