What Was Our CEO Doing in Denver?

What Was Our CEO Doing in Denver?

“Small and Mighty” Panel of AEs at AEI 2017

What Was Our CEO Doing in Denver?

“You can’t run an association without being in the office!” is something I am often told. And yet I can. And do. (In fact pretty well, according to most sources.) To be specific, I was attending the annual NAR Association Executives Institute (AEI), which gathers over 1,000 association leaders and NAR staff for focused training on leadership. It is the one annual event focused on what we do. And it’s fantastic. This conference is not about real estate. It’s about helping REALTORS(R) in their chosen profession.

The one resounding message that becomes clear when I travel on behalf of our members is how grateful I am for our CULTURE at L.A.R.A.

Our CULTURE is one of mutual support and respect. Surprisingly, this does not exist among some of our peers, which is unfortunate. I enjoy my job. I do all I can to support our members and your businesses, and I feel the majority of you respect and support the way I manage the business of our association. I do not get involved in the day to day operations of your businesses any more than you do mine – and my goal is to be as responsive as possible to each of you, and to the requirements of the state and national organizations who govern us. Sometimes you have to wait for a response to a voice mail message, but other times you get an instant response when you don’t expect one.  What was I doing in Denver? Appreciating what we have back home.

Our CULTURE is one of appreciation for the unique beauty and lifestyle of the Lakes Area. While in a city that is buzzing with activity in more ways than one (wink), all I could think about is the reasons I love our Lakes Area more. We help people LIVE HERE. The best part of leaving is coming back HOME.

I smiled as one of the top CEO’s asked to share secrets of leadership success at our closing session quoted: “Culture eats strategy for lunch!” (In other words, all the meetings in the world can’t recreate what we have organically here at L.A.R.A.)

Did I learn anything? Yes. Did I make valuable connections? Yes. How does it help YOU? (Besides keeping us in compliance with lots of things at lots of levels.) Let’s see …  How about if I share my Top 10 quotes of the week and see if any of them connect for you:

1) “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

George Bernard Shaw is credited although that seems to be questionable. Interestingly, this quote was used at least once a day by various speakers It’s a good thought to keep in mind in our daily lives. Did we communicate something, or only think we did?

2) “You did not wake up today to be mediocre!”

Anyone who has ever heard Leigh Brown live or on video, read that again with her Southern accent!

3) “Exceptional Service is about Systems, Standards and Processes!”

I spent an entire day with Disney Institute trainers proving that consistency provides superior service.

4) “What if we train them and they leave? – – – – – What if we don’t and they stay?”

A reminder about the importance of education and training. In our world, this sometimes switches from a management:employees scenario to our investing in our SELVES and our careers. One speaker, a large broker/owner shared: “We have a lot of accidental* agents running around.” (*The opposite is intentional agents – focused on their career, industry and future.)

5) Leadership is dependent on the actions one takes, rather than the position one holds.

Another reminder from our friends at Disney. Titles don’t earn respect. Actions do. Which leads me to the next quote, used more than once ~

6) “We never know who is watching. But they are always watching.”

Today, more than ever, we should behave as if we are on video – because we may be.

7) “Have very few rules. But stick to all of them.”

One of my favorite of NAR CEO Dale Stinton’s “Ten Commandments for Leadership Success.”

8) “Listen more than you speak”

Some of us can never hear this message enough times. Remember the one that says, “God gave us one mouth and two ears for a reason.” Listening vs. waiting for our turn to speak is one of the most important skills we can hone. Also, listening to what is NOT being said is sometimes the most important of all.

9) “There’s a thin line between CONFIDENCE and Arrogance. It’s Humility. CONFIDENCE SMILES. Arrogance smirks.”

10) “Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: ‘It might have been.”

This line was delivered by retiring NAR CEO Dale Stinton, with a catch in his throat as nearly 1,000 association executives were riveted to his message. He claims it is the only quote he has ever memorized, and has always lived by. I feel like I should end this with: “Be like Dale.”

What was I doing in Denver? Feeling appreciative of being in the right place at the right time, and part of something so incredibly powerful. Truthfully, I was mostly looking forward to bringing everything I learned back home to the Lakes Area I love.

Thanks to you all for allowing me to serve you.
Denise Schultz, RCE, PSAT, e-PRO and Your CEO





Be Sure to Obey Laws Regarding Business e-mail Messages

Do you send e-mails to a distribution list? Invite area REALTORS to your open houses? Are you aware of the laws governing this?

We have been receiving complaints from members receiving “Spam” from other members. Please be sure every group e-mail you sent clearly states the ability to “opt out” of future messages. The following is being shared from the Federal Trade Commission web site:

Do you use email in your business? The CAN-SPAM Act, a law that sets the rules for commercial email, establishes requirements for commercial messages, gives recipients the right to have you stop emailing them, and spells out tough penalties for violations.

Despite its name, the CAN-SPAM Act doesn’t apply just to bulk email. It covers all commercial messages, which the law defines as “any electronic mail message the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service,” including email that promotes content on commercial websites. The law makes no exception for business-to-business email. That means all email – for example, a message to former customers announcing a new product line – must comply with the law.

Each separate email in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act is subject to penalties of up to $16,000, so non-compliance can be costly. But following the law isn’t complicated. Here’s a rundown of CAN-SPAM’s main requirements:

  1. Don’t use false or misleading header information. Your “From,” “To,” “Reply-To,” and routing information – including the originating domain name and email address – must be accurate and identify the person or business who initiated the message.
  2. Don’t use deceptive subject lines. The subject line must accurately reflect the content of the message.
  3. Identify the message as an ad. The law gives you a lot of leeway in how to do this, but you must disclose clearly and conspicuously that your message is an advertisement.
  4. Tell recipients where you’re located. Your message must include your valid physical postal address. This can be your current street address, a post office box you’ve registered with the U.S. Postal Service, or a private mailbox you’ve registered with a commercial mail receiving agency established under Postal Service regulations.
  5. Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future email from you. Your message must include a clear and conspicuous explanation of how the recipient can opt out of getting email from you in the future. Craft the notice in a way that’s easy for an ordinary person to recognize, read, and understand. Creative use of type size, color, and location can improve clarity. Give a return email address or another easy Internet-based way to allow people to communicate their choice to you. You may create a menu to allow a recipient to opt out of certain types of messages, but you must include the option to stop all commercial messages from you. Make sure your spam filter doesn’t block these opt-out requests.
  6. Honor opt-out requests promptly. Any opt-out mechanism you offer must be able to process opt-out requests for at least 30 days after you send your message. You must honor a recipient’s opt-out request within 10 business days. You can’t charge a fee, require the recipient to give you any personally identifying information beyond an email address, or make the recipient take any step other than sending a reply email or visiting a single page on an Internet website as a condition for honoring an opt-out request. Once people have told you they don’t want to receive more messages from you, you can’t sell or transfer their email addresses, even in the form of a mailing list. The only exception is that you may transfer the addresses to a company you’ve hired to help you comply with the CAN-SPAM Act.
  7. Monitor what others are doing on your behalf. The law makes clear that even if you hire another company to handle your email marketing, you can’t contract away your legal responsibility to comply with the law. Both the company whose product is promoted in the message and the company that actually sends the message may be held legally responsible.

NEED MORE INFORMATION? Visit: https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/can-spam-act-compliance-guide-business

(Or contact your Attorney or Information Technology department.)


2016 Year in Review

2016 President Mike Culat is proud of the phenomenal year Lakes Area REALTORS(R) Association has experienced and expresses his deep gratitude to the volunteers who have stepped up to serve and the CEO, as sole staff member. Outgoing President Culat is pleased to share the following recap of 2016:

2016 Year in Review

February – We established that our Affiliate members would like to be referred to as Business Partners and launched a sub-committee of the Membership Committee. In 2017 Affiliate Members/Business Partners will be collaborating with REALTOR® members on committees. (Chair: Amy Giovannoni)

 March – We rented a bus for REALTOR & Government Day in Madison with excellent attendance (~30) and feedback. (Chair: Rick Geaslen)

The LARA YPN sponsored a Happy Hour at Champ’s in Lake Geneva. Members and guests (~30) enjoyed casual networking. (Chair: Tom Keefe)

Our CEO earned her RCE Designation, bringing LARA national leadership attention.

April – We ran a series that covered all 18 required Continuing Education credits and had enough students to cover all costs and even result in profit. (D. Schultz)

We successfully obtained our 501(c)6 tax exemption, independent of the WRA. (D. Schultz)

May – We combined our annual Legislative Update, DR meeting and RPAC fundraiser into one lakeside event, including all members. Our local Senator, several Assembly legislators, and WRA leaders joined almost 100 of our members for an informative afternoon at Pier 290 and a lovely sunset cruise on the Lady of the Lake. We raised $3,000 for RPAC. (Chair: Becky Merwin)

We held our first bowling event at Lake Geneva Lanes with pizza ordered from Next Door Pub. 7 teams and a group of spectators enjoyed a fun evening of affordable bowling, pizza and networking. (Chair: Andy Szymanskyj)

June – We printed a 2016 version of our Lakes Area Map, increasing the order by 5,000 due to demand. We traded $750 in ad space with local tourism partners who gave in kind gift certificates to be used in our RPAC auction, still resulting in $2800 profit and increased distribution through their locations. (D. Schultz)

After conducting a survey of our members regarding the location and image of the LARA office, we updated the current office by donating outdated furniture and unneeded supplies to Twin Oaks Shelter for the Homeless and to a fundraiser for the Association for the Prevention of Family Violence. Modular furniture allows us to provide more flexible and professional seating for meeting or classroom set ups. (Chair: Rick Geaslen)

We successfully certified compliance of NAR Core Standards requirements for this cycle. (D. Schultz)

We held a very successful General Membership Meeting at Inspiration Retreat Center, bringing Professional Standards, WRA and MLS updates to our members. (Chair: Margaret Labus)

We provided gift bags with Studio wine, homemade truffles, lake shore path walking guides and our LARA map to all WRA Board members and AEs when they met at the Grand Geneva. We also collaborated with Rock-Green Association to provide beer, wine and snacks in a hospitality suite between their meeting and dinner. WRA leaders appreciated this hospitality.  (Leadership Team)

August – Our annual golf outing brought 80 golfers and sponsoring business partners together at Hawk’s View for a successful day which raised $400 for RPAC and $1500 for the Twin Oaks Shelter for the Homeless. The result was $2900 profit and a positive experience for all members who participated. (Chair: Andy Szymanskyj)

September – We reached 500 REALTOR members for the first time since before 2010.

We hosted a hospitality suite at the annual WRA Convention at the Kalahari. The LARA YPN hosted the first evening and the LARA president hosted the second. Members and friends were able to enjoy appetizers and beverages between events. (Chair: Andy Szymanskyj)

We offered a $5 Starbucks gift card to any member paying dues in September. We sent 101 of them and response was very appreciative. (Leadership Team)

Our CEO was appointed the Chair of the state WRA AE Council, a position on the national NAR AE YPN Advisory Board, and will be a panel member at a national meeting featuring “Small but Mighty Associations,” promoting Lakes Area leadership successes.

October – We held a very successful inter-board event at Rosewood with approximately 100 people in attendance. Our YPN presented a top producer panel with 5 agents from 5 different REALTOR® associations, which we streamed on Facebook Live. We raised $650 for our local Boys & Girls Club and all feedback was extremely positive. (Chair: Tom Keefe)

We ran another series that covered all 18 required Continuing Education credits and had enough students to cover all costs and result in profit. (D. Schultz)

November – We held our planning our annual Strategic Planning session at Inspiration Retreat Center.  (Chair: Sue Miller)

We delivered generous amounts of donated non-perishable foods to Twin Oaks Shelter for the Homeless in Walworth County, Love, Inc. in Western Racine County and The Sharing Center in Western Kenosha County. (Chair: Molly Elsbury)

December – We’ve surpassed 2016 RPAC fundraising goals by over $5,000. (Chair: Becky Merwin)

THANK YOU to all who helped support our efforts in 2016 in any way and we look forward to serving you and working together with you in 2017!

Annual NAR Convention Recap – Plan to Attend in CHICAGO in 2017

NAR Annual Convention Recap
Orlando, FL November  3-7, 2016

By Denise Schultz, LARA CEO

Note: As the Association Executive, I attend national REALTOR association meetings to connect with peers and learn updates about the governance of our association and a high level view of the industry. My meetings and activities are geared at managing our association. REALTORS who attend the same events enjoy an entirely different experience, focused on the business of real estate and how to do it best. I encourage anyone who hasn’t attended a national convention to talk to other REALTORS about what they’ve learned and experienced. For most REALTORS, that will be a lot more fun than what I’ll report.(wink)

“NAR 360” is a “must attend” at any NAR convention. It’s awe-inspiring to enter a room filled with thousands of REALTORS and association leaders from around the world, all committed to their profession, and feel like you are among friends. The purpose of this kick-off event is to provide a 360-degree view of all things happening in the REALTOR-world. This year 2016 NAR President Tom Salomone continued his legacy of demonstrating the national commitment to work with our local Boys & Girls Clubs of America and additionally shone the spotlight on the REALTOR Party Relief Foundation and how it “helps people that need it the most get it the quickest.” I’ve witnessed those who attend and get a larger picture of what being a REALTOR means are positively changed forever by this experience.

I spent most of my days in meetings with Association Executives from around the country. We focus on topics pertinent to managing our associations. Our own WRA President and CEO Mike Theo is the acting Chair of the national AE Council now and for 2017. The major topic for the past several years remains NAR’s “Organizational Alignment Core Standards”, the bar to which REALTOR associations are now held accountable. Requirements in six major association management categories must be met annually. Reports normally begin with the number of mergers and consolidations that have resulted from the demands in meeting these standards. Mike reported that “it has become obvious that throughout the country volunteer leadership lacks the knowledge of the details, complexity and importance of Core Standards.” This can be challenging for those of us managing the associations. NAR is investing time and money in marketing and education for volunteer boards to understand what their AE/staff are responsible for in regards to meeting Core Standards.

One of the major focuses of governance meetings at this convention was a proposal to change how the NAR BOD is structured. The net effect in Wisconsin is minimal in that GMAR (Milwaukee) would lose 1 director and WRA would gain 1. The larger issue for us in Wisconsin was that we realized a voting mechanism we planned to use for national NAR meetings would actually require a change in most of our Bylaws, which will be discussed at the next local BOD meeting.

A new initiative called C2EX (Commitment to Excellence) for REALTORS was a highlight of many of our meetings. This program is being proposed to measure “Realtor Excellence.” This is simultaneously happening at the AE level with a “Certificate of Excellence” proposal. Both programs are going to NAR Finance Committee for budgeting and more information will follow.

The Trade Expo is an enormous trade show floor, filled with information and opportunities to learn what is available for every aspect of the real estate business. On this visit I learned about something I had never seen before – the Salvation Army Real Estate for Rehabilitation program. I am not sure if you are all aware – and I wasn’t – that when you have a client moving and has anything left to get rid of (housewares, appliances, furniture, even clothing, etc.) you or they can call: 1-800-SATRUCK and have it picked up to help those in need.

I enjoyed hearing a keynote presented by General Colin Powell and an inspiring talk by Lou Holtz, former Notre Dame Football coach. His entire message is one that never changes. We should all simplify life by living with 3 rules and apply them to every other rule: 1) Do what is RIGHT; 2) Do everything you do to the best of your ability.; 3) Care about people.

For me the most valuable component of national meetings is connecting with people from all over the country that face the same challenges as I do daily. Sharing ideas, learning from peers, and building relationships around the nation, and even the globe, is an opportunity we should all take advantage of.

Your next opportunities: The Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington, D.C. – May 16-20 and/or the next annual Conference and Expo in nearby CHICAGO November 3-6, 2017!


Lakes Area REALTORS and Friends Step Up for Boys & Girls Club

From the Desk of Denise Schultz, CEO ~

“Great Futures Start Here” is the motto I saw when I looked at information about the Walworth County Boys & Girls Club. “Don’t let the $20 stop you from joining,” is the line that connected with me when I stopped to see Jeff Contreras, the inspiring Program Director at their location inside Phoenix Middle School.

Although the actual cost per child to provide this program is approximately $1,250 per school year, the club charges only $20 per child. And on the afternoon I stopped on my way to a real estate event, there were 17 children with open applications that hadn’t been able to pay the $20 fee. 17 children who wanted to participate in positive after school activities including mentoring and homework assistance, that hadn’t been able to pay $20.

I watched how Jeff related with the approximately 30 students in and out of the room while we talked. I watched how their lives are positively impacted by this young man and this program. I thought about how the National Association of REALTORS(R) 2015-16 President Tom Salomone dedicated a lot of energy to encouraging REALTOR associations across the nation to get involved in helping their local chapters of Boys & Girls Clubs of America. And I understood why.

As I walked out the door I set a goal to raise $340 to sponsor those 17 children. The Lakes Area REALTORS Association members came through. Beyond my goal. Because that’s how our members are. Thank you to the following people who each sponsored a child, and to anyone I may have missed listing, and all who handed me random cash from their wallets, pockets, etc. You are the reason I am so proud to work for your association:

Joy Rossman, Debbie McNichols, Lynda Steidinger, Sue Miller, Diane Lindstrom, Mickey Horgan, Mick Balestrieri, Becky Merwin, Bob Webster, Pat Moore, Ryan Simons, Andy Szymanskyj, John Law, Rob Schaid, Laura Rodriguez, Tyler Meyer, Tim Vandeville, Rick Geaslen, Jean Stefaniak, Mike Culat, Jim Haisler, Steve Beers, Marcy Hammett, Linda Tonge, Lisa Pitcher and Amy Giovannoni

Thank you to Hernandez Mexican Restaurant, The Watershed Saloon and Rosewood for donating gift certificates that were awarded to random winners chosen from those who donated. We appreciate your support.

The Boys & Girls Club of Walworth County serves ALL CHILDREN IN WALWORTH COUNTY, not just those who attend the middle school where it is located. It is a county program available to all students of all ages. Learn more at: www.bgcwalco.org Feel free to donate directly or through Lakes Area REALTORS® Association. They appreciate any help and always need gift cards which are used to reward members for good behavior and positive homework performance.

Thanks Jeff Contreras for all you do for your community, and thanks again to all who helped financially.

2017-18 LARA Leaders – Applications Being Accepted Now through October 1

About the Lakes Area REALTORS® Association Leadership and Governance

The Lakes Area REALTORS® Association has one paid staff member – CEO Denise Schultz. As the Association Executive, she leads the day to day operations of the organization according to our Bylaws, and the Bylaws and Organizational Core Standards of the National Association REALTORS® with input and guidance from the Wisconsin Association of REALTORS®.

Denise reports to the L.A.R.A. Board of Directors, comprised of 11 volunteer Realtor® members. Seven are Directors, with staggered two-year terms. Four are officers, who make up the Executive Committee (President, President-Elect, Past-President and Secretary/Treasurer.) Committees, often led by these leaders, help to accomplish our goals.

How To Get Involved

Successful leaders usually begin by volunteering on one or more committee(s) that interest them, to become familiar with the processes and culture, then elevate through higher levels of involvement with experience. Volunteering for leadership can be very rewarding and help further develop professional skills. Increased professional exposure, peer recognition and business development skills are just a few of the rewards for time invested in association leadership.

How much time in invested in a volunteer leadership position is a personal decision. At a minimum, applicants for a L.A.R.A. Board of Directors position should plan on committing 4 hours per month to reviewing agenda, minutes, financial reports and attending the monthly Board of Directors meeting. (Our meetings are currently held on a Thursday morning and last approximately 90 minutes.) All directors are expected to be involved in or lead at least one committee.

We have several (two-year) Director positions available for 2017. Are you ready to step up and serve your association? Do you have ideas that could make us better? Please consider becoming involved in leadership.


The first step is to complete the application  Deadline: October 1, 2016.

If you have questions or would like to discuss how you can become involved, please feel free to contact any current board member or Denise Schultz. We will be happy to provide information and guidance.

Why YPN?

Why YPN?

Why Y-PN?

By: Denise Schultz, RCE – LARA CEO

Networking :
“the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business.”



Having first been born the middle sister of five, then building a career on professional relationship building, when I entered the real estate world in 2011 and learned about YPN – the Young Professionals Network – I was intrigued. The national network of real estate professionals was originally founded from a magazine initiative that recognized the “30 Under 30” up and coming REALTOR(S) in the nation, but has evolved to include any and all who understand and support the power of positive networking among professionals. I became involved at the national level as I approached 50 years of age, when encouraged by Rob Reuter and other NAR staff to do so. I inquired about a network at our state level and encouraged our Board of Directors to approve one at the local level. I attempt to remain involved, but at a leadership distance where I can provide expertise or guidance as needed, but not “get in the way” as a 50+ leadership administrator-type (thanks Nobu.) To me, a successful YPN event is one where people walk away smiling, enriched for having spent time with others, regardless of their age.

On March 29 the Lakes Area (Wisconsin) YPN held its first event of 2016, under new Chair Tom Keefe. Tom and his team put together a classic “Happy Hour” at a popular, centrally located sports bar and grill from 5-7. They worked with the owner to provide a signature cocktail (“Lakeside Listing Mule”) and reduced prices on drinks and appetizers. The tables included a card promoting the next two membership events. The event was promoted via one mass e-mail to all members, and social networking. Possibly the most “trending” messages were between individual members asking about age and who was welcome. This is one of the greatest challenges of YPN in my opinion. I find the best answer to be those “YOUNG at heart.” The ‘Y’ in YPN is not about a number in most cases. It’s about an attitude. YPN events are most successful when those new to the profession are able and willing to learn from those with valuable experience to share. And those with that valuable experience understand that we are not there to lecture or “parent.” While a young – or more importantly newer – agent can learn priceless information from listening to experienced real estate professionals, they may also be able to share a valuable tech tip or fresh, new idea with those veterans willing to listen. YPN is about making connections and exchanging information.

President Mike Culat felt the event was well attended by a good variety of people, and he took the time to personally greet and thank each member for attending, which was obviously appreciated. Five members of the Board of Directors were present, which I believe is key, to show members the support and availability of the leadership. Approximately 20 REALTORS® attended, with several Affiliate Business Partner members and prospective members enjoying valuable one on one time with them. For those who love the labels of “Millennials”, “Gen Xers” and “Baby Boomers” – we were all included – and honestly pretty well balanced across the board. My hope is that word spreads and more members realize that age is not an issue and join upcoming YPN sponsored events to build the momentum and ultimately, the benefits.

The Bottom Line: I performed a bit of a social experiment at this event by randomly walking up to those present, sometimes mid-conversation, and simply asking, “Do you have a business card?” and holding out my hand. Approximately 50% of those approached produced a card within a few seconds. The most popular response for those who didn’t was, “They are in my car!” (or office.) Kudos to the two who immediately went and got them. (Some had more of other people’s cards than their own, which is another topic of referrals – but I often do too, and believe it’s a good thing.)

If the #1 purpose of being at an event like this is to make connections and exchange information – How do we follow up with a contact if we don’t have their contact information? And perhaps more importantly – how do they follow up with us? Do we rely on memory and social networking and hope we find one another online following the event? Are we sometimes focused on half price appetizers and signature drinks rather than “cultivating productive relationships?” Are we simply in too much of a hurry? How long does it take to remember to carry business cards inside with us? Why would we ever NOT have our business cards within reach in a world where we rely on connections? Questions I hope readers will consider …

In the interest of full disclosure: My cards are always handy, tucked in a sleeve on the back of my cell phone … which, ironically, was in my car charging during this experiment (shame on me.) Just one of those people should have handed me their card asking, “Do you have yours?” (Wink.) I did have two door prizes with me. I never told anyone. I awarded the “Grand Prize” to Tony Alivo, Senior Loan Officer with Diamond Residential Mortgage Corporation in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Why? Because upon my request he immediately handed me THREE of his business cards! Way to go Tony! (One for me, two to share.) I awarded the second, and probably better prize, to Lyndsay Peterson, REALTOR® with Keefe Real Estate in Lake Geneva, who smiled, handed me her card quickly and professionally, and was the youngest REALTOR® who did, and a model “YPN-er” I hope to see become involved in leadership. She’ll be the one driving around the Lakes Area with the new REALTOR® blue license frame.


LARA CEO Earns National Designation

Denise Schultz earned the National Association of REALTORS(R) RCE (REALTOR(R) Certified Executive) in San Antonio, Texas at the 2016 AEI (Association Executives Insitute.) Learn more here: Press release – Schultz RCE

How Can I Get More Involved in Our Association?

Sometimes those of us in leadership roles forget that there are 400+ members out there who aren’t involved in the every day activities we are. Yesterday I had one of our Affiliate Business Partner Members ask me “What committees can I get involved with at LARA?” and I realized that maybe our members don’t realize that YES – WE WANT YOU TO STEP UP AND GET INVOLVED! If we haven’t asked – then we are asking now – HOW DO YOU WANT TO GET MORE INVOLVED?

On Monday, February 29, our committee chairs, Board of Directors and staff will be at Hawk’s View Golf Club from 8:30-11:00 a.m. and available to answer any questions and provide information to those who want to be more involved.

Here is an overview of  our committees. With the exception of the Executive and Professional Standards Committees which require appointment, election or special training, positions are open to REALTOR(R) and AFFILIATE Business Partner members on all of these committees:

2016 LARA Committees

Budget and Finance                            Chair: Becky Merwin             Vice-Chair: Sue Miller
Members: Mike Culat, Rick Geaslen
Meets quarterly to review the financial status of the organization.
Subcommittee:  Non Dues Revenue – evaluate revenue opportunities.

Community Outreach                         Chair: Molly Elsbury             Vice-Chair: Jane Dulisse
Shine a positive light on REALTORS® in our communities – includes Twin Oaks Shelter for the Homeless fundraising and public awareness of REALTOR® activities and housing statistics. Seek “R TEAM” members to publicly promote volunteerism. 

Events                                     Chair: Andy Szymanskyj                   Vice Chair: Margaret Labus
Plan events including annual golf outing, installation banquet. Seek members to contribute towards increased events to possibly include bowling, chili cook-off, inter-board/inter-organizational events.

Executive                                            Chair: Mike Culat                  Vice-Chair: Sue Miller  Members: Rick Geaslen, Becky Merwin
Per the Bylaws, this committee is led by the President and includes the Secretary/Treasurer and one other Director. Sub-committees include:

  • Long Range Planning –strategic planning, merger and consolidation considerations.
  • Nominating – annual Board of Directors and REALTOR® of the Year nomination processes.
  • Personnel – staffing issues, including performance evaluations.

Government Affairs                           Chair: Brad Lois                    Vice-Chair: Rick Geaslen
2015 Members: Becky Merwin, Lon Wienke, Mike Culat, Ryan Simons, Jan Alvey, Tom Keefe, Gary Grolle
Works with the GAD on local legislative affairs; REALTOR® & Government Day. Seeking  “Advocacy Ambassadors” to attend and report on local issues. Subcommittee:

  • RPAC Fundraising – Chair: Becky Merwin               Vice-Chair: Tyler Meyer
    Encourage participation at state/national levels; fundraisers.

Membership                                        Chair: Margaret Labus         Vice-Chair: Mary Ochoa Petersen
Overall member benefits and services. Seeking members to help develop quarterly general membership events.

  • MLS – Chair: Bob Websterwe have one representative on the Metro MLS BOD
  • West Side Condo Assn. Chair: Brad Lois – one member represents our interests in the condo association
  • Business Partner Group – Chair: Amy Giovannoni – Vice-Chair – Pam Franzen

Professional Development/Education            Chair: Rick Geaslen               Vice-Chair: Wade Williams
Work with staff on engaging and relevant New Member Orientation, Continuing Education programs.

Recognition – Adding 2016

Professional Standards                                   Chair: Sue Miller        Vice-Chair: Wade Williams  Member Roster Available
Acts in accordance with NAR Code of Ethics.   *WRA Professional Standards training required within 24 mos.

Encourage association involvement and networking of those new to the profession.

What Makes REALTORS(R) Special

“Our Code of Ethics Helps Us to be Better at Our Business – and at Serving Our Clients.”

“This is How We Police Ourselves.”

“Knowledge is Truth.”

“We Deputize to Raise the Bar.”

“Tell the Truth, and You Won’t Have to Remember What You Said in the Future.”

“Our Code of Ethics Dispute Resolution Process Solves REALTOR® Problems Faster, Better, and Cheaper.”

“Resolve Your Dispute Less Formally and Less Costly – Call Us Today.”

“Never Spend a Commission Check You Haven’t Yet Earned.”

“Honesty – Trust – Integrity – Respect – Our Profession is Built on These Cornerstones.”

These are a just a few of the comments Lakes Area REALTORS® Association members shared in the introductory portion of Code of Ethics/Professional Standards Training at Hawk’s View Golf Club on Wednesday, February 10. Tracy Rucka, WRA Director of Professional Standards and Practices was impressed with our members level of commitment as she noticed, “A dozen firms are represented here today!” at the voluntary training, not required by license law or association membership policies. Rucka asked those present to share their name, firm affiliation and their version of “A Public Service Announcement” regarding the REALTOR(R) Code of Ethics and Professional Standards resolution process being discussed.

The 24 REALTORS® who took time to attend the training did so either to further their knowledge and professionalism, or because they have volunteered to lead on the Board of Directors or in a Professional Standards Committee capacity. Experience ranged from Elizabeth Grace, celebrating her 2-year anniversary in the business this month, to Bob Rauland, with 55 years of experience, and all ranges between. We appreciate the time our volunteers take, the hospitality of Hawk’s View and their staff, and look forward to the next opportunities to learn:

Monday, February 29 – 9-11 a.m. – “What’s In It For Me?” General Membership Meeting featuring benefits of membership and income tax tips for REALTORS® and related business professionals.

Wednesdays April 13, 20 & 27 – Continuing Education – More information: HERE


To learn more about the REALTOR(R) Code of Ethics and Professional Standards – See THIS PAGE