My second NAR Midyear has come and gone, and I’ve returned home a little lighter in the wallet…and proud of it.
I was honored to attend a special YPN RPAC reception on Wednesday evening. The small gathering was by Nobu Hata and Michael Oppler, who welcomes invitees and special guest Ron Phipps, former NAR President, who addressed the room discussing the value of RPAC dollars in supporting our cause.
Having serve for two years as the RPAC Subcommittee Co-Chair at my local board, I was already well-versed in the importance of being a supporter of RPAC. I have contributed every year but always made excuses to myself as to why I couldn’t yet become a major donor. Wednesday evening at the reception, without being pressured or cajoled, I committed to becoming a Sterling R for the first time.
Here’s the thing: I’m not having a spectacular year. That’s not why I made the commitment. In fact, I have just left my team and gone solo, so I am higher in expenses what is “normal” for me this year. I just made the decision that now is the time – to support what is best for my industry and homeownership. As I watched every person in the room fill out a donation card, I was struck not with a feeling of peer pressure to do the same but with a feeling of pride to belong to this group of invested, involved citizens of real estate.
As former Co-Chair of the Atlanta Board of REALTORS RPAC Subcommittee, I’ve heard every reason in the book to not contribute:
“It’s not tax-deductible.”
“RPAC doesn’t support my candidates or political party.”
“It’s too much money.”
“I’m having a bad year.”
Not every investment in yourself is tax-deductible: your gym membership isn’t, your spa visits aren’t. But you pay them because you believe in them. If you believe in the best for our industry, then you believe in reaching across party lines and supporting REALTOR issues and what is best for our chosen livelihood – RPAC does that. At what cost to you? Whatever you can afford. You don’t have to be a Sterling R, but please do commit so that RPAC can continue to fight for homeownership, property rights, and the career path we’ve all chosen, the thing that brought us together this week in Washigton, D.C.
I urge you to reach out to your local or state Governmental Affairs Director and to your RPAC chair and have a real, frank conversation about RPAC and what your funds do at the local, state and national levels – I think you may be surprised. The same coffers that supported the first-time homebuyer tax credit are now fighting to keep the mortgage interest deduction and to reauthorize federal flood insurance and make reforms to strengthen the program, not to mention what they’re doing in your state, where 70% of your contribution will stay.
On Wednesday, May 16, 2012, the Diversity Committee unanimously voted to pursue the inclusion of gender identity in the NAR Code of Ethics. This is another historic time for NAR, following the last big win from the 2010 NAR annual meeting in New Orleans when NAR’s delegate body voted to amend the NAR Code of Ethics to include sexual orientation as a protected class. That proposal, originally brought forward by the National Association of Gay & Lesbian Real Estate Professionals (NAGLREP) and the Wisconsin Realtor Association, passed with 93% of NAR’s delegate body in favor of the amendment.
While this is just the beginning of the path for gender identity inclusion, it is certainly another big milestone. The distinction between sexual orientation and gender identity is not clear enough. As was stated over and over in the Diversity Committee meeting: if we question the need for further clarification and specific inclusion of gender identity, then there is still a need.
A number of committee members and guests addressed the Committee, including Jeff Berger, founder of NAGLREP.
The resolution will now be sent to NAR’s Professional Standards Committee for further review and then to their Interpretations Subcommittee. Final resolution should hopefully be seen during the NAR annual meetings this November in Orlando.
Photos courtesy of Jeff Berger, NAGLREP
The Young Professionals Network Networking Event is one of my favorite events at NAR – not because I get to hang with the under-40 set and not because there’s an open bar and delicious food, but because it’s a gathering of all of my favorite people in the same place…and because some of the brightest and most innovative minds in real estate are there, chatting over cocktails, sharing ideas, and getting to know one another better, which in turn strengthens our relationships and our industry.
If you’ve thought to yourself: “I’m not a young professional; this event is not for me”… You’re wrong! YPN does not exist to be exclusionary – it exists to involve a demographic that has, in the past, had difficulty finding their place. if you’re young or young-at-heart, you’re welcome!
If you’ve thought to yourself: “I won’t know anyone there”… That’s crazy talk! Chances are, you’ll be surprised who you run into at YPN – fresh, new faces and seasoned veterans alike gather at the YPN event and you’ll certainly know someone there or simply use it as a chance to meet new friends.
If you’ve thought to yourself: “These young people party all night – I’ve got a 7 AM meeting”… Sigh. You’re not the only one, and the party is from 6-8 PM. We can all get to bed early!
Make a note for next year: make it a point to attend the YPN event. I think you’ll be glad you did!
Tuesday morning I had the honor of participating in the NAR “Rethink the Future” experience – a private workshop hosted by the Strategic Planning Committee “to engage in a strategic conversation about the future.”
I’ve been involved in focus groups before, but this was truly an amazing experience. Led by Adaptive Edge, a cutting-edge group that works to guide companies through change into sustainable futures, this interactive experience was unlike any other I’d ever been a part of. Using technology to capture audience responses – from texting in our individual answers to working in teams to formulate a consensus of answers regarding scenarios about where our industry and profession are heading – it was a jam-packed morning of collaboration, ideas, and rethinking housing and the status quo.
The brainchild of NAR’s Strategic Planning Co-Chairs, Shannon Williams King and Elizabeth Mendenhall, it a packed house. We sat through five scenarios – 3 short-term and 2 long-term – projecting the possible future of real estate. As we choose to evolve (or not), we face a multitude of challenges which affect not only our personal businesses but our industry as a whole. As Jackie Leavenworth tweeted: “change is inevitable. growth is a choice.”
Does it sound like something you would be interested in participating in, something you would like to bring to your local area? You’re in luck! The Committee is rolling out a series of #REthinkfuture events around the country and you could be picked to experience it!
Visit the “REThink the Future” website and click on “Download the Lottery PDF.” Your organization might be picked to host an event just like this morning’s and to weigh in on the future of real estate and your National Association of REALTORS®!