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Commitments, Progress, and Pride

With the frequency of my travel this year as AEC chair, mostly to the NAR offices in Chicago, my 13-year-old twins decided to have some fun with good old Dad. At a recent Sunday evening dinner my son Mackenzie, said “Hey, Dad, I saw this movie the other day about a guy who had another family in a distant town . . . do you have another family in Chicago?” Then my daughter Mary got in to the swing by saying “Dad, remember my 13th birthday . . . oh, I forgot, you were in Chicago!” again, laughs all around the table.

Volunteering your time is a challenge. It’s a commitment that consumes time, energy, and money, and impacts your life—every aspect of it. Yet it’s a tremendously rewarding experience that gives you gratification and a sense of value. Serving as your AEC chair this year has been a fantastic experience.

An analogy I’ve used over the years to describe the volunteer-staff relationship at my own association aptly applies to my volunteer experience at NAR: An association is like a fast-moving sailboat, tacking, strategizing, and finding the most efficient and productive course. The association staff is like a well-trained crew, and volunteers come on board, steer the ship, and then hand it off to the next skipper. Soon, Walt Baczkowski will be at the helm as your 2007 AEC chair.

In the past year one new program that stood out was the new Association Executive Orientation that NAR held at its offices in Chicago. We had more than 110 new AEs attend from local and state associations around the country and I hope NAR will do this orientation every year. The AEs said the program was wonderful and answered a lot of questions for them, especially about the resources available from NAR and other associations to help them succeed at their jobs. During the program I had the opportunity to speak to the new AEs and emphasize the importance of getting involved at the national level, through the AEC, workgroups, and subcommittees. I was surprised by how many said, “Gee, I didn’t know I could get on a national committee!”

I mentioned in the beginning of my year as AEC chair that I believe that we, and our associations, need to do a better job of recruiting new, young, and energetic professionals in to our business. They are out there in our communities and in our membership ranks, and we need to figure out how to engage them in the association management field. Think about it—when was the last time someone entering the workforce said to you, “I think I want to be an association executive?”

So I will see many of you at the NAR Convention in New Orleans. I am proud of the Realtor® organizations’ commitment to bring the event to New Orleans. My good friend Malcolm Young at the Louisiana Association of Realtors® has been extremely involved in preconvention activities and planning, and has explained to me the immense benefits the convention will bring to the area and state. We should all be very proud.

On a personal note: Thank you to all my colleagues who played such a key role in this year’s efforts through the AEC. Your impact on the association has been awesome, and I will forever be thankful.

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