Leadership

Leadership Blog

by Sherri Souza, 2017 National President

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The old saying goes, “The road is long, but the journey is short,” and as 2017 winds down, I’m amazed at how time has flown by. The road is indeed long when you add being Women’s Council National President to juggling family, friends, business and health. Add nearly 150 days of travel to that and the year really flew by. But the year was short because along the way, so many of you have touched me and I want to say that it has been an honor to serve as your National President this year. I have some personal reflections but first, let me tell you what we’ve all accomplished to advance the Council.  

Network Business Model: Up and running!  

Women’s Council has the largest infrastructure of Networks (formerly known as Chapters) in the REALTOR® family and we recognize that the local Networks and their programming is what makes our Council so special. Over a year ago, our bylaws were overhauled to modernize our Networks and allow for more member-driven programming, streamlined governance, and transitioning local affiliate membership to strategic partnerships. In 2017, we hosted numerous webinars, conducted dozens of training sessions, and your Council leadership worked hard to make this transition smooth. We’ll continue to support fostering these changes, and I’m confident that we’ve laid a great foundation in place that will result in member-driven local Networks that will recruit and retain business leaders for years to come.  

Performance Management Network: Growth, innovation and change

The strength of our Council lies within our local Networks and its programming but we’ve been working to foster growth, innovation and change with our designation, the Performance Management Network or PMN. Just a few years ago, we were hovering around 700 PMNs, but this year, we finally broke the 1,000-member milestone. We’ve streamlined the delivery model and at the national level, created a pop-up course concept, where various thought leaders deliver a fast-paced, interactive, one-time course centered on themes including leadership and technology. Our members, who are used to attending outstanding programming, have responded in a big way to this innovative way of delivering education. This year, I formed a Presidential Advisory Group to explore how we can further enhance our designation. Stay tuned for more innovations for this designation in 2018.  

Going Global: Council prestige and member business

For years, our members have asked us to go global, which altruistically makes sense for any organization to undertake in today’s day and age. For the second year in a row, Women’s Council has embraced the Brazil initiative. After 80 years, the Council has unparalleled experience in building business leaders, and other real estate organizations globally look to our experience for inspiration and know-how. Our partner organization in Brazil, COFECI- CRECI, is the largest real estate organization in the globe after NAR. For the second year in a row, we’ve worked with COFECI-CRECI on a sustainable initiative where we organize a joint international real estate women’s conference in Brazil, sharing common ideas, tips, and business. High-level participants in this initiative include NAR leaders, Brazilian government officials, and grassroots Council members who have picked up some referrals and business while creating lifelong friendships as well. The second largest real estate organization in the world in Brazil is quickly learning and leveraging the Council’s 80-year experience, and looking to replicate strides for its women professionals in just a few short years.  After attending the second conference, I’m confident that they will do so. Women’s Council is not just building business leaders in the United States, but around the globe as well. The foundations are in place to make us a truly global organization and we should all be proud to be part of this initiative.  

Industry Leadership: Making our presence known in the industry

We all know that being part of Women’s Council is special -- and I know that we all “get it.” But how are we seen by our industry peers? Thanks to our continued outreach and analytics, your membership in the Council is seen with increasing prestige, respect, and an affiliation you can be proud of, both tangibly and intangibly. Within the National Association of REALTORS®, our participation on the board of directors and committee positions consistently hovers in the 15-25% range, year-upon-year. At your local association, chances are your leadership is also engaged with Women’s Council, with 10% of local and state association Presidents hailing Council membership. At multicultural associations and other affiliate organizations such as AREAA, NAHREP, and CRS, we continue to have a presence and conduct outreach with our existing members and potential members. And our participation in RPAC continues its “jaw-dropping growth,” with $2 million invested and 72% participation rate as of October. We are poised to shatter all records this year and RPAC participation is statistical proof of our passion and commitment to the industry. We are constantly studying, honing and updating our analytics that put teeth behind our mission, which is “a network of successful REALTORS®, advancing women as professionals and leaders in business, the industry and the communities we serve.”

Women's Council: The intangibles

I could go on and on and check off the boxes of things we’ve accomplished this year, but nothing I tell you would beat the intangibles that Women’s Council offers. Travelling around the country and meeting the grassroots members was the highlight of my year. Some of you met me at the airport, I broke bread with others, and many of you have shared your opportunities and challenges that you face as a busy real estate professional. No matter where I travelled, I always felt at home, as if I were with family. I have a lifelong network of trusted professionals to do business with, but more important than that, I have peers and friends that I can lean on throughout the journey. Speaking of the journey, the leadership journey is always full of surprises and unexpected turns. Putting yourself out there is never an easy task, and no matter where you exercise your leadership, it will never go as planned, but what we learn along the way makes us better people and tests our leadership skills. My relationships, career, and life has been shaped by my journey at Women’s Council. Thank you to our Past National Presidents, Executive Committee, Regional Vice Presidents, Steering Committee members and of course staff for your time and talents this year! Most of all, thank you, the Women’s Council members and leaders, for giving of yourselves, your time, your talents, your energy, your creativity and your commitment to the Council to drive our success. It is the diverse backgrounds and perspectives of our members that create this very unique organization within the real estate industry. Our nurturing, supportive environment makes us unique. Hold firmly to this culture and most of all, have some fun doing it!

I wish all a Happy Holiday Season and a very prosperous 2018!

It has been my privilege and pleasure to serve you in 2017.

-Sherri

Souza CIRCLE