Mary Frances Burleson waves to the crowd during the RPAC Hall of Fame Ceremony, where she was recognized for $125,000 of cumulative RPAC investments.

Some RPAC Hall of Fame Inspiration

Mary Frances Burleson waves to the crowd during the RPAC Hall of Fame Ceremony, where she was recognized for $125,000 of cumulative RPAC investments.

Mary Frances Burleson waves to the crowd during the RPAC Hall of Fame Ceremony, where she was recognized for $125,000 of cumulative RPAC investments.

As a relatively young, relatively new person on the NAR involvement scene, I’ll confess to having my eyes start to glaze over at events such as the RPAC Hall of Fame Ceremony. Aside from a few folks–primarily from my home state–I don’t know the folks on stage, and they’re generally a generation (or two) older than I am.

The last inductee who crossed the stage at the ceremony this week was being recognized for achieving cumulative RPAC investments in excess of–wait for it–$125,000. I was impressed and snapped some photos because, well, I am always snapping photos. Then I thought nothing more of it until later in the week.

I recognized the distinguished looking senior practitioner from the ceremony when I crossed paths with her in the lobby of the Marriott Wardman Park. I congratulated her on the RPAC achievement. She stopped, locked eye contact with me, and said with a smile, “It’s what we do,” before continuing on her way.

I then came across my photos of her on stage. This tiny woman lit up the stage in her bright red jacket, and she exhibited a high class flavor of showmanship when given her award.

After spending a few minutes on Google, I see that this woman, Mary Frances Burleson, is just shy of her 60 year anniversary with the Ebby Halliday REALTORS® in Texas, where she started work in 1958 as a part-time receptionist. She is now the CEO of that company, the largest independent real estate firm in Texas, which posted 2015 sales in excess of $8 billion.

Besides being an industry success story, she’s been a longtime industry servant, earning a National Association of REALTORS® Distinguished Service Award in 2013. Yet she has continued to invest thousands upon thousands of dollars into RPAC since then. (She was inducted into the $50,000 tier for RPAC Hall of Fame in 2010.)

Congratulations, Mary Frances Burleson, and thanks for the example and inspiration!

Matt Difanis

Matt is a multi-office broker-owner in Champaign, Illinois, home of the University of Illinois. He is a high producing team leader, the 2017 President-Elect of the Illinois REALTORS®, a past REALTOR® Magazine “30 Under 30” honoree, and a law school graduate. Matt is also a photography and videography junkie.

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