My favorite day of the year is Dec. 20, marking the winter solstice and the shortest day of the year. From this day to the first day of summer, the days grow longer. For me, this day signals the start of the return of spring, a time of rebirth and renewal.
This is a great time to begin making plans for a successful year. My keys to success have always included professional development using NAR resources to enhance my knowledge and skills.
In my role on the AE Committee, I am privileged three times a year to have conversations with new AEs. From these discussions, I have recommended that as an organization we dedicate more time over an extended period helping new AEs get up to speed. To that end, one of our AEC 2016 initiatives is to “build out” the new AE on-boarding process into a yearlong event with opportunities for continual mentoring.
Earning the REALTOR® association Certified Executive designation (RCE) is another key to AE career success. While there is no “time in position” requirement in pursuing the RCE designation, amassing the points required on the applicant data form may take up to two years. All RCE candidates must complete one of two Association Management online self-study courses, which offer information vital to understanding our roles. These online courses are so informative that I require my entire staff to complete at least one . . . and this can be a humbling experience. The first time I took the MLS section quiz, I scored very low; so much for being the sharpest knife in the drawer.
The full body of knowledge required to be an exceptional AE resides on nar.realtor. The depth and density of the material is a blessing and a curse, as NAR adds a huge amount of new information each year. However, remaining current on nar.realtor resources is a key component of a good professional development strategy.
Many experienced AEs have expressed a desire for advanced training in the form of a separate CEO track at the Association Executive Institute, and I am excited that we will be rolling this out in San Antonio this March. The additional day-and-a-half-program was so well received that it sold out in one day.
Many state associations, including my home state of Arizona, offer structured support for local AEs, another key to success. This includes state AE Councils, state and regional AE training, and, in some cases, a dedicated staff person to work closely with local AEs. A classic example of how our state associations support what we do was highlighted in 2015 with Core Standards. With the leadership assistance of our state associations we not only succeeded, we excelled.
At the risk of mixing too many metaphors, AE career development and planning is a rich cookbook of recipes, depending on your individual list of ingredients (association resources) and the “tools” in your kitchen (AE skill set). Like Gordon Ramsey on “Top Chef,” the AEC is here to help you perfect the recipe for your professional success.
Marc Lebowitz, RCE, CAE, CEO, Tucson Association of REALTORS®, 2016 chair of the AE Committee