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Austin, Texas: ‘Sea of Purple’ Shows Commitment to Policy, Not Politics
The south mall of the Texas capitol building in Austin turned into a sea of purple March 22 as REALTORS® showed their passion for protecting property rights and championing housing policies in the state—an issue that largely brings people in the blue and red corners of the political spectrum together.
The Riding with the Brand motorcoach was flanked by about 3,500 members of Texas REALTORS®, some of whom traveled more than 500 miles across the state for the association’s REALTOR® Day at the Texas Capitol. Attendees started the day with a rally on the capitol’s steps, which was led by leaders from Texas REALTORS® and the National Association of REALTORS®, before holding meetings with elected officials.
Texas REALTORS® Chairman Marcus Phipps thanked the crowd, decked out in purple jackets, shirts and shoes, for being part of the “purple solution.” “Our policy positions are never red; they are never blue,” Phipps said. “Our positions are based on policy, not politics.”
In meetings with 181 legislators and statewide leaders, Texas REALTORS® discussed the association’s legislative priorities, including reining in property taxes through effective, sustainable and equitable methods; protecting property owners from undue burdens; making investments in the state’s infrastructure; and supporting the day-to-day business activities of REALTORS®.
Resolutions were read in the Texas House and Senate, declaring Texas REALTORS® Day at the State Capitol and praising REALTORS® for their vital role in their communities. “We are more than a transaction,” said NAR Region 10 Vice President Cindi Bulla. “We are building communities across the nation.” Bulla, NAR President Kenny Parcell and NAR President-elect Tracy Kasper greeted REALTORS® who took tours of the Riding with the Brand bus and motorcycle, played cornhole and talked about a range of topics.
“I wanted to be here in person,” said a Texas commercial real estate specialist who was a first-time attendee at the REALTOR® Day at the Texas Capitol. “It’s one thing to interact with your association from a computer, but there’s nothing like being here.”
–Marty Kramer, director of communications, Texas REALTORS®
Atlanta: Georgia Has REALTOR® Pride on Its Mind
More than 800 Georgia REALTORS® greeted the Riding with the Brand motorcoach as it pulled into Atlanta on March 1 for the state association’s annual REALTOR® Days at the Dome Legislative Conference. A longstanding tradition for the Georgia Association of REALTORS®, the conference provides members a chance to get face time with their elected officials and discuss issues pertaining to private property rights, homeownership and the real estate industry in Georgia.
GAR President Lisa Scully notes that members raised $100,000 for RPAC at an auction the night before the RWTB event, excitement was in the air from the first moment. “As soon as everyone arrived at the [RWTB] event, they went directly to the bus and started snapping photos, recording videos and sharing them across their social media channels,” Scully says. “I was eager to check it all out myself—and even got the chance to ‘drive’ the bus!”
Joey Tucker, member services liaison for the National Association of REALTORS®, kicked off the event with a rousing speech noting the intersection of real estate and policymaking. “I’m thrilled that Riding with the Brand was able to interact with two of our audiences: our members and our elected officials,” Tucker says. “When our legislators were done speaking to our group, many of them walked over to check out the bus and motorcycle. Attorney General Chris Carr recorded a message for his social media followers in front of the REALTOR® bus, and Gov. Brian Kemp and First Lady Marty Kemp stopped by as well. [RWTB] was definitely a popular addition to the conference!”
Both Scully and Tucker visited Kemp’s office to present him with a Riding with the Brand belt buckle.
GAR members enjoyed having a new element to explore during the event. Members took turns taking selfies with the REALTOR®-branded motorcycle, exploring the motorcoach and playing cornhole between meetings with elected officials. There also were a couple of bus photo ops inside the event, which were a huge hit.
Rodney Rawls, a member from Savannah, says he was thrilled to see NAR have a bold presence at a GAR event. “I am so grateful that NAR decided to put REALTOR® Days at the Dome on the Riding with the Brand schedule,” he says. “It takes an event that is already great up another notch.”
One memorable moment was when conference attendees filed out of the venue for a large group shot. “I think this will encourage Georgia REALTORS® to attend NAR events,” Scully says. “By coming to us on this tour, NAR is building pride and cultivating active and engaged members at every level of the REALTOR® organization.”
–Brandie Miner, director of communications and marketing, Georgia Association of REALTORS®
Little Rock, Ark.: The Power of Uniting Behind a Common Purpose
More than 250 REALTORS® assembled at the Arkansas State Capitol in Little Rock Feb. 21 for a Riding with the Brand event as part of the Arkansas REALTORS® annual REALTOR® Day at the Capitol. REALTOR® Day at the Capitol highlights the association’s legislative and advocacy efforts, while providing the chance for members to meet with their state legislators and talk about advocacy goals.
Pete Kopf, 2023 vice president of advocacy for the National Association of REALTORS®, was on hand to talk about what it really means to ride with the REALTOR® brand.
“We thoroughly enjoyed having Pete with us to remind our members of the importance of always ‘Riding with the Brand,’ as well as the impact we can have when we come together and unite in our purpose,” says 2023 Arkansas REALTORS® President Paulette Richie. “Fighting for private property rights in Arkansas is something we take pride in, and having 250 REALTORS® show up to meet with their state legislators just reinforces our commitment to fighting for Arkansans across the state.”
Kopf presented a Riding with the Brand belt buckle to Frankie Rivers, ABR, GRI, an agent with RE/MAX Elite in Benton, Ark. Arkansas REALTORS® leadership chose Rivers—for her work at both the local and the state level—as someone who truly embodies the REALTOR® spirit.
In addition to Kopf, Arkansas Speaker of the House Matthew Shepherd, Arkansas Senate President Pro Tempore Bart Hester, and Arkansas State Rep. Clint Penzo, a REALTOR® from Fayetteville, Ark., joined REALTORS® for the event.
“Having members of the legislature and special guests from NAR in attendance was such a special treat for our members,” says Richie. “The Riding with the Brand event is the perfect way to showcase that REALTOR® spirit and show off all the hard work our members put back into their communities each and every day.”
– B.J. Matthews, director of public relations and meeting planning, Arkansas REALTORS®
Lexington, Ky.: REALTORS® Find They Have Advocates, Too
The Riding with the Brand motorcoach stopped in the Bluegrass State on Feb. 17 during the annual Kentucky REALTORS® Legislative Meetings in Lexington, Ky., with more than 200 members gathering to take selfies with the RWTB bus and motorcycle, play cornhole, and discuss the power of the REALTOR® brand. Members croded onto the bus throughout the chilly morning for meetings and photo opportunities. They were asked to show off their REALTOR® pride on social media.
Some members got a sneak preview of the RWTB setup while participating in an RPAC mixology event, where they taste-tested signature cocktails at the Malone’s Prime venue in Lexington. Later, members crowded into the venue to hear NAR First Vice President Kevin Sears and Vice President of Advocacy Pete Kopf discuss what being a REALTOR® means to both the real estate industry and consumers. It was the first time ever that the Kentucky association had two NAR leaders in the room at the same time. It also was Sears’ first time visiting Kentucky, so members enjoyed introducing him to the state’s famed bourbon.
The Riding with the Brand event capped off the weeklong Kentucky REALTORS® Legislative Meetings, where members conveyed the importance of homeownership and consumer protections in meetings with their legislators at the state Capitol. “The brand encapsulates who we are not only as REALTORS® but industry professionals who have the best interests of our communities at heart,” says Kentucky REALTORS® President Elizabeth Monarch. “When a member of the public sees the ‘R,’ we want them to know that REALTORS® are on Capitol Hill fighting and advocating for the importance of homeownership.”
Kentucky REALTORS® viewed the Riding with the Brand tour as creating synergy between the local, state and national associations, and it emphasized that members have advocates for their business at every level of the REALTOR® organization.
–Kentucky REALTORS® COO Kyle Tetzlaff
Oklahoma City: REALTORS® Put the ‘Home’ in ‘Oklahoma’
Welcoming National Association of REALTORS® Treasurer Greg Hrabcak, Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell, and former Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, more than 200 REALTORS® from across the state of Oklahoma were Riding with the Brand in style Feb. 14.
The Capitol Conference kicked off with a welcome reception at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, where Oklahoma REALTORS® had the chance to network with fellow members as well as state senators and representatives. A western theme got REALTORS® ready for Riding with the Brand.
NAR Treasurer Greg Hrabcak kicked off the next morning with a message about the power of the REALTOR® brand and the financial strength of the National Association of REALTORS®. Afterward, Oklahoma REALTORS® heard from Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell, who recently used his leadership position to build the state of Oklahoma’s brand and show that Oklahoma is more than just “OK.”
From there, we headed to the state capitol to meet with state legislators and other elected officials. Our REALTORS® were able to promote the REALTOR® brand to their state representatives and senators, as well as Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and House Speaker Charles McCall, who both stopped by the Riding with the Brand motorcoach when it was parked in front of the state capitol.
Last, we headed back to the museum for a keynote lunch with former Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett. Named one of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders” by Fortune in 2018, Mayor Cornett shared his expertise in building Oklahoma City’s brand during his four terms as mayor and talked with REALTORS® about how to build their personal brands.
Being a REALTOR® in Oklahoma is something that our members should be proud of. Oklahoma’s state motto is labor omnia vincit, or work conquers all. As REALTORS®, we know the truth of that, showing up every day to help our clients reach their dreams.
As for Riding with the Brand, we are not finished just because the event ended. This ride is a lifelong journey, from protecting property rights to promoting the American dream of home ownership. That’s the REALTOR® brand. That’s who we are.
–Oklahoma Association of REALTORS® President Julie Smith
Denver: Rocky Mountain High on REALTOR® Spirit
Climbing more than 5,000 feet in elevation, the Riding with the Brand motorcoach came to the Rocky Mountains, pulling into Denver’s bustling downtown to the fanfare of more than 220 Colorado REALTORS®. Members from every corner of the state came together Feb. 8–9 for the Colorado Association of REALTORS®’ Economic Summit and REALTOR® Day, which also drew state lawmakers and industry experts who outlined their predictions for the real estate market.
Throughout the two-day event, CAR President Natalie Davis, AHWD, SRES, C2EX, and CEO Tyrone Adams, CAE, RCE, discussed with members how the REALTOR® brand impacted their careers as well as how to embrace and prepare for change, achieve work-life balance and make a difference in the real estate industry. Economists spoke about ways in which Colorado is leading the nation in affordable-housing development and credit-building programs. Eleni Angelides, deputy legislative director for Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, joined lawmakers from the state House and Senate to talk about housing policy and bills currently under consideration. And Kristy Hairston, EPRO, SFR, C2EX, NAR’s RPAC fundraising liaison, explained the importance of supporting REALTOR® candidates for state and local offices.
Colorado REALTORS® raised more than $53,000 for RPAC at the REALTOR® Day reception.
The Riding with the Brand motorcoach, which was only a block from the Colorado state capitol building, attracted both REALTORS® and Denver residents alike. CAR members were encouraged to post a photo of themselves with the bus on social media and talk about why they are proud to be a REALTOR®.
“We created an opportunity to showcase the value of a REALTOR® with our members as well as with our local elected officials and community partners,” Davis says of CAR’s Riding with the Brand event. “One distinct difference about working with a REALTOR® can be found in our advocacy work. This year, we had the opportunity to identify proposed bills that could directly impact homeownership and property rights for Coloradans. When it comes to Riding with the Brand, REALTORS® are the brand—and the brand is us. Together, we are working to protect private property rights and advocate for housing availability and attainability.”
“We came together to share perspectives, gain insights on our state and national economy, meet with our state’s elected leaders and celebrate the strength and power of the REALTOR® brand and our work on behalf of consumers across the country,” Adams adds.
–Lisa Hansmeier, vice president of member engagement and public relations, Colorado Association of REALTORS®
Columbia, S.C.: Learning From a REALTOR® Champion
The memory of NAR leader Margo Wheeler, who died of cancer Jan. 28, was on the minds of the more than 300 REALTORS® who welcomed the Riding with the Brand motorcoach to Columbia, S.C., on Feb. 2. The bus pulled into the South Carolina REALTORS®’ annual Capitol Conference & Leadership Training, a two-day event that highlights the association’s legislative and advocacy efforts and supports future real estate leaders.
NAR Regional Vice President Amy Hedgecock, who serves Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, kicked off the leadership training day with a tribute to Wheeler and a passionate speech about the purpose and importance of the REALTOR® brand. Columbia Mayor Daniel Rickenmann and state association President Rob Woodul also were on hand during the welcome event.
SCR CEO Nick Kremydas presented Woodul with a set of spurs as a gift from Wyoming REALTORS®, which hosted the previous stop on the tour. Kremydas also gave away two Riding with the Brand belt buckles and held a drawing for a grand prize, a Cowboy electric bike.
“We were all so excited to be a part of the nationwide Riding with the Brand tour to spread the word about the REALTOR® volunteer spirit, community spirit, commitment to excellence, Code of Ethics and relentless defense of property rights—all of which encompass the REALTOR® brand,” Woodul said.
At the end of the event, he symbolically passed the torch to the next stop on the tour, Denver, by tossing a football into the stands of Williams-Brice Stadium in downtown Columbia.
–Sharon Delia Stone, senior vice president of communications and marketing, South Carolina REALTORS®
Cheyenne, Wyo.: A Small but Mighty Force Lifts the REALTOR® Brand
Wyoming REALTORS® may be a small association, but its members are a tour de force. More than 200 descended on the capital of Cheyenne—some traveling hundreds of miles across the state in snowy conditions—for the Riding with the Brand event at the association’s annual legislative meetings Jan. 23.
Tracy Kasper, president-elect for the National Association of REALTORS®, gave a powerful and inspiring speech about what it means to be a REALTOR®. Then, attendees met with industry leaders, toured the Riding with the Brand motorcoach and played in a fundraising cornhole tournament before greeting their legislators and community leaders that evening. “Wyoming knocked it out of the park,” Kasper says. “They were so gracious to everyone who attended. It was so perfectly stated that Wyoming’s association may be small, but they’re mighty.”
Wyoming REALTORS® raised more than $20,000 for RPAC during the event, which shows the power even a small association can wield. As the president of Wyoming REALTORS®, I can say that our legislators, members and community leaders witnessed firsthand the meaning of “REALTOR® Strong.”
–Wyoming REALTORS® President Scott Richard
Phoenix: REALTORS® Have a ‘Field Day’ Celebrating Their Brand
From the Jersey Shore to downtown Phoenix, the National Association of REALTORS®’ Riding with the Brand motorcoach drove cross-country, arriving at Chase Field, Home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, for REALTOR® Day on Jan. 10.
This first-of-its-kind Arizona REALTORS® event, formerly known as REALTOR® Day at the Capitol, combined real estate, political advocacy, and Riding with the Brand—providing approximately 500 Arizona REALTORS® an opportunity to meet with their state legislators, learn about advocacy goals for the 2023 legislative session and hear insights from NAR Political Representative Jack Greacen, and 2023 NAR President Kenny Parcell.
“It was exciting to see how many of our members, elected officials and community leaders embraced Riding with the Brand through a better understanding of the importance of real estate and REALTORS® throughout Arizona,” says Arizona REALTORS® CEO Scott Drucker.
The Riding with the Brand pop-up added a unique and exciting experience for members, who descended in droves to climb aboard the REALTOR® motorcoach, play a friendly game of cornhole and take selfies in front of the branded REALTOR® motorcycle parked near home plate.
“Whenever you have the Speaker of the [Arizona] House, NAR President Parcell, and Arizona REALTORS® President Gibbs under one roof, engaging everyday REALTORS®, it’s a win,” says Arizona REALTORS® Government Affairs Director, Matthew Contorelli.
Aside from the exhilarating Riding with the Brand experience, REALTORS® had the opportunity to consider what their brand truly means and their role in driving home the REALTOR® difference.
“What excites our members the most is that Riding with the Brand is not something that Kenny Parcell and NAR leadership is doing for us. Rather, it’s something they are doing with us, which makes this event even more special,” says Drucker. Members left REALTOR® Day empowered and unified, with the knowledge that the brand is not defined by one person but rather by a shared responsibility. “We are the Brand; and we can make a difference in our communities, and our state at large.”
“What an honor it was to have President Kenny Parcell and NAR with us for REALTOR® Day at Chase Field,” says Arizona REALTORS® 2023 President, Eric Gibbs. “The Riding with the Brand experience reminded us of who we R: REALTORS®. We’re thrilled to continue Riding with the Brand in 2023 and beyond.”
–Teleia Galaviz, social media manager, Arizona REALTORS®
Atlantic City, N.J.: Road Trip Begins
The REALTOR® brand rode into Atlantic City, N.J., in early December as part of the National Association of REALTORS®’ Riding with the Brand member activation tour.
More than 6,500 REALTORS® from New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania were gathered for the Triple Play REALTOR® Convention and Trade Expo. In the expo area, members followed the Riding with the Brand logos on the floor to reach the branded motorcoach and motorcycle and to connect with state association leaders and 2023 NAR President Kenny Parcell.
Over the next 12 months, the Riding with the Brand tour is engaging with members nationwide to highlight their role in shaping the REALTOR® brand and emphasize opportunities to strengthen market conditions for U.S. consumers. The campaign kicked off at NAR’s REALTOR® Party Conference in Philadelphia, Nov. 29–Dec. 1, before heading to the Jersey Shore.
“It was truly an honor to be the second stop for NAR's Riding With the Brand campaign,” said New York State Association of REALTORS® President Jennifer Vucetic. “Members who attended our tri-state convention in Atlantic City felt supported by our national association, and it made Triple Play [now in its 21st year] that much more special. We appreciate the opportunity to be part of the campaign.”
“Triple Play is a unique experience where we are able to connect with members from all over the tri-state area,” said NJ REALTORS® 2022 President Robert White. “Welcoming the national brand and association into that mix created an even more meaningful and successful convention.”
‘Protect the Realm’
Brand building was a big theme of Triple Play. Keynote speaker Bethenny Frankel, founder and CEO of lifestyle brand Skinnygirl, spoke to a packed room about staying true to your authentic brand.
“Before my success, I didn’t think of the word ‘brand.’ It wasn’t discussed, but it is really important,” said Frankel, who gained fame as a cast member of Bravo’s “Real Housewives of New York.” In addition to founding Skinnygirl, Frankel is a New York Times bestselling author and a TV producer. She hosts a business podcast, Just B, and founded and launched BStrong, a worldwide initiative in partnership with Global Empowerment Mission to collect aid and donations to help people affected by natural disasters.
“The concept [of brand] is so important,” Frankel said, “even if it’s your own moral compass. I always know what my brand is: Protect the realm.”
That’s just what Riding with the Brand aims to do.
“Our members look forward to attending Triple Play every year to network with each other and gain valuable business insights,” said Pennsylvania Association of REALTORS® President Christopher Beadling. “Hosting NAR President Kenny Parcell, the Riding with the Brand bus and motorcycle, and keynote speaker Bethenny Frankel added an extra level of excitement to the event.”
–Colleen Oliver, director of public relations and marketing, NJ REALTORS®