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.
NAR en Español: Breaking records because of new members
(REAL ESTATE NEWS) NAR en Español is rising in members because of the rise of Spanish speakers in the US, and this is opening new avenues in other countries.
Spanish is the second most spoken language in the United States and the Pew Research Center has projected that it’s only going to keep growing. The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) reports similar, noting that their Spanish-speaking membership numbers are increasing rapidly. As such, it makes sense that the NAR has begun to expand their accessibility.
One notable expansion is the inclusion of a Spanish session in the annual NAR Conference & Expo. This year’s session, titled “NAR en Español: What does the future look like?” is the fourth session done entirely in Spanish. The event garnered record-breaking numbers: over 200 members were in attendance.
This session is just one part of the NAR en Español Initiative, which was founded in 2018.
The initiative works to increase the amount of networking opportunities and industry resources available to Spanish-speaking members, as well as creating a stronger connection to Realtors® on a global scale.
Global connections could be seen in the Spanish session, with members from Peru, Ecuador and Brazil each helping to moderate the event. The panelists were also made up of national and international members. Including members from across the globe allowed for valuable experiences and perspectives to be shared, helping make the event a unique experience for all involved.
Topics covered in the session included women in the industry, Multiple Listing Services and NAR resources for international members.
Alejandro Escudero, manager of global alliances and business development in the NAR, reported that the audience was highly engaged, which created a dynamic atmosphere for those in attendance. The session was able to provide valuable educational and networking resources to attendees.
As interest and attendance have grown over the last four years, it should be no surprise that the Spanish-speaking session has quickly become a highlight for members. In fact, Escuerdo reports that, due to the popularity among U.S. and international members alike, there is a huge potential for growth – especially after record breaking attendance this year.
According to Mario Rubio, NAR Regional Coordinator in South America, “Opportunities like these allow members to feel included while sharing their story with counterparts from around the world.”
Voting now open for NAR’s 2019 Good Neighbor Awards finalists
(REAL ESTATE NEWS) These real estate professionals deserve a moment in the spotlight in recognition of their tireless dedication to their communities, their endless fundraising, and countless hours of volunteer work. These are the real changemakers – give ’em a vote!
So few professions allow individuals to make such a wide impact in their local community, than real estate. One person, like the National Association of Realtors® 2019 Good Neighbor Awards finalist, Kristy Payne in Oklahoma has helped over 2,000 foster children in her state with necessities so desperately needed after a child is removed from a relative’s home.
That’s one person who has impacted thousands. And like the other 10 finalists, and all award winners honored in the past, they’d never pat themselves on the back, they’d keep putting as much effort as possible into making an impact in their neighborhoods and beyond.
2019 marks the 20th year or of this awards program which honors Realtors who have made a positive impact on their communities through “incalculable hours of volunteer time,” and millions of dollars in charitable fundraising. They pour all they have into enriching the lives of those around them, and they deserve recognition.
“We are honored to have this group of extraordinary people representing the Good Neighbor Awards as we celebrate the 20-year milestone,” says NAR President John Smaby, Edina, Minnesota. “They inspire us and epitomize ‘who we are’ as Realtors.”
Voting is now open and lasts through September 28th – five winners will be named on October 2nd, and each will receive a $10,000 grant, be featured in the November/December issue of REALTOR® Magazine, and the remaining five finalists will receive a $2,500 grant in recognition of their work. The top three vote getters will win bonus grants of $2,500, $1,250 and $1,250, respectively, for their nonprofit organizations.
“The Good Neighbor Awards reflect the values we share with the Realtor® family,” said Tracey Fellows, acting CEO of realtor.com, the primary sponsor of the awards. “This year’s finalists represent the industry at its best – making meaningful connections that count for people, families and communities.”
More about the 10 finalists:
Sabrina Cohen – The Sabrina Cohen Foundation
Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate, Miami Beach, Fla.
Fourteen years after Cohen suffered a spinal cord injury, she founded a nonprofit dedicated to funding adaptive fitness and recreational activities for people with disabilities. She created Miami Beach’s first inclusive playground, runs monthly Adaptive Beach Days and spearheads a $10 million capital campaign to build a state-of-the-art adaptive recreation center.
Rosemary Dutter – Dutter House Inc.
Century 21 Affiliated, Beloit, Wis.
To honor her beloved grandson who died at age 12, Dutter gives parents of severely disabled children a break from their daily challenges, transforming a local house into a safe, cheery and kid-friendly place. While she lovingly cares for these children each evening, their parents have time to run errands, spend quality time with their other children or simply take time for themselves.
Bruce Johnson, ABR®, CRS, GREEN – SickKids Foundation/Children’s Miracle Network
RE/MAX of Wasaga Beach Inc., Wasaga Beach, Ontario, Canada
In memory of his daughter, Alyssa, who died in 1998 at 20 days old, Johnson has traveled more than 37,000 miles across North and South America on his motorcycle. Johnson has raised more than $600,000 for Children’s Miracle Network, which benefits the SickKids hospital in Toronto where his daughter was treated, and a network of children’s hospitals.
Nora Partlow – Neighborhood Health
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Alexandria, Va.
Partlow began supporting the neighborhood medical clinic when she noticed patients waiting in her coffee shop. As the daughter of immigrants, she understood the great need for affordable healthcare. Her greatest contribution is her ability to connect donors, patients and volunteers. In 21 years, she has raised $550,000 and recruited hundreds of supporters.
Kristy Payne – Fostering Sweet Dreams Foundation
Keller Williams, Edmond, Okla.
As a foster parent, Payne learned about the needs of families who may suddenly be asked to care for a child who is removed from a relative’s home. She provides necessities like beds and car seats to help bridge the gap for families working to collect all the resources required for placement. Since 2016, Payne has helped 2,000 children across 31 Oklahoma counties.
Mark Solomon – Veterans Community Project
Keller Williams, Kansas City, Mo. and Longmont, Colo.
Solomon co-founded a nonprofit to eliminate veteran homelessness through a “tiny house” development. The neighborhood includes an outreach center where any veteran can access medical and mental health referrals, employment assistance, and addiction counseling and treatment. With the Kansas City location nearly complete, Solomon is helping to expand the cause nationwide.
Bahar Soomekh – Angel City Sports
Nourmand & Associates, Beverly Hills, Calif.
Soomekh and her husband founded a nonprofit to help people with physical disabilities stay active, renew their spirits and connect with a supportive community. Inspired by her son, Ezra, who uses a leg prosthesis, Soomekh runs athletic clinics and competitions for adults and children with disabilities. The 2019 Angel City Games drew 1,500 spectators to cheer on 430 athletes.
Kimberly Strub – Schurig Center For Brain Injury Recovery
Coldwell Banker, Mill Valley, Calif.
Strub leads a nonprofit that improves the lives of people with brain injuries and their families through therapy, support groups and social and recreational activities. In a decade, she has raised $1 million, tripled both the annual budget and the number of people served, and helped set up a concussion protocol for children in the Marin County schools network.
Dale Taylor, ABR®, GRI – South Suburban PADS
RE/MAX 10, New Lenox, Ill.
For 19 years, Taylor has spent nearly every Monday night with the 35 homeless men who gather at the shelter site he manages just south of Chicago. From serving food and mopping floors to making decisions as a board member and raising nearly $3 million, Taylor calls his volunteerism a “divine calling.”
Paul Wyman, ABR® – Turning Point
The Wyman Group, Kokomo, Ind.
When he saw his community struggling with opioid addiction, Wyman called a county-wide summit to find solutions. This summit led Wyman to found a nonprofit that connects people affected by addiction with the services required for recovery. Instead of red tape, people now find a central resource to access help. Turning Point helped 1,400 clients during the last year.
NAR partners with Food Recovery Network to BE the change
(ASSOCIATION NEWS) NAR takes a huge step to lead by example, and urges associations to get involved with the Food Recovery Network. This is the feel-good news we love to hear!
Mahatma Gandhi once said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” But today, most people are clicktavists (clicking “Like” on something and feeling like an impact has been made), and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) continues to go out of their way to avoid meaningless chatter, instead pushing for real change.
NAR has partnered with the Food Recovery Network (FRN), a national nonprofit that unites students at colleges and universities to fight food waste and hunger by recovering surplus perishable food. The partnership will donate excess meals from their conferences and meetings to local food banks, and they’re asking the 1,200 local and state Realtor associations to “take the pledge” to “multiply the effort.”
Announced at the annual Leadership Summit in Chicago, NAR CEO, Bob Goldberg said, It is exciting to see State and Local Association Executives and incoming Presidents step up to fight hunger in their areas. Taking the pledge to participate is one example of their commitment to serve the less fortunate. Showing compassion for people in the communities we serve is how we ‘Own Who We R,'” referencing the “That’s Who We Are” campaign.
“Giving back to the community is the right thing to do, and I am proud that NAR members have a long history of helping their neighbors,” Goldberg said in a statement. “We hope this effort will inspire other associations, organizations, businesses and individuals to fight hunger in their local communities.”
FRN has already recovered 3.9 million pounds of food, donated 3.2 million meals and prevented 7.4 million pounds of CO2 emissions since 2011.
The partnership started earlier this year, when FRN staff designed and executed a food recovery plan for NAR’s Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington, D.C. On the final day of the event, two lunch events were unexpectedly canceled. However, thanks to the food recovery plan, 85 meals were donated to Charlie’s Place, a hunger-fighting nonprofit in D.C.
“We look forward to partnering with NAR and the entire Realtor® family to make food donation a regular part of their events and meetings. We make it fast, easy and simple for organizations to donate surplus food to people who need it the most,” said Regina Anderson, FRN Executive Director. “Our two organizations share the goal of making food recovery – not food waste – the standard at real estate industry events.”
NAR hotel and convention partners will collaborate on food recovery, and FRN will verify the effort at NAR’s largest annual event for real estate professionals, the 2019 REALTORS® Conference & Expo, which be held this year from November 8–11, 2019, in San Francisco. An estimated 20,000 people will attend the conference.
We look forward to reporting back with all of the associations that join the movement!
In the era of lazy clicktavism, NAR is leading by example. Gandhi would be proud.
Get keyword alerts for Facebook Group activity #LeadGen
How to avoid going down in flames like WeWork
Realtors support USMCA, but it’s not a done deal (yet)
100 new Pinterest trends to know for 2020
Security of client information is important, so change the process
Zillow hopes gov’t is dumb enough to grant them a patent on 30+ year old tech
Has Mailchimp enjoyed its last days as an industry darling?
Is a recession on the table for 2020?
Stupid Facebook rule will not show your ad if you use these words
Pending home sales dip as tight inventory levels plague sector
Get The Daily Intel
in your inbox
Subscribe and get news and EXCLUSIVE content to your email inbox!
Thank you for subscribing.
Oh boy... Something went wrong.
Op/Ed2 weeks ago
Open letter to Realtors: Let your freak flag fly and quit judging each other
Real Estate Big Data7 days ago
Looking into the crystal ball – 2020 housing forecast
Real Estate Corporate6 days ago
Redfin launches their Job Opportunity tool – gimmicky yet brilliant move
Real Estate Technology1 week ago
T-mobile releases “5G for all” plan – don’t fall for the 5G trap
Real Estate Technology6 days ago
Value privacy? DuckDuckGo is the answer to breaking up with Google
Real Estate Big Data2 weeks ago
Alternative data is an intriguing, inventive new way to market
Op/Ed1 week ago
Your career depends on you, and the mentors you select
Real Estate Technology1 week ago
VR can calm cows to produce better milk. What can VR do for us?