Rebecca Grossman on leading the AEC and being a community influencer.
Your 2018 AE Committee chair, Rebecca Grossman, RCE, GREEN, CEO of the Scottsdale Area Association of REALTORS® in Arizona, has a full plate of AE projects and programs to foster in the upcoming year. Yet her main focus, she says, is to continue the work of the REALTOR® Association Collaboration Work Group charged with finding ways to identify and overcome issues hindering effective relationships among local, state, and national associations. “I’m very excited about the great minds that we have pulled together to really take a deep dive into how we can all be stronger through collaboration,” she says.
It will be a busy year for Grossman, who already leads one of the most progressive associations in the country. RAE spoke recently with this dynamic CEO about consumer outreach and other matters near to her heart.
What consumer outreach does your association conduct and why?
We recently participated in a segment on buying versus renting for the Fox News show “Property Man.” It was a great opportunity to show the expertise of some of our members and to speak about the importance of using a REALTOR®. Anytime you are contacted by TV, radio, or news, my advice is to always say yes. You can figure out the details later, but if you hesitate, they will move on to the next call. You can always find a member who can speak on the topic, whatever it is, and I’ve never had anyone complain about who we chose to put in front of the camera. We make sure they are prepared and that they are speaking on behalf of the association and the industry.
You’re involved with your city’s chamber of commerce and other groups. How does this benefit your association?
Until you have one-on-one conversations with community leaders and businesses, they cannot possibly understand what REALTORS® are all about. The connections I’ve made through the chamber and Envision Scottsdale, Scottsdale Citizens for Today and Tomorrow, and Scottsdale Leadership have been extremely powerful for our association because now these influential groups know who we are and how much we care about the economic vitality, sustainability, and environmental health of our communities. I am a true believer in getting out of the office and engaging with those who may be able to help us the next time we’re fighting a sign ordinance or advocating for infrastructure improvements. I know it’s hard, because we AEs have so much going on in running our associations and dealing with the next staff or volunteer crisis. But getting involved in community leadership is a must in our business if we want to ensure that our members have a healthy market to practice in.
What is the biggest challenge facing your association today?
Reaching members has become more difficult in recent years. Some of the large brokerage firms have powerful filters on their email servers that push association emails into orbit. Today we have to rely more on social media, face-to-face meetings, and phone calls to rise above the fray. Recently, we had only 500 out of 8,200 primary members respond to our sign ordinance call to action. I don’t know what the answer is, but one of the things that we are doing is getting out and telling the story of our association’s value as much as possible. My communications staff put together a slick presentation about how we were able to turn the tide on an egregious sign ordinance and achieve a huge win for our members by working the well-oiled system that the REALTORS® have created over the years. Now we have to take that presentation and dog-and-pony it in person until we drop. That is the best way I can see to show member benefit in a tangible, meaningful way.
Why is the GREEN designation important to you personally?
I achieved my GREEN designation early after it was first developed. I’ve always been interested in a more sustainable future, and I think REALTORS® are in a great position to educate the public on healthy homes and energy conservation and efficiency. Although I don’t teach the GREEN designation class anymore, I’ve found that having the designation and the expertise has helped me engage in important community dialogue, bring sustainability education to our area, and promote important green data fields in our MLSs. GREEN is a great opportunity for members to add more value to the transaction. For AEs, the designation reflects on your association and positions it as a stakeholder and influencer in the local