Successes and Challenges
Suzanne Young, Honolulu Board of REALTORS®, 5,758 members: "One of the greatest successes we've had recently is our program to go out to the members' offices instead of having them all come to our office for events or education. We have nearly 6,000 members, and we've deployed about five or six staff members to go out to the offices to make themselves available to do training. We've found the reception from members to be really great. We deliver MLS training, new tools, and information about the Code of Ethics, and we've heard good things from the members who really appreciate the fact that we're going out to them. We started this as an experiment in 2014 with one staff member doing it, but last year we stared shuffling duties to allow more staff to do it. We still have people back at the office, but we have more of our staff out in the field, and it has made a difference."
Paul Cauchi, e-PRO, senior vice president of commercial, Miami Association of REALTORS®, 1,900 members: "One exciting initiative that we're working on is expanding our commercial YPN. We have about 2,000 members, and we're trying to find the next generation of leaders to engage the younger commercial practitioners and to identify future leaders, especially those who want to get involved but don't really know how. We're pairing young members with practitioners who have been in the business a long time. Miami also has a robust residential YPN, and we've started incorporating some of them into our classes to teach our commercial members how to create dynamic videos, and how to use drones and new social media tools. Commercial agents tend to be less experienced with new technology than residential agents. Our goal for commercial events is to incorporate both education and networking as well as including young residential agents interested in commercial."
Kathy Ludwig, CEO, Greater Harrisburg Association of REALTORS®, Pa., 1,635 members: "In the past year, our biggest challenge—or opportunity, depending on how you look at it—was when we brought our MLS, which was an independent operation, back under the association umbrella. It was a move done to cut costs. We felt we had two of everything—two copiers, two phone systems—and it was really redundant. We had to mesh the staff and try to get them to understand their respective responsibilities and what the others do in regard to how it all services our members. So that was also a success, because it worked for us. Our members never felt any change in our level of service. We're also one of the associations involved with the TREND/MRIS MLS merger, so that's the next big item on our plate. We're looking forward to those discussions."
Doris A. Nurenberg, RCE, CEO, North Carolina Regional MLS, 5,000 subscribers: "We're a new regional MLS, so I'm a virtual CEO at this point, and that's been a challenge to learn how to work without staff. Our nine associations are all in the MLS conversion process, so I need to keep in constant contact with the AEs to help them and also address the challenges the members face. It's a big interruption in members' businesses because they have to learn everything all over again. The AEs, too, are learning to be something different without an MLS, so that's a transition that we're all working toward. Relationship building is really important toward making this regional MLS successful. I love the challenge, though, I'm really glad I did it. It's very exciting. I think the trend toward regional MLSs should continue because the benefits to the members are just amazing, but the challenge is the change—REALTORS® just don't embrace change as well as I would like them to."
Lorri Edwards, AE, Columbus Board of REALTORS®, Ga., 649 members: "Making it through our first audit was a big success in the last year. I am the new AE at the association, so I learned a lot about the processes and history here through the audit. I know it's an expense but it is good for associations to have an audit as part of the Core Standards. I was able to learn about the checks and balances that are in place to avoid any questions and to be transparent. We'll establish more of these going forward. Getting through Core Standards was a challenge but my board did rather well. I'm not worried about the new additions to the Core Standards; I just think it makes us better. Accountability makes us perform better and my board is very supportive, although I would like to see more volunteer leaders directly involved in working on the Core Standards reporting. It would not only be easier if everyone participated, but it would be a good learning process for everyone."