By nature, RE/MAX Affiliates are often found at the forefront of advancements in the real estate industry. Attribute it to their innate drive, inherent professionalism or staggering productivity, but there they are, serving as leaders and offering support, direction and involvement.
Great leadership can come in many forms and, for some, leading local and national boards or associations has become a calling – and a way to further contribute to advancing the real estate profession. Here are three tips from top producers and real estate leaders to think about when pursuing leadership positions beyond the brokerage or taking steps to become more involved in local communities.
1. Remain Knowledgeable and Compassionate – Always
When it comes to leadership, Kelly Marks has done it all. And in August, the Broker Associate with RE/MAX of Greensboro is running for the North Carolina Association of Realtors President for 2021.
Marks is drawn to various positions – he’s previously served as President of the Greensboro Regional Realtors Association, President of the Triad MLS Corporation, and North Carolina Association of Realtors Political Action Committee Trustee, plus through the North Carolina Realtors, he served as a two-term Treasurer, on the Executive Committee for six presidents and on the four-person leadership team – because he’s seen how much Realtors matter in a community.
“Whether it’s through zoning boards, school boards, charitable organizations, blood drives or day-to-day interactions with clients and referrals, it’s amazing to see the impact real estate agents have on local communities,” says Marks, the 2007 Realtor of the Year for the Greensboro Regional Realtors Association. “I’m grateful to have the opportunity to be so involved.”
Having achieved great successes in both leadership and business spheres with a proven track record, Marks attributes much of that success to the fact that he looks beyond the transaction.
“At its core, the real estate profession doesn’t demand legislative involvement, but what drew me to getting involved at the local and state level is that we have the opportunity in this profession to have a significant impact on economies and people’s lives beyond the initial home transaction,” he says. “Getting involved allows me to make an impression on legislation surrounding property tax and taxes on real estate services – things that have a lasting impact. I’m lucky to have the opportunity to help people protect and grow the equity in their homes, and it’s been incredibly fulfilling to provide support long after the closing transaction.”
2. Let Your Passion Lead
Picking an issue or cause that is meaningful – and finding the right people and tools to connect with to improve the situation – is a powerful feature of leadership. Bob Oppenheimer, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Fortune Properties in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, knows firsthand.
“I began seeing a lot of really hard-working and high producing agents who lacked personal financial literacy and, as a result, were unable to comfortably retire,” Oppenheimer says. “That became the impetus for me starting a financial literacy program at the state level. Having a platform and resources behind me to make that goal a reality was invaluable and something I hope future generations of Realtors can build upon.”
Oppenheimer has served the New Jersey Realtors as State President in 2017, President-Elect in 2016 and First Vice President in 2015. He was on the NAR Presidential Advisory Group that instituted the “Center for Realtor Financial Wellness” on the national level. He’s also served on numerous chair and committee positions for the association. On the local level, he served as president of the Eastern Bergen County Board of Realtors for four years and was named their 2010 Realtor of the Year.
“If you want to better assist your clients or make a positive change in your community, it’s best to make modifications from the inside,” he advises.
3. Set High Standards Personally and Professionally
Anna Garifine has been in the real estate industry for over 20 years, and in 2018 was elected to the Board of Directors for Monmouth Ocean Regional Realtors. Midway through her three-year term, she aspires to continue to grow her role with the local board and become more involved on the state level. In addition, she has volunteered on several committees and currently serves as Chair of the Manager’s Committee.
“Successful agents are those that get involved in their community, know the market and are dedicated to professionalism. The more experienced you are, the more you can help your clients achieve their homeownership dreams,” says Garifine, Broker/Manager at RE/MAX Synergy in Long Branch, New Jersey. “Volunteering and having an active role in local, state and national boards will help keep you relevant in the ever-evolving world of real estate. Taking those steps helps set you apart from the crowd.”
“I believe in setting standards high and demonstrating to the public that real estate licensees are true professionals who offer a valuable service. In order to do this, we need to set higher industry standards on licensing requirements and continuing education programs to show that we cannot be replaced by apps,” adds Garifine. “Getting involved in leadership has been a great opportunity for me to mentor others and help further the professionalism of the real estate industry.”
The extraordinary RE/MAX leaders shaping the industry help keep RE/MAX the premier name in real estate. In the words of RE/MAX CEO Adam Contos, “a leader is someone who chooses to have an impact and finds fulfillment in impacting others in their journey.”
RE/MAX Affiliates: Are you a real estate industry leader currently serving on a board or association? Email your name, RE/MAX office, city, state, position/title, board/association and photo to firstname.lastname@example.org. You just might be featured in a future article.