What Young AEs Need
New AEC work group strives to engage next generation of association leaders?
There’s no doubt that young, time-crunched, tech-savvy Realtors® have been having a dramatic impact on associations. They’ve prompted AEs to create products such as RSS news feeds, implement programs such as Realtor® rookie societies, and restructure leadership ladders that make volunteering less time-consuming. But how has the AE community responded to the growing number of younger AEs?
That’s the question two twenty-something AEs set out to explore.
“We didn’t want to create a ‘club’ simply for the purpose of socializing and networking. We wanted to form a dynamic group to not only explore the evolution of the real estate industry, but also to actively participate in the progress and advancement of the AE community,” says Stephanie Lance, executive officer of the Bullhead City/Mohave Valley Associa-tion of Realtors®, Ariz., who recently formed the group Generation AE, with Ryan Tucholski, rce, association executive of the Lakeland Association of Realtors®, Fla.
Gathering the flock
Lance and Tucholski tapped state AEs to help find generation X and Y association professionals (that’s AEs under 40). “The roster, which initially consisted of a handful of AEs we knew personally, quickly grew to a list of over fifty names from local and state associations throughout the country,” says Lance.
The first Generation AE meeting, held in November at the NAR Realtors® Conference and Expo in Las Vegas, was an even bigger success than Lance and Tucholski could have imagined. “We expected 14 and were surprised with a group of more than 40 AEs from all generations,” explains Tucholski.
The meeting’s objective was to explore generational issues and uncover concerns. “We simply facilitated the discussion,” says Lance, “asking the group to provide their insight, experiences, and opinions on many topics, including whether they thought a generational gap existed between AEs and, if so, how generational differences affect the future of our industry and community.”
The conversation was lively and insightful, according to Lance, and often centered on understanding the NAR governance structure and the roles for new AEs—regardless of age—in that structure.
“Many young AEs were not interested in becoming involved with NAR for two primary reasons: They didn’t understand the importance of getting involved or the process to get involved, or they were never asked to participate in or accepted into NAR committees or workgroups,” she says.
The discussion also focused on what type of mentoring programs work or could work in the AE community. “The group agreed that veteran AEs have a tremendous wealth of information that needs to be shared,” explains Tucholski. “The newer generation of AEs is open to ideas, discussions, and learning from more established AEs, especially regarding their outlook on the future of the Realtor® association.”
Veteran AEs who attended responded enthusiastically to sharing their expertise and expressed interest in learning what those just beginning their AE careers felt about the industry and their members.
What’s next? Generation AE is now an official 2008 AEC work group. They are focused on involving generation X and Y Realtor® AEs in AEC activities, grooming them for future leadership positions, and tapping into the X and Y mind-set regarding professional development and the new generation of members and consumers. Generation AE will hold roundtable forums at the Association Executives Institute in Boston, the NAR Midyear Legislative Meetings, and the NAR Conference and Expo in Orlando.