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Getting a Call From the President (No, Not THAT President)

Guy on PhoneDevoted readers of  AgentGenius and, perhaps, the occasional web surfer may have noticed something I posted last week as an Open Letter to the President of  the NAR.  In that post, I expressed some disappointment with the direction the NAR has been taking with regard to its public awareness campaign (i.e., advertising) and how, I thought, member Realtors were being either ignored or taken for granted.  After all, dues aren’t in jeopardy.

The comments came in fast.  Most were in agreement with the general thrust of the post.  Some wanted to call me out. Some striving for understanding of the challenges any large organization faces in engaging with its members.  That was Sunday.  It was also the day I was hopping a plane to Phoenix for a real estate tech conference.

Monday, during one of the breaks in the conference schedule, I dutifully checked my voice mail (along with dozens of other Realtors in the courtyard).  I had to replay the first one…”Hi, Ken.  This is Vicki Cox Golder…”  So, I called back.

The President of NAR Reaches Out

We had a nice conversation about the blog post.  She wanted to let me and, I suppose, by extension, AgentGenius readership, know that she is listening and is open to new ideas. She let me know that she places great importance on the YPN and their input, that she has installed new Committee Chairs to cultivate new ideas and new approaches and that she has a Facebook page that she looks at on a regular basis.

The conversation was congenial and, for me, informative.

Will Change Happen?

As Matt Rathbun loves to remind us in many of his comments to AG blog posts, the NAR is its members.  Maybe so.  However, one person cannot effect change whether it’s a lowly blogger or the President of the NAR.  We need to keep letting the NAR leadership know that the general membership needs some attention. The YPN needs to take advantage of an opportunity some of us older folk don’t have — time. The NAR needs to have their feet kept to the fire, so to speak. The President of NAR reaching out was both gracious and encouraging. Visible action from NAR Leadership needs to happen next.

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To Be or Not to Be…Co-opted

Shortly after Barak Obama was elected, the then President-Elect attended a dinner at the home of noted conservative columnist, George Will.  Also in attendance was another columnist and pundit, Charles Krauthammer.  I remember seeing Charles Krauthammer on one of the Friday night political talk shows on my local PBS station (we liberals love our PBS) shortly after the dinner.  He joked that since he had attended the dinner he had been thoroughly co-opted by Obama.  Of course, as time went by, he continues to blast away at the Obama Administration and its policies.  That’s what conservative pundits do.

What’s my point?  It was great to talk to Vicki Cox Golder and, later in the week, to Laura Bowen at NAR’s Washington, DC office.  The conversations were friendly and enlightening.  I still plan to ask what the NAR is doing for it’s membership in the absence of any visible action.

  • Where is the NAR on membership health care availability?
  • Will the NAR step up to protecting the Realtor brand from the likes of Zillow and others?
  • Will the NAR Leadership lead with technological innovation instead of appearing two steps behind everyone else?
  • Will the NAR explain why they want grassroots support (Call to Action) instead of just saying, “Click Here”
  • Will the NAR really listen?

Vicki, thanks for calling.  And thanks to Laura Bowen as well!

A Postscript

Natural disasters are no one’s fault. They happen regardless of economic status, social standing or geographic boundaries. We all live together on this planet and we have responsibility to help when help is needed.  The Haitian Earthquake has left the island nation in a pile of rubble.  Those that have survived will need food and water.  I don’t have a favorite charity to recommned.  There are dozens of humanitarian organizations trying to help.  If you can, please donate.  Even a little bit.

Written By

“Loves sunrise walks on the beach, quaint B & Bs, former Barbie® boyfriend..." Ken is a sole practitioner and Realtor Extraordinaire in the beautiful MD Suburbs of DC. When he's not spouting off on Agent Genius he holds court from his home office in Glenn Dale, MD or the office for RE/MAX Advantage Realty in Fulton, MD...and always on the MD Suburbs of DC Blog



  1. Nobu

    January 17, 2010 at 10:17 am

    Hi Ken,
    I’m one of the YPN’ers (NAR’s Young Professional Network – you mentioned above in your post, Coincidentally, I was to be in Chicago last week to take part in a REBAC curriculum panel and to be formally installed on the Nat’l YPN Advisory Board and in the Communications chair for the group when your “Open Letter…” blog post hit the wild. By the time I had gotten to NAR-HQ I had received both an update and another committee appointment directly from VCG herself. I was just as shocked as you were when I heard that she was personally acknowledging your post (along with the Twitter #RTB trend), and that she was doing something about it.

    Up until YPN came along a couple years ago it was fair to call me jaded and cynical to what I thought was a disconnect between Realtors like us and leadership. Don’t get me wrong, that disconnect is alive and kicking, but I’m now doing my part to bridge it, and YPN has given me the perfect vehicle to do so. I think we should all be out there, getting involved in groups and committees you’re passionate about with NAR. That passion, your voice? It’s being heard now, but I digress.

    Call me a co-opted voice, but there’s something different about this NAR president. She seems more aware of Realtor2.0 and has the assets in place to stay connected to them; let’s not forget her “On the Rise” concept for her term as president. So let’s take advantage of that!

    By the way, YPN membership isn’t distinguished by age, it’s by attitude: “Young” at heart. We’d love to have folks like you Ken, and anyone else who read this or your last post.

    • Ken Montville

      January 17, 2010 at 1:52 pm

      Hey, Nobu. I ran into one of your compatriots at the conference I was attending – Brian Copeland from Nashville. He caught me at our opening reception to talk about the blog post.

      It’s definitely an encouraging sign when the President of the NAR and the Director of Executive Communications reach out to say they’re listening and want input. It needs to continue well into the membership. No small task to be sure.

  2. Greg Cooper

    January 17, 2010 at 10:29 am

    Thank you Vicki and Laura for reaching out. It’s VERY nice to hear that someone is listening. Ken thanks to you as well for the update and punctuating it all with the reminder that action must come next. It may be the first time I ever felt that NAR had heard the concerns.

    • Ken Montville

      January 17, 2010 at 1:53 pm

      Greg, Benn and Lani have always said NAR reads AG. They’re right.

  3. Jonathan Benya

    January 18, 2010 at 1:37 am

    Very classy to have her call you. I thought the post was great, and it’s good to know that the NAR is hearing how the members feel by reading blogs like AG. Matt is right, the NAR IS it’s members, but right now there is a pretty serious disassociation between the members and the entity, IMHO.

    What I’ve never been able to reconcile is that the NAR is a trade organization, but it feels like they spend more time making inaccurate projections on the market than they do promoting Realtors. To me, it makes Realtors look bad when the NAR plugs bad estimates and projections into the news media, and when they come out wrong, it reflects poorly on the industry as a whole.

    I hope the olive branch they extended to you can follow through with a better shaping of the NAR’s public image

  4. Jay Ferguson

    January 18, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Ken – great post. I agree 100% about NAR. My only contact with them seems to be via the call to action or GRI classes being offered through emails. Yet I pay my dues and go on about my business in my little part of the world. I was not very impressed with the past leadership NAR and I am hopeful that the new leadership will look to it’s members on what they want.

  5. Melissa Zavala

    January 19, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    It is very gratifying (and often surprising) when you get a call like that. Nice to know that someone is reading your posts . . . and cares enough to reach out.

  6. Lorraine Kratz

    January 23, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    I find that there are several issues that NAR seems to like to skirt and health care is one. Also, I am a bit underwhelm with &

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