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Deep dive into Glenn Shimkus – NAR’s latest exec hire

(REAL ESTATE) With NAR’s reorganization and new vision, what does this new executive hire say about the association’s next steps? (Hint: a lot)

glenn shimkus

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has announced Glenn Shimkus as the new VP of Strategy and Innovation. He has been tasked with establishing a new strategy and innovation group within the SBIT (strategic business, innovation, and technology) group at NAR.

The new strategy and innovation group will be comprised of two new teams – the emerging technology team (which will evaluate emerging technologies’ impact on real estate, and forge relationships with other institutions developing new tech), and the strategy team (which will work on strategic projects involving NAR’s investment companies and large tech companies).

Shimkus will also play a large role in NAR’s forthcoming strategic think tank, “a network of world class business leaders and innovators from inside and outside of real estate.”

“Glenn has been heavily involved in the technology, real estate and investor communities for a large part of his career, and we are excited to put his knowledge to work for NAR,” said Bob Goldberg, CEO of NAR. “Glenn’s addition to SBIT will help push technological innovation that is beneficial to NAR members and the real estate industry.”

“As a long-time technology enthusiast and entrepreneur, I look forward to positioning NAR to foster innovative technology growth,” said Shimkus. “Our focus on building key relationships with emerging technology partners, academic and government researchers and private technology corporations will allow us to drive innovation in the real estate industry and keep our members at the forefront of technological change.”

What struck us most about Shimkus is that he is of a rare breed, with extensive tech experience outside of real estate and a background in real estate tech. What often happens to real estate technologists is they find themselves exclusively in that sector, independent of the rest of the tech world, whereas Shimkus remains a TechStars mentor and investor, with feet firmly planted in both worlds. Again, a rarity.

Victoria Gillespie, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at NAR noted that in the buildout of these teams, they’ll continue to seek this rare type of talent. “We believe that to be successful we need to find the rare folks that have a combination of this skill set and background in order to accelerate our projects and ultimately deliver against our goals.”

Gillespie indicated that the combination of knowledge (real estate and tech) was a selling point for hiring Shimkus in this new role, adding that it is “also important to understand that Glenn’’s knowledge of real estate industry goes beyond the brokerage as he built out the online mortgage platform for Guaranteed Rate before founding Cartavi and he created the ‘lead to close’ vision for DocuSign for their efforts to get rid of paper in the real estate industry. We believe that Glenn brings NAR and our members a truly unique combination that we believe will provide great value as we drive forward with our goal to keep NAR at the forefront of emerging technologies and business trends that are transforming the industry.”

Shimkus has long been an active mentor to NAR’s real estate tech accelerator, REach, where he will continue to be involved, having taken an advisory role with the REach team in recent years, and has also been involved in Elmspring (the new commercial accelerator for NAR).

“Glenn has a strong history of building world-class teams,” asserts Gillespie. “If you look at his LinkedIn profile you’ll notice that he has a large number of folks from across his career that have written wonderful recommendations for him from their time working together.”

When asked of his leadership style, Gillespie said he “works to empower his team, set clear goals, provide his team the tools and support they need to be successful and then let them work their magic! If you speak with anyone that has met Glenn or worked with him you’ll quickly hear that he’s a tremendous leader, has great vision and the unique ability to deliver against his vision.”

What many AG readers will ask is – how will NAR members benefit from this hire?

Rather than truncate Gillespie’s answer, we’re offering it in full as it gives unique insight into NAR’s overall direction:

“Ultimately the addition of Glenn to NAR will continue to help drive against the strategic vision set out by Bob Goldberg when he became CEO of NAR in 2017. At that time Bob set one of his objectives was to keep NAR at the forefront of emerging technologies and business trends that are transforming the industry.

As a part of the SBIT group within NAR, Glenn is now tasked with several key initiatives that we believe will provide meaningful value to our members and deliver specifically against this vision. First, at the core he is creating a new emerging technology team that will work to identify and evaluate emerging technologies and their potential impact on the industry.

This work will be an important feeder for work being done across NAR such as with our advocacy efforts, in our work with REach and SCV as well as our member communications and education – all of which are aimed at ensuring our members are aware of the transformation happening across the industry and prepared to not only survive but thrive. It is paramount that we have our pulse on the ground of what’s happening across the country and the world in terms of new technology and process innovation that may impact the industry in the future.

Additionally, Glenn is responsible for ensuring that our annual Investment, Opportunity and Investment (iOi) Summit is one of the industry premier events when it comes to bringing together the industry practitioners tech leaders and investors that are driving innovation in the industry. He will also work to create a strategic think tank of world class business leaders and innovators from within and outside of the industry to collaborate with our CEO and share experiences and best practices when it comes to how innovation is impacting industries of all size across the globe.

Both the iOi Summit and Strategic Think Tank will ensure that NAR is actively collaborating within and outside of the industry with those that are a part of the transformation so as we can share best practices, learn from each other and work together to continue to drive the industry forward. We believe that based upon the unique skill set, knowledge and experience that Glenn brings to NAR will drive meaningful value to our members as we continue to navigate the transformation happening to our industry.”

Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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