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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)

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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.”

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Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius and has been named in the Inman 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders several times, co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

Real Estate Associations

Here’s the nitty gritty on how to join a NAR committee

Real change begins with social activism, and being on a NAR committee is one impactful way to enact said change. It’s one thing to complain, but another to take action.

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Everyone says we all need to “raise the bar,” but many focus their efforts on just complaining on Facebook (don’t look at me like that, you know it’s true). Getting involved sometimes means dedicating your time to help the industry to change, to evolve. Realtors can join committees ranging from the diversity committee to professional standards to affordable housing.

Next month, committees will meet at Midyear (The REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo) which is where NAR members take an active role to advance the real estate industry, public policy and the association. REALTORS® go to Washington, DC, every May for special issues forums, committee meetings, legislative activities, and the industry trade show.

Committees help shape the direction of NAR and its policies, thus evolving the industry. If you want your voice to be heard and want to contribute to the decision-making process, NAR’s committees are a great forum for debate and discussion.

Further, experience on national committees is beneficial for those interested in seeking a future leadership role.

According to NAR, there are three main stages in the committee selection process. The first stage is the committee application period from March to May the year prior to the appointment year. A member expertise profile is required to show NAR leadership the experience you have beyond what is written in the application form.

The second stage is the selection process. State Association Executives (AEs) have an opportunity to review and rank applications and provide feedback on applications for their state. All appointments are approved by the incoming President.

The final stage is the notification process. Chairs and vice chairs receive an appointment letter between mid-July and late August. All other positions receive an appointment letter via email in early October.

Unfortunately, with only 2,500 positions available, NAR is unable to appoint everyone who submits an application. They encourage members to try again the following year if not selected. Also, potential candidates should consider committee opportunities at the state and local level to gain experience.

Many of those serving on national committees have had years of experience at the local or state level, but that doesn’t mean first timers don’t make the cut, so put your hat in the ring. It’s a much more meaningful step than just commenting on Facebook, no?

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Real Estate Associations

Why NAR’s new Realtor Safety Network is so critical [personal story]

(REAL ESTATE) NAR has launched the meaningful Realtor Safety Network – here is a personal story, and an exclusive interview with NAR CEO, Bob Goldberg.

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It was a Wednesday evening, the sun would soon be setting, and I was exhausted after pulling an all-nighter the previous night. Our study group would continue, but as a safety-conscious person, I knew it was best to head out.

I walked alone, which was normal for a college student that lived on campus. I held my pepper spray at the ready, had my keys in hand before leaving the building, and was alert. Although tired, I knew I had enough energy to go to dinner with my grandparents.

I get to the full parking garage, and halfway to my car, I hear steps behind me. I look back, and no one is there. I didn’t even see someone duck behind a car. “I’m being paranoid,” I think. “Why is no one around? It’s a full lot!”

I take a few more steps, and I am confident that I hear someone coming up behind me. I turn around, and nothing. I’m ready to use my pepper spray because there is definitely someone following me and I needed to make a decision quickly.

I had three choices – run quickly to my car where I may or may not be able to close the door fast enough, turn back and walk with authority the way I came (risking confrontation), or just straight up confrontation.

I quicken my pace, they quicken theirs, and I know what is about to happen. I turn around so I’m not blindly ambushed by someone I cannot later identify, and it is someone I recognize. Someone I had a class with. But not someone I had ever spoken with before. I hadn’t calculated how I would react in that situation and it slowed me down.

My hesitation meant he was able to shove me, and I fell backwards.

I re-calculate my choices, but this time there was no hesitation because I already knew I was in danger. As I tried to get up, he poised himself to pounce, and I used the pepper spray, knowing I’d probably get a dose, too. I missed his forehead (which is the ideal target as it drips into their eyes, extending the impact), and mostly got his mouth, but enough got into his face that it stalled him.

I rolled over before he could fall on me, and I ran. I was only yards away from a large, densely populated building.

This was nearly 20 years ago, before cell phones were mainstream, and I quickly found help from the school who called police. I won’t go into how they brushed me off and nearly refused to write a report, didn’t want to look for the guy, and so forth.

But I notified my professor as to why I couldn’t possibly go to class the next day. She was the one who insisted the University get involved, and the city police take action. She knew his name and gave it to all entities. And she was the one who never made me step foot in that classroom again, just in case. I got a restraining order, and it apparently scared him enough to stay away, but I knew he could violate it at any moment, so I remained on alert. I’m still on alert today. For him or others that think I might be an easy target.

I later learned he had stalked dozens of students, and attacked several before and after he tried to get to me. He has been in and out of jail since then.

But I always had a nagging thought… what of the other potential victims? Back then, the schools didn’t have any sort of alert system (for school closings or mass shootings). An alert system of systemic attackers could have saved others from being harmed.

It is for this very personal reason that I was moved to hear of the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) new Realtor Safety Network, which was inspired by a Realtor’s child going missing (who is now safe).

NAR CEO, Bob Goldberg took the time to talk me through what the network does – it’s not a pointless group where people whine about missing pets, no, it is activated when there is a potential safety issue, be it physical or online.

NAR is now able to gather information about potential safety issues and either issue a national alert, or share the information through local and state associations via social media, email, and text where applicable.

At this time, it is not set up like an Amber Alert where you can opt in for texts (although I do hope this is ultimately an option), so we encourage members to read any email that is sent to them as an alert, and follow the social media hashtag, #realtorsafetynetwork.

They do have criteria that must be followed prior to a Realtor Safety Network alert being sent out by NAR. It must be a widespread threat impacting Realtors. Qualifying incidents include a pattern of assaults on Realtors, a Realtor or immediate family member going missing (and there is an open police investigation, and the family asks for NAR’s aide), or an association name is being used fraudulently to scam members out of money or identifying information.

Members and Association Executives can fill out a simple incident form, and Goldberg notes there is dedicated staff ready to respond.

While they are going to “continue to perfect” the program, it can be invoked immediately. Goldberg says that members are “our family,” and that the goal is to coordinate with local authorities to keep members safe physically, and keep their identities secured.

Goldberg notes that they intend on using the network sparingly, which makes perfect sense – remember when car alarms came out and you’d jump when one went off, but now you ignore all car alarms as a nuisance? The association has long offered Realtor Safety reports and statistics, as well as safety guidance and classes, but to see this meaningful step taken is one worthy of applause.

My inner 18 year old that still remembers the heart-in-my-throat fear of an impending attack thanks NAR. Truly.

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Real Estate Associations

NAR adds sharp new execs to expanding team

(ASSOCIATION NEWS) NAR is in the middle of a massive restructuring, and any rebuilding means attracting new executive talent. Here’s what you need to know about the two newest executive additions.

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Starting today, two new hires will join the National Association of Realtors with the goal of enhancing the association’s relationship with consumers and members.

This move is part of NAR CEO, Bob Goldberg‘s vision for restructuring the association, and comes on the heels of NAR’s major ad campaign announcement.

Susan Welter is NAR’s new VP of Creative and Content Strategy and brings 25 years of experience and publishing in marketing, and over a decade of working with over 50 associations on their communications and non-dues revenue growth. Welter most recently consulted with associations on content strategies and programming designed to increase member acquisition, engagement, and retention.

“Having served the association market for most of my career, I’m excited to put that collective experience to use at NAR to better engage with our members and deepen our relationships with our industry partners, providing an exceptional experience for all,” said Welter.

Mantill Williams is NAR’s new VP of PR and Communication Strategy, and has over two decades of media relations, speechwriting, and advocacy communications experience. For the last 12 years, Williams served as director of advocacy communications for the American Public Transportation Association, and previously led the communications team for AAA. His role will be to develop strategic communications campaigns at NAR.

“I am thrilled to begin this new role at NAR using my previous association experience to enhance the ways in which we reach and connect with our current and prospective members,” said Williams. “I look forward to promoting the value and services offered to our members and advancing NAR’s position as the leading voice in the real estate industry.”

Both will report to NAR Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Victoria Gillespie.

“Mantill and Susan bring more than 40 years’ combined experience developing and executing major marketing and communications campaigns both within the real estate industry and for other professional associations,” said Goldberg. “They will elevate member communications and help us tell more creative and compelling stories about Realtors® and property owners.”

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