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Local Chapter Highlight: Western Michigan Chapter

by Jillian Thomas

ChapterhighlightIt started in March of 2014 when Shelley Frody was the President-Elect of the Western Michigan Chapter. The President at the time announced that she was moving to Austin, TX. Suddenly Frody found herself in the position of President and knew she would serve there for 21 months total. This time frame allowed her to think big and plan a huge event with a celebrity speaker: Barbara Corcoran.

Frody found herself pitching her idea to Lola Audu, immediate past president for the Western Michigan Chapter, and both agreed it was a great idea. The next step was to bring it to the board, where excitement continued to build.

After doing some preliminary research on booking Corcoran, Frody reached out to Corcoran's personal assistant for potential dates. They chose the date furthest out, giving them plenty of time to plan and budget for a large-scale event. Once the chapter budgeted that their event costs would be around $60,000 they started seeking out sponsors. Three corporate sponsors made up roughly half of their expenses. The other half was made up in ticket sales. The event total attendance was 900 people.

This event left the chapter and planning team with a feeling of great accomplishment. While they didn’t see a large profit from the event, it really gave the Women's Council, as a whole, a new excitement. They are seeing new members joining the chapter, and the new leadership is very excited to be serving knowing what kinds of things this chapter is capable of doing. "We came together with a common purpose and it was exciting to see the enthusiasm," says Frody.

Corcoran was an amazing speaker and everyone enjoyed the event. She talked about her experiences in growing a successful real estate company, and how what she learned as a child helped her to be successful in business. She was energetic, funny and very personable. Brenda Lee Szlachta says, "Barbara’s presentation was nothing short of amazing. Great energy plus humor and insider information added up to an extremely successful Women’s Council event."

Frody and her daughter had the privilege of picking up Corcoran from the airport and she says, "I wish that we would have had more time to just hang out and talk. She was very candid in talking about her experiences, her family and Shark Tank."

While the Western Michigan Chapter event was a huge success, there are always tips and learning that can be shared:

  1. Frody says 21 months was enough time, but if she had tried to plan this event in one year, it would have been too stressful and probably would not have happened.
  2. She suggests getting local organizations involved in any ways you can, "The more the better."
  3. When bringing in any celebrity speaker, plan an evening event. They had their event on a Friday morning, which is great for REALTORS®, however more tickets would have sold had it been an evening event.

Overall, the Western Michigan Chapter was very pleased with the event. "Being a part of the Barbara Corcoran Event Committee was a great experience…. Shelley Frody's vision and efforts, along with an outstanding WCR team made for an incredible event," says Amy Hayes from the planning team. They would really encourage other chapters around the country to think outside the box and take on events that are bigger than the normal monthly luncheons.

To reach out to Shelley Frody for more tips and ideas on planning a large event, please email her at shelleyfrody@city2shore.com.

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