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Don’t Hate Me ‘Cause I’m NAR

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A View from Inside

In the past month or so that I’ve been writing at Agent Genius, my employer, NAR, its volunteers and staff have  taken a lot of heat. I’ve watched mostly from a distance but this week I thought I’d offer my perspective from the inside. I offer my personal perspective both as NAR staff and as a professional who spends her days as an advocate—someone who endeavors to get a large, tradition-laden, often intractable organization to do what I want them to do. I’m talking of course about Congress, but the lessons can be applied universally.

Most importantly, I want Agent Genius readers to know that there are NAR staff and volunteer leadership who hear what you are saying, mostly agree with you and are working to affect the kind of change that will lead NAR into the future.  We offer new ideas, point out when the same old way doesn’t seem to be working and bring your perspective to the table.  This work is hard, not always popular and like in any organization, often met with fear and resistance. We do it anyway because we believe that it is the right thing to do.  We support each other but we could use your help too.
Help Us Help You

 
When I arrived at NAR a little over two years ago one of the first things I was told was that NAR is a member driven organization and one of the fastest ways to get yourself in trouble is to have your project or initiative labeled as “staff driven.” So I join the chorus of AG contributors and commenters who have already suggested that being involved is really the best way to solve the problems that you encounter. Having your thoughts and energy channeled in a constructive way inside NAR helps the “game changers” help you. If you don’t have the time or inclination to sit on a committee or attend a meeting, at least get in touch with committee leadership and share your views and concerns. (If you don’t know how to do this, see my offer of assistance below.)
Share your opinions, complain a bit…sure… but try to have a solution to suggest. Then, don’t be offended if it isn’t immediately adopted. Keep at it and savor the small changes that result. Keep your eye on the prize and understand that it’s a marathon not a sprint.
I know that NAR can sometimes be a difficult organization to navigate—so let me offer to be of assistance reach out to me here, on twitter or the old fashioned way…call me at 202.383.1234 and I’ll try to help you get in touch with a “game changer”. Hopefully we can all benefit as a result.

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Written By

Melanie is the Senior Technology Policy Representative at the National Association of Realtors. That means she lobbies Congress and Federal Agencies on technology policy issues of importance to the real estate industry. In her pre-NAR life Melanie has been a practicing attorney and a software start-up executive. Like any native Californian, Melanie loves good wine and bountiful farmers markets.

29 Comments

29 Comments

  1. Russell Shaw

    February 4, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    Melanie,

    I don’t hate you – I appreciate the fact that you are here on AG and respect what you are doing. I believe that my views regarding this would be true for most of AG writers and readers, as well.

    I believe that the “atmosphere” Benn and Lani have created here on AG is the very reason you are writing here at all. I applaud the changes happening inside the NAR that create this sort of open communication. Please keep up the good work!

  2. Maureen McCabe

    February 4, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    Not a big reader of AG so I did not realize there was an NAR staff member writing for AG. I have spent more time checking back on the drama… to see if flames break out again.

    I am glad to hear of changes inside NAR.

  3. Ken Montville

    February 4, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    Reaching out with the hand of conciliation, understanding and empathy go a lot farther than “deal with it”.

    I personally found the phone call from Vickie Cox Golder and then Laura Bowen after my “Open Letter” post on AG a few weeks back to be much more encouraging than the recent flame war. With staff such as yourself and Laura and leadership from the likes of Vickie Cox Golder, I can believe that change is possible and might even enjoy paying my dues (well, maybe not gripe as much).

    Pulling together rather than polarizing into us and them camps is so much more productive and effective.

  4. Joe Loomer

    February 4, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Melanie,

    What Russell said, times two.

    Thank you for your service to our industry.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

    …..oh, and when’s that RPR thing rolling out again?

  5. Greg Cooper

    February 4, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    Thank you Melanie. Anytime we as members can have positive interaction with our organization it’s a good thing. We all realize that speaking up on issues carries a certain weight and to that end your time and efforts are appreciated.

  6. Kevin Tomlinson

    February 4, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    Melanie,

    What a refreshing post. You see, your approach is elegant, and humane. Nice.

    People LIKE nice. They are over “deal with it.”

    Thanks for communicating in a way that is inclusive as opposed to exclusive.

    I really appreciate your post.

    (omg..is this a real comment from Kevin Tomlinson?)

    • Brandie Young

      February 4, 2010 at 11:56 pm

      (omg..is this a real comment from Kevin Tomlinson?)
      I was thinking the same thing!

  7. Jennifer Rathbun

    February 4, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    Hey Mel,
    That what I tell my kids! We’re in this together. I can’t help if I don’t know. And I need your advice for a solution! Some ideas won’t work under current circumstances. So give me a few to choose from and help me implement one of them!

  8. Benn Rosales

    February 4, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    big SMILE to Melanie – I’m sure many will take you up on your offer.

  9. Ken Brand

    February 4, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    Book – I echo Russell and Joe and well, all the positive people who’ve commented above me.

    Fight the good fight Melanie and thank you.

    Cheers.

  10. Melanie Wyne

    February 4, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    Thanks for all the kind comments. While the title says “I” this really wasn’t a blatant and narcissistic plea for affirmation. I really want to point out the WE in the post. There is tribe of game changers at NAR so…on their behalf…I’ll say thanks.

    Speaking of the title of the post tho…I think I’ve unlocked the secret to having your post read and commented on. Just inlcude NAR and a negative verb.

    Finally, Benn, I got my first call within 10 minutes of posting this. Keep em coming.

  11. Janice Harper

    February 5, 2010 at 1:52 am

    Reaching out with the hand of conciliation, understanding and empathy go a lot farther than “deal with it”.

    I personally found the phone call from Vickie Cox Golder and then Laura Bowen after my “Open Letter” post on AG a few weeks back to be much more encouraging than the recent flame war. With staff such as yourself and Laura and leadership from the likes of Vickie Cox Golder, I can believe that change is possible and might even enjoy paying my dues (well, maybe not gripe as much).

    Pulling together rather than polarizing into us and them camps is so much more productive and

  12. Greg Cooper

    February 5, 2010 at 7:30 am

    Melanie,

    Your grace and dignity in response are TRULY appreciated. You certainly deserve the profiles in courage badge for jumping into this pool of high blood pressure inducing posts. In addition to unlocking key for getting your post read through the words NAR and a negatie verb, you’ve clearly discovered another one. Treating the members nice. Again I say thanks.

    Janice, in all do respect do you know where that phrase comes from? It didn’t originate from Ken.

  13. Jacob Clayton

    February 5, 2010 at 10:23 am

    Hi Melanie,

    I’m just coming back to the land of the living after spending the last 5 months recovering from a blow from NAR and my local organizations that practically knocked me out of the real estate business. Based on my experiences and the responses (or in many cases, lack of responses) from staff at all levels, I did not renew my membership in 2010 and I’m happy with my decision. Our philosophies and values seem to be polar opposites and all I have witnessed first-hand is a group that is so impervious to members and consumers that I can’t believe it’s still in existence.

    But…your post was very timely on a personal level in that through all of this I have definitely lost sight of the fact that there may actually be decent, honest, empathetic, hard working people involved in the associations. Thank you for reminding me of that and for being one of those people. I think I’ll put down my rage journal and start paying more attention to the insight and advice you are providing here. Kudos to you for your efforts and to AG for providing an atmosphere for meaningful debate and growth.

    • Melanie Wyne

      February 5, 2010 at 2:35 pm

      Jacob,

      Thank you. Your comments are really gratifying. Continued good luck with the comeback.

  14. Fred Glick

    February 5, 2010 at 10:40 am

    Just an FYI. I had a great conversation with Melanie about something I wanted to bring up to NAR and she got me the right person.

    Yes folks, she is real and they do want to help!

    Yippie!

    • Melanie Wyne

      February 5, 2010 at 2:39 pm

      Fred–

      Glad Cliff Niersbach was able to help you.

  15. MorganHillRealtor

    February 7, 2010 at 12:52 am

    NAR has always been a source of frustration for a lot of real estate professionals. However, your point about offering solutions instead of complaining is something that a majority of us probably don’t do often enough. Taking in active role in our Association would strengthen it and hopefully help the healing between disgruntled consumers and our industry…which due to a lack of regulation now has a less than optimal reputation. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  16. Mark Brian

    February 8, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    Don’t Hate Me ‘Cause I’m NAR https://ow.ly/155q4

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