Leadership in the Family

Real estate is very often a family business, so it's no wonder that members of the same family participate in REALTOR® association leadership. Husbands and wives, parents and their children—even grandchildren—often take turns as association president. For AEs, this can be an advantage or a challenge.

Second-generation presidents and those whose spouse has served can have a more innate understanding of aspects of the job that can’t be easily explained, such as the emotional toll of the time commitment and the pride of representing the association. Yet, there can be public perceptions of one family having too much influence, or the misconception that a former president is pulling strings through a currently serving family member.
At the REALTORS® Association of York & Adams Counties, Pa., there were plenty of advantages to having a married couple, Gayle and Ken Mathys, take turns as president only five years apart. “When the second mate served, there was a greater acceptance of the time commitment required of leadership and a better acquaintance with the staff,” says executive officer Steve Snell, RCE.

Presidents whose family members have served sometimes require less training because of their insiders’ perspective. “They know the responsibilities of their leadership role and they can bounce things off each other,” says Donna Stone, RCE, of the Jefferson City Area Board of REALTORS®, Mo.

Monika McGillicuddy, 2010 president of the New Hampshire Association of REALTORS®, says her husband, who was president six years ago, helped her realize that “being president is not at all about me,” she reflects.
Gene Fercodini, who will serve as president of the Connecticut Association of REALTORS® in 2011, says he knew he wanted to lead the association after seeing first hand how rewarding the experience was for his wife in 1999.
“I learned about having patience with directors,” says Steve Lerigny, who followed his wife as president of the Chilliwack & District Real Estate Board in Canada. “Her experience helped me to make sure that our board decisions were made impartially on facts and knowledge.”

Pressure to succeed?

When the son or daughter of a past president joins the REALTOR® association, there can be high expectations for his or her volunteer service. The younger generation is often encouraged into greater responsibility. Ronald Phipps, the 2011 NAR president’s two sons (Matt and Ian) are already involved in the national association and could create a presidential dynasty at the national level—for the first time—in the years ahead.

“I think it is great when an association can get a member of a past-president’s family to step up and follow in their footsteps,” says Kathy Hartman, RCE, CEO of the Santa Cruz Association of REALTORS®, Calif. Hartman is looking forward to her incoming treasurer serving as president in 2013; his father was president in 1991.

When incoming president Wight Mixon joined the Atlanta Association of REALTORS® in 1991, her family encouraged her to carry on the tradition of association leadership, says Reggie McCrary, the association’s EVP. Mixon’s mother was president in 2004, her grandfather was president in 1940, and both of her uncles were presidents as well.

“We’ve seen that in a family-run company, the senior members steer the younger members to be more involved in the association,” says Paula Gilbert at the Wichita Falls Association of REALTORS®, Texas. “Also, if the senior has served in a leadership capacity, he is more inclined to encourage his children to also strive for leadership.”

Indeed, for many families in real estate, leadership is practically in their DNA. There are always exceptions, though. True desire to serve shouldn’t be assumed, cautions Snell, who has found that most families in real estate typically have one “standout” in association leadership, with the other family members maintaining minimal involvement.

Still, AEs often can’t help but be excited when family members join the association. The children of presidents make great leaders, according to Mark Wilson, EVP at the Harford County Association of REALTORS®, Md. “The second generation brings to the table a desire to achieve,” he says. “They want to accomplish something that will show their parents they did as good a job as they had. As an AE, I can count on them to get things done.”

Nashville Launches Flood Relief Fund

RealTracs Solutions regional Multiple Listing Service and the Greater Nashville Association of REALTORS® Education Foundation have established the Rising Hope Disaster Relief Fund to help those in the REALTOR® community with housing-related needs resulting from disasters, specifically the recent severe flooding in the Nashville area.

“The goal of the fund is to make sure that those [members] who are victims of the flood will not also have to endure the possibility of losing their home due to inability to make payments,” says Lucy Smith, president of GNAR. “The Rising Hope fund will assist REALTORS® and their families to meet mortgage and rent payments, and possibly other costs, as they work to rebuild.”

RealTracs is in the process of creating its own 501(c)3 to administrate the relief fund. In the short term, the GNAR Education Foundation will collect and distribute funds based on an application process. Grants are awarded based on the level of need and availability of funds.

In addition to the Rising Hope Fund, the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® has provided $50,000 in support. That money was given to the Tennessee Association of REALTORS® for the Nashville Area Habitat for Humanity to administer. The funds will be used for rebuilding and rehabilitating homes affected by the flood.

Donations to the relief fund are tax-deductible and can be made online at disasterrelief.realtracs.com or by mailing a check made out to the GNAR Education Foundation with “relief” noted in the memo line. Send checks to the GNAR Education Foundation, c/o Disaster Relief Fund, 4540 Trousdale Dr., Nashville, TN 37204.

Guide to Establishing Member Relief Funds

Whether the need is disaster related, health related, or simply for members in economic need, visit NAR’s new REALTOR® Association Benevolent Funds page online for guidelines and links to dozens of REALTOR® associations with member-focused funds. 

RAMCO 2011: Cooperative REALTOR® Association Management Systems Initiate Advances

The planned Internet-based REALTOR® association management system is on target for delivery in early 2011. Consisting of 15 state, local, and MLS AEs and tech directors, the REALTOR® Association Management System Cooperative (RAMCO) Project Team is continuing to develop system features and functionality, as it has done for more than a year.

When it’s launched, RAMCO will enable associations to better manage and share membership records. According to NAR, RAMCO follows the request of AEs across the country who desire more responsiveness to their ongoing association management system needs as well as greater financial control of their management system expenditures.

The project team selected Cobalt (www.cobalt.net) as the platform on which the new association management system is developed. As part of the agreement, Cobalt will no longer independently provide its association management system to REALTOR® associations, MLSs, or institute, society, and council members.

RAMCO is currently a project team of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® chaired by association executives Rob Authier, Jim Link, and Travis Kessler. “At some point in the future when the time is appropriate, it is RAMCO’s intent to form a cooperative allowing RAMCO to be run by the associations that participate in it,” says Gar Anderson, NAR’s VP of association outreach.

Pricing models are currently under development and more information will be announced at the Leadership Summit in Chicago on Aug. 4. For more information, visit http://www.ramcoams.com.

Houston Uses Tags to Link Print With Web

You may have already noticed the colorful, postage stamp-sized tags on magazine pages or billboards. These Microsoft Tags link printed materials with online content. How? All you do is take a picture of a tag with your cell phone camera (iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.) and the digital content pops up right there on the phone. Reading tags requires users to download some free software onto their phone.

Tags—which can also be placed on business cards, products, and even large outdoor signs—can link to anything from a Web page to an online brochure or electronic business card. Golf Digest magazine, for example, uses tags to link directly to YouTube videos that can be viewed on an iPhone or other smartphone.

This allows the magazine to include not just how-to articles, but also instructional videos within its publication.

Real Estate companies, such as Windermere, are already using tags on their yard signs to provide passersby with the ability to instantly access photos, videos, and details of the listing on their phones.

The Houston Association of REALTORS® first used tags in the June 2010 edition of its monthly magazine, linking the publication’s readers to online content at HAR.com. Tags are also being printed on HAR staff business cards, which will provide seamless access to online information about the association’s various departments. HAR is investigating other possible uses, including event promotions, printable property listing flyers, and other collateral.

Microsoft doesn’t charge a fee either to the tag reader or tag creator. The tag-reading application can be downloaded at http://gettag.mobi.

Trend Report: Mobile, Social, Local Is the Future

What forces and trends will shape the real estate industry in the next few years? This was the question AEs set out to answer through research and focus groups conducted in early 2010. In its final report, the Strategic Issues Work Group of NAR’s Association Executives Committee defines three powerful trends; mobile technology, social networking, and local data.

“As the U.S. real estate market moves into a new decade, it’s clear that advances in mobile communications, changes in online social behavior and convenient access to a wealth of local data will be reshaping the industry in the next few years,” the report states.

As with the committee’s previous reports in 2001, 2003, 2006, and 2008, this examination of strategic trends draws no conclusions and makes no specific recommendations. Yet it does say that “brokers and associations may need to focus on social networking training rather than traditional prospecting strategies” and “MLS organizations may need to consider promoting the quality of their property information as a ‘brand.’ ”

The document is intended to assist real estate associations, brokers, sales associates, MLSs, and others in their strategic planning.

Access the full 2010 report, The Future of Real Estate: Mobile, Social, Local, online in printable form, audio book, and video presentation, at http://www.AEstrategicissues.com.

Winning REALTOR® Advocacy Ideas

The winners of NAR’s Second Annual GABBY Awards, which celebrate the best use of NAR’s online grassroots software system, were announced in May. These innovative ideas to raise money, awareness, and support can be implemented by nearly any association. For more, visit:

Winners: Best Event, Indiana Association of REALTORS®; Best Get out the Vote, Virginia Association of REALTORS®; Best Local Campaign, Reno Sparks and Incline Village Associations of REALTORS®; Best State Campaign, Connecticut Association of REALTORS®; Best Local Newsletter,
North Shore Association of REALTORS®; Best State Newsletter, Connecticut Association of REALTORS®.

Transform & Unify: New Programs to Reshape Your Association

The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® is sponsoring two new programs designed to help associations identify and meet the changing needs of their members.

Facilitated by association consultant and former Florida Association of REALTORS® CEO Jerry Matthews, the first program, called Transform, will help associations find innovative ways to serve their members in a changing market. “The real estate business will be different after this downturn,” says Matthews. “Expectations of associations will also change.” So now is the time to learn new skills and establish new practices, especially in the areas of business skills, professionalism, member relations, communications, business information, technology, and public policy, he adds.

Through the Transform program, Matthews will analyze your current practices and create a plan to help your association become more efficient and valuable. A written report will be created from the research surveys, focus groups, scenario session, and trends sessions. The program also includes a strategic planning retreat as well as an implementation plan.

The second program, called Unify, facilitates the consolidation of local associations in an objective and confidential manner, says Matthews. It is for associations that are considering merging as well as those that have already -decided to merge.

“There are often compelling business reasons for associations to consider joining forces with other contiguous associations to create not just a larger entity but also a more effective one for the members,” says Matthews. “But many times such an open discussion is difficult due to several challenges, including lack of objective research, confidentiality concerns, protectionist attitudes, and the cost of hiring professional help with the process.”

Matthews will help local associations create a smooth transition and identify opportunities to serve their members in new ways through consolidation.

For more on these programs, e-mail jerry@jerrymatthews.com or visit http://www.jerrymatthews.com and click on “resources.”

2010 Association Resource Packets, only $10

The updated Association Resource Packet is a handout to help communicate the many benefits of NAR membership. The $10 packet includes 100 of the Top 10 Benefits of NAR brochure, which features a Member Programs & Services CD; and 100 of the 2010 Catalog, which compiles the best of NAR’s products available for purchase, online education courses, NAR designations and certifications, and the REALTOR Benefits® Program. 

NAR Discontinues Printed Membership Guides

The last printed version of the NAR Member Reference Guide mailed in June to renewing members (new members will receive a printed guide throughout 2010). In an effort to go green, and because of the immediacy provided by the Internet, NAR has opted to transition the printed Member Reference Guide to an entirely Internet-based format beginning in 2011. Therefore, what is now mailing to members will be the final printed guide and card they will receive from NAR. If your association participated in the Custom Message Program, your message will appear on the front flap of your guide, as well as those of your primary renewing members.

Remind members to keep their card since they will no longer get a new one every year. Promotional materials are available online. More details about this change will be announced later this year. For questions, contact Karen Bebart, 312-329-8359, kbebart@realtors.org.

Think REALTOR® Safety Year Round

In addition to promoting REALTOR® Safety Month in September, NAR encourages associations to communicate with members about safety throughout the year.

The 2010 Safety Kit includes a CD-ROM with a new safety video, presentations, and tips on how to stay safe in the office, with clients, and at home. To keep safety awareness top-of-mind, NAR will continue to offer free safety webinars quarterly on a variety of safety-related topics. For more, visit www.nar.realtor/safety.

Hale, Houston Honored for Communications

Bob Hale, president and CEO of the Houston Association of REALTORS®, was honored by the Houston chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators with the 2010 Communication Leadership Award during the organization’s Bronze Quill Awards ceremony on June 3.

The annual award is given to an organizational leader who actively supports communications by initiating, directing, supporting, or sustaining outstanding and effective communications programs.

“The entire HAR staff works hard every day to make sure consumers know the value of a REALTOR® in a real estate transaction and to communicate the benefits of the association to our members,” says Hale. “To have what we do recognized with this honor, and to know it comes from communications practitioners, makes it all the more meaningful.”

HAR’s progressive communications include its popular HAR.com Web site, a Facebook page, a YouTube Channel with more than 300 videos all produced in HAR’s in-house studio and editing suite, as well as The Edge, a weekly eNewsletter, and an online advertising campaign that promotes the value of a REALTOR®.

Nonprofit Mgt. Graduates Recognized at AE Institute

A dozen REALTOR® AEs graduated from the NAR’s professional development certificate program: Strategies in Nonprofit Management, offered by the University of Chicago Graham School of General Studies. AEs completed six classes and passed pre- and post-work assignments in association and nonprofit management courses held during NAR meetings. 

Metzi Anderson, Stow Realty, Vt.
Steven Blanton, RCE, CAE, San Mateo County Assoc. of REALTORS®, Calif.
Kathy Lore, RCE, North Central Mass. Association of REALTORS®, Mass.
Randy McCaslin, RCE, Ventura County Coastal Assoc. of REALTORS®, Calif.
Brian Paul, RCE, Burbank Assoc. of REALTORS®, Calif.
Emily Schwartz, RCE, Citrus Valley Assoc. of REALTORS®, Calif.
Steven Volkodav, RCE, North Shore-Barrington Assoc. of REALTORS®, Ill.
Rachel Weist, Triangle MLS, N.C.
Steven Farace, Suburban West REALTORS® Assoc., Pa.
Nancy Garcia, Northeast Florida Assoc. of REALTORS®, Fla.
Nathan Gorton, RCE, Snohomish County Camano Assoc. of REALTORS®, Wash.
Kimberly Pontius, RCE, Traverse Area Assoc. of REALTORS®, Mich.

Smith Society Inductees

The AEs below were inducted into the Dr. Almon R. (Bud) Smith, RCE, AE Leadership Society. This honor is bestowed on AEs who excel in the association management profession by demonstrating uncommon leadership, a willingness to help others, a desire to continuously improve themselves, and an ongoing commitment to the advancement of REALTOR® association management.

Carol A. Austin, CAE, Greater Tampa Association of REALTORS®, Fla.
Tricia Thomas, RCE, Bay East Association of REALTORS®, Calif.
Gary A. Walter, RCE, Southwestern Michigan Association of REALTORS®, Mich.

Meet the New REALTOR® Association Certified Executives

These 35 Realtor® association executives earned their RCE (Realtor® association Certified -Executive) designation after an extensive course of study and exam in March. For more information on the RCE designation and the change to the RCE designation process effective July 2010, visit nar.realtor/RCE.

Barbara Alsworth, RCE, MetroTex Assoc. of REALTORS®, Texas
Lisia Amburn, RCE, Southwest Virginia Assoc. of REALTORS®, Va.
Samuel Aubrey, RCE, Southeast Valley Reg. Assoc. of REALTORS®, Ariz.
Cora Baker, RCE, New Smyrna Beach Board of REALTORS®, Fla.
Michael Barr, RCE, CAE, Greensboro Regional REALTORS® Association, N.C.
Elise Barry, RCE, Manhattan Association of REALTORS®, N.Y.
Carol Culpepper, RCE, Memphis Area Association of REALTORS®, Tenn.
Annette Fachko, RCE, Buffalo Niagara Association of REALTORS®, N.Y.
Laurie Ganz, RCE, Vail Board of REALTORS®, Colo.
Dave Garrison, RCE, CAE, Florida Association of REALTORS®
John Gormley, RCE, Texas Association of REALTORS®
Paula Hall, RCE, Central Wisconsin Board of REALTORS®
Karl Hampton, RCE, Tulare County Association of REALTORS®, Calif.
Chip Kreps, RCE, Columbia Association of REALTORS®, S.C.
Nina Maggio-Kaeser, RCE, United Association of REALTORS®, N.J.
Susan Morris, RCE, Salisbury/Rowan Association of REALTORS®, N.C.
Barbara Sue Murray, RCE, Mansfield Board of REALTORS®, Ohio
Lisa Noon, RCE, CAE, Virginia Association of REALTORS®
Kimberly Northrup, RCE, Gr. Rochester Association of REALTORS®, NY
Marjorie Phillips, RCE, Williamson Co. Association of REALTORS®, TX
Derek Ramsey, RCE, Kansas City Regional Assoc. of REALTORS®
Victor Raymos, RCE, St. Augustine, St. Johns Co. Assoc. of REALTORS®, Fla.
Tracy Roberts, RCE, Winston-Salem Regional Assoc. of REALTORS®, N.C.
Marlene Sayers, RCE, Greater Rochester Assoc. of REALTORS®, N.Y.
Maria Smirensky, RCE, Columbia Greene Board of REALTORS®, NY
Lisa Anne Smith, RCE, San Luis Obispo Association of REALTORS®, Calif.
Terrance Smith, RCE, Lakes Cities Association of REALTORS®, Texas
Peter Stoller, RCE, Gr. Rochester Association of REALTORS®, N.Y.
Kimberly Trimmel, RCE, Chicago Association of REALTORS®, Ill.
Steve Volkodav, RCE, North Shore MLS, Ill.
Laura Gass Weaver, RCE, Texas Association of REALTORS®