If your 35-year career as a REALTOR® AE is as successful as Ann Turner’s, you, too, will find it hard to say goodbye. Unfortunately for the Denver Metro Association of REALTORS®, Turner is retiring this year leaving behind a large and healthy organization full of dedicated volunteers and talented staff. Before she goes, though, she has some advice for you on management, leadership, and enjoying being an AE.
Q. What are the top three pieces of advice you’d like to leave for AEs?
First, continue your professional development at every opportunity. If your state association offers AE classes or training, be sure to attend. AE Institute is a must every year. Earn the RCE designation—whether you’re a new AE or a seasoned one you will learn something new.
Next, hire the best and delegate, delegate, delegate. Surround yourself with talented people. Finding the right ones takes time, but it’s worth every minute to find someone who is the right fit for your organization. If your association is small and your budget doesn’t allow for additional staff members, find a mentor, start a network of AE peers, or reach out to the state association for guidance.
Lastly, change from the traditional governance model to policy governance or another form of responsive governance. Policy governance clarifies the roles of staff and volunteers and streamlines the decision-making process. As long as you are working within the parameters set by the board, as CEO, you have the authority to implement programs without going back to the board every time. This way, your association will be more responsive to the changing environment.
Q. Denver Metro has become the go-to source for local housing information and related real estate content through its interactive website, YouTube videos, robust social media channels, and other outlets. What does it take to maintain this high level of communication work and what have been the payoffs?
This is one of DMAR’s greatest achievements. We are truly “the voice for real estate” in the Denver metro area. We have developed excellent relationships with various members of the press, both locally and nationally, who reach out to us with questions related to the marketplace and the industry in general. It has taken many years to establish this level of trust with the media, but we have consistently met their demand for statistical data and their need for an interpretation of the data that their readers will understand. For over six years now we have released our Market Trends Report with statistical data from our MLS by the third business day of every month. We couldn’t have done this without dedicated committee volunteers, an excellent public relations firm, and a committed staff.
Q. One of your directors recently described you as an executive known for “exceptional integrity” and “humble leadership.” What’s your advice to other AEs for developing and maintaining a positive and effective leadership style?
I am one of the lucky ones who fell into a profession I love. Association management is one of the most fulfilling career paths, but it’s not for everyone. Working with volunteers has its challenges, but I have always said I get to work with the cream of the crop—members who volunteer their time to give back to the real estate industry and the community. It’s fun to work with people who enjoy what they’re doing.
I have always understood that part of my job is to make the volunteer leaders look good. I take great pride in watching them succeed in leading this organization. We make sure they have proper training and skills to represent DMAR. Finding members with passion and true leadership skills over the years has made my job easier.
Q. Of the many hats that AEs wear, which has been the most rewarding?
I would have to say mentoring staff has been the most rewarding and the most fun. We have a great team, and they respect each other and work well together. I will admit it took a while to get here, and I stumbled along the way. Managing people is not easy, but communication is key. I pride myself on being a good listener. When I see a great idea coming together, I get out of the way and allow staff members with more expertise than me to put it all together. I am always available, but I am not a micro-manager.