There was no Friday post because after returning from a dinner decided I couldn’t stay awake one more minute, and didn’t. I had three breakfasts on Friday, more meetings, one person stood me up for the only 30 minutes findable the entire day, a Regional lunch where I had to pay rapt attention to details since Maine has the NAR RVP in 2011, more meetings, Regional Caucus, and finally the NAR Executive Committee dinner at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Observations:
1. We have the coolest RVP for New England, Barbara Schmerzler, who kept our caucus (regional meeting) moving. A word she’d likely use to describe herself is efficient, and any of us who get a chance to be effecient should be that. Time is so valuable.
2. A notable thing about destination dinners, such as at a museum, is that it’s really not possible to describe dinner next to giant taxidermied elephant with a band playing Herb Alpert. We had little stuffed animal elephants on our plates with the place cards, which is a banquet idea I plan to steal. More than a decade ago I bonded with a fellow NAR committee member on Member Policy, Ted Loring, who agreed to fill the very important role of “Butts Guest” at the place cards. When you attend NAR meetings, be sure to introduce yourself to whoever you sit next to at any committee meeting, because much of the great part of REALTOR association volunteerism is the people.
This morning there was no chance my feet could tolerate another day of heels, so my flattest of shoes tromped with my picture ID to get the official ballot for a NAR candidate race. I really like voting at NAR Board of Director meetings. The big highlight was voting to approve an addition to the Code of Ethics that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Other notable details include no NAR dues or PR assessment increase for 2011-2013; there are RPAC givers exceeding $50,000 and even $75,000 in lifetime contributions; and a REALTOR University concept is moving forward in creating an undergraduate and master’s degree program with specific real estate content.
Following an outside lunch at the Shoreham, saw that there are beautiful grounds, tables with fire pits, and even a whole area of hammocks lined up together. I stayed at the Shoreham for years and never went far enough outside to notice (or use) any of those. Serves as a good reminder that there’s always something more outside of anything we’re doing or thinking about. I should have found 30 minutes for the hammock.
How ironic that my comments of the week began by referencing the train ride down and I now find myself riding the Acela Express back with nothing but fond memories and exuberance for the future. OK, so maybe exuberance is an odd and in your mind, possibly phony word but really I’m lost for a better one. I truly do want to convey the confidence that I have in our association, respect for the political process and simply the overall feeling that no matter what, REALTORS will remain at the forefront of housing and land use.
Hmm, as a local Government Affairs Director perhaps that is what the REALTOR® Party could be all about…confidence, respect and housing. No, no, no [internal dialogue]. The reality is that the REALTOR® Party is about far more appropriate and relevant ideals….vote, act and invest!
Before you find yourself overwhelmingly impressed with that tag line, it is my duty under New York Department of State disclosure requirements, to let you know that it was in fact, our talented NAR staff that came up with it. Many of whom by the way, I am proud to call friends. That being said, let’s break it down shall we?
Vote for REALTOR® Party Candidates
Act on REALTOR® Party Issues (live CFA hitting your inbox on May 16th by the way)
Invest in RPAC
Finally, this week I was lucky enough to tweet, facebook, yelp and foursquare with really some of the best of them [insert quick shout out to the rest of the “Live 5” here] but aside from the true connections and friendship I developed during these meetings, the real highlight for me was discussing the aforementioned ideals with fellow staffers and members from across the 50 states and beyond. How great would it be if the Virgin Islands Territorial Association of REALTORS® needed a GAD?
From RPIC to RPAC, AEC to YPN I continuously found myself surrounded by focused, intelligent and yes, exuberant colleagues. Here’s to not only the committed members that came to DC and make our local, state and national associations great but also the CEOs and staffers who take it even further and make it even better.
Next stop NY Penn Station (that’s where I get off), so it is with a profound sense of accomplishment that I bid you adieux. See you in N’awlins!
There’s a sign outside a hospitality suite on my floor that says “whisper zone” to remind those “networking” in the hall that others are sleeping. My first thought was it’s a good idea and to try it for my own convention. Then thought I doubt it works. HA HA – learned tonight the sign totally doesn’t work. Since I’m awake …
By 9:30 AM I was already in my fifth meeting of the day. One meeting, Member Policy, where I’ve served for a really long time, lasted 22 minutes. I appreciate when committee chairmen and staff don’t create stuff so that a meeting doesn’t seem like a “bigger” experience if there just aren’t more issues to consider. Another meeting, MLS Policy had 4 things that made important topics deliberate well: a) the right AV for audience engagement; b) a really good chairman; c) amendments typed on the screen so everyone could see what they were voting on; d) experienced staff to explain and give background. And congrats/wow to NAR staff Cliff Niersbach who was reported to be in his 35th year at NAR! That’s a lot of policy discussions, Cliff!
The Biz Tech (not its formal name, but Forum called that since shorter) was aired on UStream so could watch from my hotel room instead of a few floors down in the same building (or elsewhere in the world). Here’s a post I saw on Twitter, linking to Facebook, with Tech Tips from that Forum.
My members headed to the Senate this afternoon for Hill Visits. This evening was Maine Night Out on a very fun dinner boat with dancing – which ended with us discovering one in our group could actually be on “So You Think You Can Dance” [tv show] – didn’t dance whole evening then last song was spinning on the ground, flying through the air, busting out moves — the entire boat stopped to watch. There’s going to be continued debate about moving to more virtual meetings versus live meetings – but really, there are some things we’d all miss about issues – and about each other - if we were just sitting on the other side of the phone or computer for meetings.