Great Ideas In: Being a Better AE

"Life as a REALTOR® AE is never boring. In order to be successful in the long term, remain flexible and adaptable, bring your A game to the show, work hard, never stop learning, keep the members front and center, and surround yourself with people smarter than yourself." 
— Ginger Downs, former CEO, Chicago Association of REALTORS® 

"Achieving my RCE designation was both a personal and a professional commitment I made to myself and to establish a stronger foundation for my organization. It strengthened my core association management skills and provided refreshers in areas that I don't deal with on a daily basis, so expanding those skills was important, too."
— Denise Schultz, RCE, CEO, Lakes Area REALTORS® Association, Wis.

"Highly successful CEOs are advocates of the values of homeownership, property rights, and community—not because it's their job, but because they truly believe in it. Their own internal principles are aligned with the direction and purpose of the REALTOR® organization."  
— Jerry Matthews, Industry Consultant and former REALTOR® AE

Whether it's appointing volunteers to manage association programs or directing staff members to execute tasks so you can focus on a larger vision, delegating work to others is a sign of good leadership.  Delegating not only relieves your sense of pressure and work overload—it extends the boundaries of what you and your association can achieve.

"Having the GREEN 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 sustainability discussion." 
— Rebecca Grossman, RCE, GREEN, CEO, Scottsdale Area Association of REALTORS®, Ariz.

"The skill mentioned most often when associations search for new CEOs is relationships; in other words, it's the ability to work with all types of people in virtually any situation. Among the intangible skills AEs desire, relationships is at the top of the list. A simple but effective way to grow your people skills is to be available. Take member calls and have daily in-person contact with others. Make eye contact as you engage others and meet everyone with a smile. Learn members' names and use them often in conversations." 
— Jerry Matthews, Industry Consultant and former REALTOR® AE

Constantly look for ways to save the association money and advertise every dollar saved. From cutting back on office supplies to lowering the utility bill by conserving energy, if you become known as a saver, your expenses, like the new association vehicle, may receive less opposition.

"Read a book for pleasure while you eat your lunch. Then, when you get back to work, you'll find that your stress level is lower, and the quality of your work is better."
— Nicci Haynie, RCE, Texas Association of REALTORS®

"I set aside at least 30 minutes at the beginning of each day to stay on top of industry technology and national business trends so I'm prepared to explain how these broader movements could filter down to the small-town level and affect members' businesses." 
— Lisia Amburn, RCE, e-PRO, AE, Lakeway Area Association of REALTORS®, Tenn.

A selfie taken at the convention center during the chaos of expo setup or a picture of you with a local lawmaker captioned with the issues you're discussing goes a long way toward showing members some of the aspects of your busy job.

"Volunteers are great people. They volunteer because they are civic-minded and they deeply care for their association, but they aren't our friends. Maintain a professional relationship and be an open and honest leader." 
— John Leonardi, RCE, CEO, Buffalo Niagara REALTORS®, N.Y.

"Keep really good records. If you are charged by a member before a board and threatened with legal action, those records will save you and your staff." 
— Carol Platt, former CEO, Osceola County Association of REALTORS®, Fla.

"The most valuable resource is your REALTOR® association community—for support, education, and even lifelong friendships. Today, you can reach out not only at the AE Institute, but also through the AEI Year-Round Facebook group, where more than 700 REALTOR® association professionals share ideas and ask for guidance." 
— Cindy Butts, RCE, CAE, CEO, Connecticut Association of REALTORS®

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