Wednesday, August 26, 2009

NAR Leadership Summit '09: Report from Tuesday

Bart Stevens reports: A few final thoughts as we sit in the airport waiting to return to Maine.

Today we were all back in our seats at 8 AM. The day started with an introduction of NAR's new Real Estate Today radio program - which can even be added to company/agent web sites. NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun gave an economic update including that housing affordability is the best in 10 years. The NAR Chief Lobbyist highlighted largest areas of NAR legislative and regulatory focus including expanding the tax credit, appraisal issues, jumbo loans and health care. NAR's Chief Technology Officer took the stage dressed as Dr. Spock, and NAR CEO Dale Stinton announced NAR contest to identify "game changing" ideas - and asked for us all to submit ideas (by Oct. 1) - the best of which NAR will fully fund and implement nationwide.

The conference ended as it began - on a high note. The last speaker was Christopher Gardner - his amazing story out of homelessness was the inspiration for the movie, "The Pursuit of Happyness". Did anyone see it? Chris was played by Will Smith. An amazing story of misfortune and the overwhelming desire to succeed.

I believe the 1800 in attendance left believing the conference is well worth the time to attend, and we're looking forward to the year ahead as leaders of their Boards and Associations -I know our group from Maine is excited!

Also had the opportunity to pop into the NAR building to visit my CRS friends, Rachel Tristano in particular, and got the personalized tour. CRS chapter leadership are off to Phoenix this weekend for training. I'm really going to miss the trip this year. It's networking to the extreme with pretty much every Chapter President in attendance.

Marc, Linda and I found some time before our flight for seeing the sights and left with a little more than we came with - they don't call it the Magnificent Mile for nothing! Association Execs Cindy Butts and Kelly Craig moved onto AE classes for the balance of the day and the others had various flight times.

It was great having this opportunity and I firmly believe our Boards will benefit greatly from it next year! And NAR is funding it again next year for state/board incoming presidents and AEs!

Bart Stevens is the 2010 president of the Kennebec Valley Board. Pictures of NAR building by Monika McGillicuddy, the 2010 president of the NH Association of REALTORS

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

NAR Leadership Summit '09: Report from Monday

Bart Stevens reports: Awoke to an absolutely spectacular day here in the Windy City – sunny skies, warm temps, no humidity and no wind. We were in our seats before 8 AM prepared for a full day of enlightenment.

We weren’t disappointed – the day was packed with insightful sessions. I was particularly struck by how different this conference is from other leadership sessions I’ve attended. The emphasis is much more subtle – none of that “do it this way, do it that way.” This conference is geared towards “real life” skills – it’s not the obvious which distinguishes a great leader from an okay leader, but rather the way we choose to tackle our daily lives and challenges – how routine and day-to-day issues impact our ability to lead in the face of so many changes and challenges bombarding us daily.

Sessions ranged from meeting NAR’s 2010 Leadership team - led by President Vicki Cox Golder (AZ) and President Elect Ron Phipps (RI - a New Englander!) - to an incredible keynote ending. Chicago’s Second City comedy troupe helped introduce the 2010 Leadership Team with a twist.

2003 NAR President Cathy Whatley and St. Paul (MN) AE Keith Holm lead us through an entertaining session focused around the "marriage" between the President and AE. We were given “pre-nups” to fill out and sign detailing how this important relationship will evolve over the next year. Successful marriages require a lot of work and understanding – very similar to the AE/President relationship!

Our very own Cindy Butts has been appointed NAR's 2010 Liaison to Technology by President Vicki. We know Cindy’s love of technology and wish her the best of luck.

The day’s session ended with the highlight of the day – keynote speaker Alison Levine’s talk entitled, “Oxygen not Included.” A truly dynamic young woman, she overcame much diversity to climb high peaks on every continent, served as the team captain of the First American Women’s Everest Expedition – and skied across the Arctic Circle. Her presentation offered a unique perspective on types of leadership, teamwork, innovation and dealing with a changing environment. Taking risks, knowing when to turn back, understanding the importance of having a strong team apply to both mountain climbing and leading associations – truly moving.

Our group of 8 ended with a group dinner at The Cheesecake Factory – oh those desserts! It was just one of those wonderful summer evenings that make you want to wander the streets, taking in the sites and sounds of this wonderful city.

Just remember, as one of the speakers said, “It’s never crowded along the extra mile.”

Bart Stevens is the 2010 president of the Kennebec Valley Board (and currently president of Maine Chapter of CRS & Treasurer of MREIS)

NAR Leadership Summit - Sunday (pre-conference reception)

Bart Stevens reports: Arrived in Chicago Sunday afternoon to sunny skies, warm temperatures and LOW humidity. Reason for Chicago? NAR's Leadership Summit! Together with 7 others from Maine, we join 1800 state/local president-elects and association executives from around the country for a day and a half of skills training and top industry presenters.

Merrymeeting Board President Elect Linda Dupuis and I shared an uneventful flight from Portland, and with some free time on our hands set out to explore the city. We stood in line with hundreds of others to get to the top of the Sears Tower (now called the Willis Tower) but the wait was well worth it - the views were spectacular! Crystal clear skies with views of 4 states. They have a new feature on the 103rd floor - 4 glass modules which extend out from the building. You step out into them and you have a completely unobstructed view - even 103 stories straight down beneath your feet. Not for the height challenged!

Later we caught up with our other Maine attendees: 2010 MAR President Marc Chadbourne, MAR CEO Cindy Butts, Greater Portland Board President Elect Wayne Syphers, Greater Portland CEO Kelly Craig, Bangor Board President Elect Rosanne Bates and husband Keith, at Chicago's Navy Pier for NAR's welcoming reception at the Crystal Garden. Great networking had by all. From the reception we headed down to Bubba Gumps for dinner and relaxation - and to celebrate Rosanne's birthday!

With the one hour time difference added on to a full day's activity it was time for bed. Stay tuned for more later - lots of great speakers scheduled for Monday and Tuesday.

Bart Stevens is the president elect of the Kennebec Valley Board. Pictured: Linda Dupuis; Marc Chadbourne; group - Wayne Syphers, Linda Dupuis, Rosanne Bates, Kelley Craig, Bart Stevens, Cindy Butts