Texas Networking & Industry Event Combines Forces With Two State Districts For Overwhelming Success!

By Peggie Pentecost, 2021 Women's Council Texas State President

Texas held their P.O.W.E.R. II event in October as what has come to be known as a “hybrid” event, taking place at the Bayou City Event Center, a beautiful well-appointed and centrally located venue close to Downtown Houston and major freeways. Months of planning for the event gave way to the ultimate pivot to hybrid in the last 30 days of planning when Texas REALTORS® made the decision to cancel their event in Houston, which would have been the first time in 19 years for that Conference to be held there. 

P.O.W.E.R. stands for Promoting Opportunities for Women Entrepreneurs in Real Estate, in keeping with the Mission of Women’s Council to create an educational experience as well as networking opportunities for members. This event was structured to present several different speakers who spoke on a variety of different topics. The event had around 200 people in attendance live and another 150 online and we began with our Keynote Speaker, Jennifer Berman, of Impossible Listing, who came to us virtually from her vacation home in Florida. Our team of expert AV techs set up monitors at the foot of the stage and large screens faced the audience, so they were able to watch her live both on our Zoom feed and in the room. Jennifer shared her stories about her career journey and her three-time battle with cancer and even her experience with COVID. 

We received resounding support from the REALTOR® community in the form of strategic partnerships raising over $65,000 for this five-hour event. We decided to offer an opportunity for a panel discussion with some of our biggest supporters including Sharon Geis, Executive with Cadence Bank; Rita Santamaria (virtually) of Champions School of Real Estate; Tami Bonnell, VP of Exit Realty; and Rachel Luna of Patriot Title. This dynamic group of women shared their rich and compelling stories and highlighted their struggles as women in business as well as provided some great takeaways for business acumen and sound strategies.

As part of this meeting, we partnered with two of our three districts to present the next part of the meeting. Before this event officially kicked off at 10:30 am, Houston Association of REALTORS® gave a never been offered before two-hour MCE course on the subjects of Diversity and Equality in keeping with the National Association of REALTORS® 2021 initiative to raise awareness for Fair Housing. In addition, they worked with our districts to get the entire day’s events to be included for an additional three hours of MCE for both the live and virtual audiences. The event ticket included a lunch of fresh chicken Caesar salad and delicious dessert for our live attendees and while we enjoyed the food, a continuation of the program was presented. Successful Real Estate Broker Owner, Ige Johnson, told her story of success having risen from the rubble of single parenting and starting a new career and business all at the same time. Our well-known Houstonite and National presenter, Crystal Washington, wowed the crowd with her savvy tech practices and she sent everyone away with some great action items to improve their business performance and maintain a work-life balance.

No industry event would be complete without some time to network and to hear from our strategic partners. One of our partners was kind enough to sponsor a Happy Hour to close out the day, which gave way to many photo opportunities with our members, out of town and out of state guests and dignitaries, and of course, the speakers!

This event was made possible by innovative thinking and a huge team effort from an event project team and the District Network Leaders, many of whom worked during the event and assisted with smooth transitions for each of the sessions for our online attendees. Sharing this venue and the AV expenses with the State served to allow the districts a chance to take advantage of holding a hybrid event. Combining expenses made the event even more successful for both the State of Texas and the district participating networks. In addition, this event was highly profitable, and those profits were also shared with each of the participating networks giving them much needed funds for travel and education expenses for National in November.