As a young professional, I think becoming involved can be intimidating. Most of the leaders on committees and the Board of Directors have been in the business 10, 20, and 30 years or more. I was fortunate to have a broker who encouraged me to get involved in the local association of REALTORS® when I was a newbie. After two years in the business, I was invited to be Secretary of the Board of Directors. True story, I actually didn’t know that I was setting my course for Presidency until a couple of months after I accepted the position!
When I realized where the path led, I took every opportunity to attend any program or meeting I could to educate myself. Because I was involved in leadership, my board paid for a lot leadership retreats and conventions- but a lot of the education I found out there was free. I learned about upcoming legislation, how to become a leader, how to work with the media, what other boards from across the country were doing to combat the same problems we were facing- just a plethora of information. I also got a chance to network with big names in my area and leading agents from all over the state.
As I was learning, I was becoming the go-to person for questions from other agents. Agents that had been in the business 20 years were asking me for information! Meanwhile, I was also building credibility in the community and with my sphere of influence. My clients were not only pleased with my knowledge of the local market, but of real estate issues. I began getting referrals from past clients, current clients, other agents in my office, and my favorite- agents who had left the business!
I just recently turned over my gavel to our new Board President, but I’m still very involved and my business has done nothing but grow in this tough market. So I’m going to pass on the advice of my former broker Karen Hertzberger-Schmidt, “If you want to really know what’s going on, get involved.” Get involved—your board can probably use fresh blood…I mean fresh ideas.
Myth 1: “I don’t have time to be involved.”
Debunk: The average committee takes up 6-8 hours of time PER YEAR.
Myth 2: “I’m just starting my business; I will lose business by becoming involved.”
Debunk: See above blog. I was number four in production last year for my office- that’s out of 30 agents and while serving as Board President.
Myth 3: “I’m not serving because I’m not part of the “clique” that runs the Board.”
Debunk: If the same people keep serving on the board or committees, it’s probably because the same people keep stepping up to lead. I get asked all the time how to get the “young” agents involved and I tell people to just ask us; but if you really want to lead- just step-up I guarantee your board is looking for someone like you.