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Leadership Brotherhood

If—as some say—leaders are born, not made, then Jack and Rick Rielly are shining examples.

The brothers are both 2009 local REALTOR® association presidents, and their near simultaneous rise to the top elected office at their respective local associations was more a fluke than a plan.

“We both have a very strong sense of appreciating the community we live and work in, and a sense of responsibility to that community,” Jack explains.

Although the brothers were elected to their leadership positions at the same time—Rick at the Columbia Greene Board of REALTORS®, N.Y., Jack at the Ashe County Board of REALTORS®, N.C.—they didn’t even realize it at first. “I was chatting with my brother last year and he mentioned that he was his association’s VP and I said, ‘Wow, I’m the VP, too,’” marvels Jack.

Even though their associations and markets differ—most notably, Rick’s is four times the size of Jack’s—the brothers routinely act as sounding boards for each other.

“We’ve help each other with ideas often and discuss certain issues in depth,” says Rick. “I know Jack’s insights have been a help to me and I hope the same is true on his end. We don’t agree on everything but have gained a lot from deep discussions on some tricky issues.”

One tricky issue was the proposed name change of Ashe County’s neighboring board, making it seem as if it covered more territory than it did. “When we objected to the board’s proposed name change, Rick was able to give me a lot of background because he had gone through the same issue,” recalls Jack.

Attracting volunteers, balancing the budget in tough economic times, and communicating the value of membership are other issues the brothers discuss regularly.

This is not the first time their work lives have overlapped, either. Both Rielly brothers worked in the apparel industry before entering the real estate industry—Rick in 1996, with Jack following soon after.

Yet, despite the fact that they are both competitive and successful in their real estate practice, the brothers say they have never been competitive with each other, which makes sharing tips on association leadership natural.
“Although separated by a thousand miles, our boards are different in very few ways,” explains Rick. “I know we are both totally committed to the communities that we serve and dedicated to our members in every way.” n

AEs Become a Key to NAR Leadership Academy Success

NAR has invited local and state association executives to play an important role in selecting participants for the NAR Leadership Academy. All applicants must now submit a reference from their local association executive to be considered for the academy.

“AEs, as leadership facilitators, have a sense of the qualities that enable successful leaders to energize associations,” says Bob Hill, RCE, CEO of the Vermont Association of REALTORS® and Leadership Academy advisory committee member. “That unique relationship provides a valuable perspective to the selection process.”

Linda Lang, RCE, CAE, CEO, Orange County Association of REALTORS®, agrees. “I think the requirement for applicants to submit references, in general, automatically weeds out those who aren’t confident that they would get good recommendations or those who are not yet well known with association leaders at the state or local levels.”

The academy is a nine-month, five-stage training and development program for REALTORS® who have leadership experience at the state and local, but not national, level. Each training session builds on developing institutional knowledge and leadership skills.

State and local associations also benefit greatly from this national-level training, says program director Bobbie Albrecht, especially those associations without their own leadership training programs. Not only do academy participants bring a knowledge of national products, services, and programs back to their associations, but they also have a better understanding of the goals of the organization as a whole, she says.

“The selection process really begins with the AEs,” notes Albrecht. “I encourage AEs to consider who they have in their leadership pipeline or who they would like to encourage, and recommend them to apply.”

Applications for the 2011 Leadership Academy are due in March 2010. The 27-member 2009 class graduated in May and the 28-member 2010 class begins in August at the Leadership Summit in Chicago. For more, visit or call Rita Baldwin at 800/874-6500, ext. 8321. n

Contributing to Communities: REALTORS® Find Homes for Pets Too!

Very often, when families facing foreclosure have to make new living arrangements quickly, Fido or Fluffy gets left behind or sent to an animal shelter. REALTORS® in District 1 of the North San Diego County Association of REALTORS® (NSDCAR) saw what was happening to these wayward pets—and they did something about it.

On October 25, 2008, NSDCAR District 1 REALTORS® sponsored a pet adoption day, called REALTORS® Find Homes for Pets Too! The event, which took place at an open-air shopping center during the annual Fall Festival, offered for adoption approximately 100 pets of all types (hamsters to chinchillas) from several local animal shelters and rescue groups.

Thirty-six REALTOR® volunteers assisted with animal care and helping families find a new friend. Anyone wishing to adopt a pet completed an application process on-site before taking the pet home. In the case of canine adoptions, a follow-up visit was arranged at the adoptive home to make sure the dog would be in a safe environment. Approximately 50 pets were happily adopted, as featured on the local TV news.

Additionally, NSDCAR provided information on pet-friendly apartments, a list of local rescue groups, and resources for people facing foreclosure or going into a rental situation. The nine-member committee that planned the event secured donations of pet treats, aprons that identified the volunteers, and the services of both a veterinarian and “dog whisperer” for the afternoon.

“Who can’t relate to the joys of growing up with a pet in the home?” asks Dianne McMillan, NSDCAR CEO. “That common ground became the natural rallying point for a unique and successful project of finding homes for displaced pets. Our members are enthusiastic about a repeat project this year.”

This year the District 1 Coordinating Committee is looking for a larger venue and may pair the adoption day with a local dog show in November.

— by Amanda J. Sacco, RCE, e-PRO, New Jersey Association of REALTORS®

Kessler Named 2009 Magel Recipient

The key to a successful 32-year career as a REALTOR® association executive is personal humility and professional will, according to this year’s recipient of the William R. Magel Award for excellence in association management, Travis Kessler, RCE, CEO of the San Antonio Board of REALTORS®, Texas.

Perhaps as an example of his humility, Kessler claims that learning from others is one of the things that has helped him the most. “Learning from others is a gift that I take away from every meeting I attend. Sharing creates synergy, which is a tremendous asset to the decision-making process,” he explains.

In fact, Kessler continues to be amazed by colleagues from around the country who willingly share their knowledge and experience, creating what he regards as a truly incredible resource of information.

“I’ve learned from the greatest leaders in this industry and I live and work in gratitude for the opportunities these mentors have given me,” he says.

Kessler describes his association management style, which was developed based on the high standards others have set, as accessible, approachable, and consistent. His leadership philosophy, on the other hand, revolves around one critical question: What is best for the membership? “My philosophy can best be summarized by a quote by Harry S. Truman, ‘You can accomplish anything in life, provided you do not mind who gets the credit.’”

A voracious reader of books on strategic planning and leadership development, Kessler credits Good to Great by Jim Collins as having the biggest impact on his life and career. According to Collins, “Leadership is not just about humility and modesty. It is about resolve and a determination to do whatever needs to be done to make an organization great.”

So, what is the best advice Kessler could give to other association executives? “Keep up with industry issues and concerns, read everything you can to expand your knowledge,” he advises. “Watch and follow leaders in our industry whom you admire and respect. Watch their actions, leadership style, and presentation strengths, and model your behavior and skills on what you feel they do best.”

Kessler has enjoyed successful careers with five REALTOR® associations, starting with the Texas Association of REALTORS® in 1977. He has served on numerous committees and task forces on the national and state level, and was Chair of the Association Executives committee in 2000. “Involvement at every level of the REALTOR® organization has helped me achieve my professional goals,” he says.

Kessler will be formally recognized during the REALTORS® Conference & Expo board of directors’ meeting in San Diego on Nov. 16.

Issue Update: Search Engine Indexing

At the NAR Midyear Legislative Meetings in May, a proposal to change IDX policy to permit search engine indexing of listings was referred back to a work group of the MLS Policy Committee. The proposal will now go to a work group that was formed to consider other changes to bring IDX in line with new virtual office Web site rules.

The work group is expected to present comprehensive amendments to the existing IDX policy to the Multiple Listing Issues and Policies Committee during the REALTORS® Conference & Expo, Nov. 13-16 in San Diego, according to Cliff Niersbach, NAR’s vice president of board policy and programs. The current policy requiring members to prevent listings on their Web site from being “scraped” (copied without permission) is in effect. For more, visit, search “IDX data.”


The Charleston Trident Association of REALTORS®’ (S.C.) “Reading with REALTORS®” program, which pairs REALTOR® mentors with students at James Simons Elementary School, has produced significant improvement in student MAP (Measure of Academic Progress) test averages. MAP test scores from students in the RWR program were an average of two points higher than grade level averages.

REALTOR® volunteers attend a training session before working with the students, who, prior to participating in RWR, have been identified as reading below their grade level. The REALTORS® work with the students for one hour per week, helping them develop a love for reading.

Georgia GADs Win Tax Credit for Homebuyers

Thanks to the tireless efforts of three Georgia Association of REALTORS® government affairs directors (Keith Hatcher, Tim Kibler, and John Barbour), Georgia’s governor, Sonny Perdue, signed into law on May 19 an $1,800 tax credit for anyone who purchases an eligible single-family residence in 2009. Unlike the federal tax credit, the Georgia credit is not limited to first-time homebuyers, and there are no applicable income limits.

> Local REALTORS® Helping Local Seniors

The REALTOR® Service Program Volunteers (RSVP) of the Santa Cruz Association of REALTORS®’, pictured below, hit the streets this spring to help local homebound and elderly neighbors clean and maintain their homes. This year RSVP focused on eight senior homes and brought out 20 volunteers.

Revised, Expanded Membership Guide Now available

By now all associations and members should have received their Member Reference Guide from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. (If not, contact Rebecca Daly at or call 312/329-3285.)

The guide, which was mailed to all renewing and first-quarter new members, will be sent to incoming new members on a monthly basis. It has been reformatted into one booklet to dynamically and succinctly illustrate the many benefits NAR offers, and highlight the thousands of dollars worth of free programs and services to help members today. NAR’s “Top 10 Benefits of Membership” are called-out on the front page of the guide as a quick snapshot of benefits. Additionally, NAR’s “2009 Key Initiatives,” including the Right Tools, Right Now initiative, REALTORS® Federal Credit Union, REALTORS® Core Health Insurance, and NAR’s Green Designation, are prominently featured within the center section of the guide.

This year, 619 state and local associations included their custom-printed message on the guide’s cover pages. The 2009 membership card is attached to the guide’s cover pages, personalized with each member’s name and NRDS number. Member Guide pages have also been updated online primarily to assist new members, although it is a great resource for all members. The pages include the option to print a temporary card, the guide’s mailing schedule, a link to their member profile to help members manage their NAR communications, and more.

For more information, visit

NAR Awards Nearly $800K in Grants

Funding for state and local association workforce housing, diversity initiatives
Through two grant programs, the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® will provide more than three quarters of a million dollars to fund state and local REALTOR® association programs and events.

NAR has awarded $730,000 to five state REALTOR® associations (California, Idaho, Maine, Maryland, and Washington) through the Ira Gribin Workforce Housing Grant. The grants, ranging from $50,000 to $420,000, will help support workforce housing initiatives, including mortgage protection programs, financial counseling, education for REALTORS®, and interest-free loans.

Ira Gribin Workforce Housing Grants are awarded to state REALTOR® associations or their housing foundations to fund programs that promote safe, decent housing for people with low and moderate incomes who cannot afford to live in the communities where they work. The grants are named in honor of Ira Gribin, the 1988 NAR president who was a tireless advocate for fair and affordable housing for diverse populations. For more information or to download an application, visit

NAR is also awarding a total of $37,900 to nine local and state REALTOR® associations through its Diversity Initiative Grant Program.

The program provides local and state REALTOR® associations with up to $5,000 in matching funds for activities that either reinforce the role of REALTORS® as leaders in diversity efforts or extend the benefits of homeownership to more Americans.

“NAR remains committed to furthering and sustaining minority homeownership as well as bringing more diversity into the real estate business and the leadership of the REALTOR® community, and these grants help further that commitment,” says NAR President Charles McMillan.

Established in 2004, the Diversity Initiative Grant Program helps fund outreach efforts to minority consumers and bring more diversity into REALTOR® association membership and leadership. Grants of up to $5,000 are awarded twice a year to local and state REALTOR® associations. Applications for the next round of grants are due Oct. 2, 2009. For additional information, visit n

The NAR Diversity Initiative Grant award winners are:
* Chicago Association of REALTORS®: $5,000 to host a summit to highlight the variety of minority real estate organizations in the city and help address the business and political issues faced by minority real estate professionals. The goal is to develop an advocacy plan for the future and an ongoing working group.

* Dayton Area Board of REALTORS®, Ohio: $5,000 to increase interaction between the REALTOR® association and the local Realtist (National Association of Real Estate Brokers) chapter.
* Dearborn Area Board of REALTORS®, Mich.: $5,000 to fund an effort to increase the representation of Arab-Americans in the REALTOR® association.

* Hinesville Area Board of REALTORS®, Ga.: $5,000 to create an Equal Opportunity-Cultural Diversity committee to help educate the community about diversity.

* North Carolina Association of REALTORS®: $3,100 to support a multiphase outreach program to educate local REALTOR® association leadership and members about incorporating diversity into their businesses, and to increase the diversity of the membership so that it more closely mirrors the state’s general population.

* Northeast Atlanta Metro Association of REALTORS®, Ga.: $5,000 to create a comprehensive resource guide for residents of Gwinnett County about first-time homebuyer services, loan modification services, and foreclosure resources. These resources will be translated into a variety of languages.

* Pennsylvania Association of REALTORS®: $5,000 to support the next phase developing and implementing a multicultural strategic plan.

* Rockford Area Association of REALTORS®, Ill.: $2,000 to develop a fair housing brochure specific to the Rockford community.

* Ulster County Board of REALTORS®, N.Y.: $2,800 to fund a multicultural outreach mixer.

E-Class GRI, Bright Spot in Ed Program

Almost every education program the Tennessee Association of REALTORS® offers has generated financial losses in the current recession, with one outstanding exception: the E-Class GRI course.

“Our E-Class GRI courses are the only offerings that have continued to show healthy enrollments in a slow economy. They continue to do much better than break even, and we’re making improvements to them all the time,” says Steve Harding, TAR’s EVP.

This popularity in the face of economic adversity may be attributed to the atypical interactive component of the course. Beyond your average online reading and multiple-choice quiz format, the E-Class GRI course—developed by the Tennessee association in cooperation with the Tennessee Real Estate Educational
Foundation—features written interaction with an instructor-coach and fellow classmates.

A knowledgeable instructor-coach facilitates each five-week course, providing individual feedback to the students (of which there are no more than 20), usually weekly. Additionally, students are encouraged to provide feedback to each other. Throughout the course, the facilitator is available for questions about the lessons or additional educational resources.

“I just completed my first E-Class GRI course, but my fourth GRI course overall. I found the E-Class GRI course to be very challenging, in a good way,” says TAR member, Stephen Carr. “The online class allows you to read the assignment and respond at your schedule. I felt I took more away, and reading other students’ responses was also helpful.”

In a traditional classroom, especially a larger class, it’s quite possible for students to keep a seat warm for two days without opening their mouths or contributing to the class. In an E-Class GRI course, a student cannot complete the course without finishing all of the assignments over a five-week period. The student’s involvement is mandatory, making these courses more rewarding for those who complete them.

E-Class GRI courses are designed for REALTORS® who welcome a challenge, don’t mind sharing their ideas with others, and really want to prepare themselves for long-term success, says Pug Scoville, TAR education director. “The skills that these courses reinforce—using the Internet more comfortably, communicating with others in written form, and finding answers to real questions and solutions to real problems—are all essential in today’s wired economy,” he says.

REALTORS®’ Recipes Aid Hungry Kids

The Bloomington Board of REALTORS®, Ind. (BBOR) Food Drive Committee recently published a collection of recipes to benefit the Monroe County Community Kitchen’s Summer Breakfast program. “This cookbook is dedicated to all children who have gone to bed hungry,” the foreward reads.

The book, Raising Dough: Feed the Kids, features a collection of nearly 150 favorite recipes from members and their friends, including Spinach- and Sausage- Stuffed Mushrooms, Warm Stuffed Cheesy Bread, and Chocolate Popcorn, among others.

The association has sold more than 155 books to date. The cookbook is available for $24.95 at the BBOR office and online at (Raising Dough; ISBN: 978-1-4389-2140-2).

Use of NAR Trademarks in Usernames

By Katherine Raynolds, NAR Staff Attorney

Choose a user name or ID. This is what you have to do upon registering for most social networking sites, blogs, and elsewhere on the Web. Your members strive to be unique and clever with their usernames, which also serve to identify them publicly to others viewing the site. Perhaps they choose number1realtor or yourMichiganrealtor or janechicagorealtor. But all of these usernames violate the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® trademark usage rules.

As social networking Web sites and blogs continue to gain popularity in the real estate marketing world, association executives should know which usernames are permissible for members, and what to do if their members are violating trademark rules.

The rules governing the use of the REALTOR® marks are the same regardless of the medium in which the marks are being used, i.e. print advertising, web advertising, URLs, e-mail addresses, usernames and more. These rules require the REALTOR® marks to be used with the name of a member or with the legal name of a member broker’s real estate business. A separate rule prohibits use of REALTOR® with descriptive words or phrases. Because domain names must be lowercase and can not accommodate the R symbol, the requirements to use capitalization and the registration symbol “®” with the REALTOR® marks are relaxed on the Web.
Associations play an integral role in protecting and promoting a correct understanding and use of terms REALTOR®, REALTOR-ASSOCIATE®, REALTORS®, the REALTOR® Logo and the Block “R” mark (referred to collectively as the “marks”). The ongoing protection efforts of associations are the first step in ensuring that the REALTOR® marks continue to be recognized as an indicator of professionalism, integrity, and competence in real estate.

AEs are often the first to identify or to receive complaints about improper uses of the REALTOR® marks, in usernames or otherwise. First evaluate the complaint to determine whether there is an actual misuse, then contact the misuser and request that he or she immediately cease using the REALTOR® mark incorrectly. Because many improper uses are the result of a lack of awareness or understanding of the rules, most members promptly correct misuses when called to their attention and the proper form of use is explained. Publishing periodic reminders in your newsletters regarding proper use of the REALTOR® marks will also go a long way toward educating members.

For more information, access the new NAR toolkit on proper use of the marks in usernames at designed to make it easy for AEs to address complaints about misuse. The toolkit includes a form letter, a downloadable “On Your Mark” brochure,” a list of FAQs, plus a more detailed version of this article. The Membership Marks Manual is also online at

Nonprofit Management Graduates Recognized at AE Institute

A record nineteen REALTOR® association executives graduated from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® professional development certificate program, Strategies in Nonprofit Management, from the University of Chicago Graham School of General Studies. In order to earn the Certificate, AEs completed six classes and passed pre- and post-work assignments in association and nonprofit management courses held during NAR meetings. NAR has worked with the University of Chicago to customize the curriculum for REALTOR® AEs to focus on essential REALTOR® association competencies. For more, visit

Christine DeRosa, RCE, CAE, NAR; Debra Junkin, RCE, e-PRO, Georgia Association of REALTORS®; Kyle Lambert London, RCE, NAR; Kim McCoy, e-PRO, REALTOR® Association of NorthWest Chicagoland; Laurie Oken, NAR; Toni Parker, RCE, CAE, e-PRO, Outer Banks Valley Association of REALTORS®, N.C.; Susann Slayton, Southern Indiana REALTORS® Association; Glenn Cobb, RCE, Winston-Salem Regional Assoc. of REALTORS®, N.C.; Henry DiGiacomo, RCE, CAE, ABR, CIPS, Cape Cod & Islands Association of REALTORS®, Ma.; Allan Hetkowski, RCE, CAE, e-PRO, Greater Scranton Board of REALTORS®, Pa.; Frank Lessing, Simi Valley-Moorpark Association of REALTORS®, Calif.; Dan Sale, RCE, CAE, Capital Area Association of REALTORS®, Ill.; Michael Vanderbunt, Lakes Area REALTORS® Association, Wis.;
Metzi Anderson, REALTOR®, Vt.; Christine Bauder, e-PRO, Ocean City Board of REALTORS®, N.J.; James E. Bindschadler, CRS, GRI, REALTORS® Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh, Pa.; Russell Hokanson, RCE, Seattle-King County Association of REALTORS®, Wash.; Colleen Loeffler, CCIM Institute; Lisa Yates, Oklahoma Association of REALTORS®

Meet the New REALTOR® Association Certified Executives

These 25 Realtor® association executives earned their RCE (Realtor® association Certified Executive) designation after an extensive course of study and exam in March.
Dean Anderson, RCE, Placer County Association of REALTORS®, Calif.
Georgiana Bloom, RCE, Mineral Area Board of REALTORS®, Mo.
Ruth Briggs King, RCE, Sussex County Association of REALTORS®, Del.
Michele Caprio, RCE, Greater Providence Board of REALTORS®, R.I.
Sylvia Derks, RCE, Greater Springfield Board of REALTORS®, Mo.
Sandy Eherenman, RCE, Alaska Association of REALTORS®
Cathy Faulkner, RCE, MetroTex Grapevine Service Center, Texas
Cindy Green, RCE, Kansas City Regional Association of REALTORS®, Kan.
Dana Holben, RCE, Dearborn Area Board of REALTORS®, Mich.
Cherie Lavy, RCE, East Central Board of REALTORS®, Mo.
Frank Lessing, RCE, Simi Valley Moorpark Association of REALTORS®, Calif.
Terry Murphy, RCE, Missouri Association of REALTORS®, Mo.
Rosanne Orsini-Dees, RCE, St. Augustine, St. Johns County Boards, Fla.
Roberta Sexton, RCE, Grosse Pointe Board of REALTORS®, Mich.
Sharon Stillson, RCE, Franklin County Board of REALTORS®, Mo.
Donna Stone, RCE, Jefferson City Area Board of REALTORS®, Mo.
Michael Vanderbunt, RCE, Lakes Area REALTORS® Association, Wis.
Cynthia Vaught, RCE, Bagnell Dam Association of REALTORS®, Mo.
Shari Veldman, RCE, Commercial Alliance of REALTORS®, Mich.
Sharon Wells, RCE, Greater Springfield Board of REALTORS®, Mo.
Missy Whittington, RCE, New Orleans Metropolitan Association, La.
Mary Ann Wissel, RCE, Ocean County Board of REALTORS®, N.J.
also: Pauline Dickson, RCE, formerly with the East Polk County Association of REALTORS®, Fla; Cheri Meadows, RCE, Tucson Association of REALTORS®, Ariz.; Debora Poole, RCE, formerly with the Northern Kentucky MLS/Association of REALTORS®

Think REALTOR® Safety Year Round

In addition to promoting REALTOR® Safety Week, Sept. 13–19, NAR is expanding its program to encourage associations to communicate with members about REALTORS®’ safety throughout the year.

The new initiative will include postcards, quarterly e-mails, a revised Web site, and Webinars. All REALTOR® associations should have received their Safety Resources Kit in the mail in July. For more, visit or contact Rebecca Daly at 312/329-3285.

Answers to All of Your Right Tools, Right Now Questions

If you have questions about how to market and promote NAR’s Right Tools, Right Now (RTRN) program of free and discounted products and services for members and associations, get to know Judy Perez.

Perez is the new “marketing concierge” for the RTRN program, dedicated to answering questions from association executives.

Q. What is the role of the Right Tools, Right Now marketing concierge?

A. I can answer questions associations may have on the program and I can assist and support associations as they help their members fully leverage the Right Tools, Right Now initiative. I can also provide the resources to market the program and communicate the benefits to members.

Q. How can you help AEs stay on top of all the new offers?

A. Every month we send out an e-mail to AEs that highlights the new products for that month. Right Tools, Right Now is also promoted in REALTOR® publications, AE INS, and a section in the AE Member Toolkit Web site, which provides marketing tools for the program. There’s also a special section on the Right Tools, Right Now site that offers resources and products only for associations (

Q. How can you help AEs communicate RTRN benefits to members?

A. To help our membership realize the benefits of the program, we have a number of promotional tools available in different formats, such as print ads, banners, widgets, flyers, and a member-focused PowerPoint. Access these online at Contact Judy Perez at 888/648-8321.

Notice: The information on this page may not be current. The archive is a collection of content previously published on one or more NAR web properties. Archive pages are not updated and may no longer be accurate. Users must independently verify the accuracy and currency of the information found here. The National Association of REALTORS® disclaims all liability for any loss or injury resulting from the use of the information or data found on this page.