“OWN IT!” These two words have so much meaning. So much impact. If we OWN them … L.A.R.A. CEO Denise Schultz and 2017 President Elect Becky Merwin traveled to Chicago with over 1,000 others in their positions to the 2018 NAR Leadership Summit August 13-15.

This annual event brings association executives and volunteer leaders together with the industry leaders, to get on the same page for a successful year for their members. Yes – FOR THEIR MEMBERS. Yes, we establish friendships, post some pictures of some pretty amazing experiences, and we hear from some pretty amazing speakers, but now more than ever – this is FOR THE MEMBERS.

So what does this year’s theme, “REALTORS OWN IT” really mean? I’ll share some of the words we heard:

Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour, a retired USMC combat pilot woke us up on set us on course day one. Here are a few of her words:

  1. “Acknowledge Obstacles – DON’T Give them Power.”

  2. “Stand Up and be Counted – Because you never know who is Counting On You.”

  3. “Who needs a Runway? Take off from Where You Are!”

Wow. She was one of the most dynamic speakers I’ve ever experienced. She held up one copy of her book in front of 1,500 people. She asked “Who wants my book?” People raised their hands. She asked louder, “WHO WANTS MY BOOK?!” People got a little more energetic. She asked again. Finally, ONE man, ONE – walked up and reached for it and she handed it to him with a big smile. OH!  Talk about an “aha” moment. Hello? We can’t just sit there and wait for things to come to us. He Owned It.

Elizabeth Mendenhall, 2018 NAR President is the 6th woman to hold this position in 110 years. She reminded us that Realtors® represent 323,000,000 property owners in the United States! That’s over 16% of the GDP. She says, “Professionalism is an ATTTITUDE, not a time commitment.” Elizabeth asks every Realtor® member to focus on professionalism and to take risks, make choices, share and support. “Create Your Moment and Own It!” is her message for all members in 2018 (and beyond.) She Owns It.

New NAR CEO Bob Goldberg wants members to know that he is fiercely committed to putting MEMBERS FIRST. He wants members to realize that he intends to “knock down the ivory tower façade” that some members have about NAR and its structure and “turn the pyramid upside down so NAR leadership and staff are looking up at the members.” He is requiring all staff to get out into the association and member offices to experience a day in our lives. He Owns It.

Eric Thomas, known as “ET – the Hip Hop Preacher” delivers his message loud and strong. All caps, bold and underlined defines his speaking style so here goes:



  3. “BE RELEVANT! YOU MUST MAKE ADJUSTMENTS AND ACCEPT CHANGE! (Otherwise you may as well pack up and go.)”

He shared some very effective stories as examples, including one about a school district with failing test scores in need of his help but insisting he would need to wear a suit rather than his trademark t-shirts and jeans. “DO NOT TALK TO ME ABOUT CLOTHES. TALK TO ME ABOUT PERFORMANCE! YOUR WAYS AREN’T WORKING!” was a message at the center of several key points about working with other generations, today’s millennials and letting go of traditional thinking, including “pecking order.” Applause erupted when he said you’d better quite complaining about them being on their phones, and get on yours (re: communicating with millennials.) ET would tell you to RIGHT NOW, WRITE DOWN your goals for 365 days from now and OWN THEM. He said he OWNED THE ENERGY IN THIS ROOM. And he did. He definitely Owned It.

I could write all day about what we learned – about the industry, about leadership, about trends, about Chicago and the upcoming Convention. I chose the “OWN IT” message for now. If you are still reading, please tell me what you want me to write about next. And THANKS.

Denise Schultz 8/16/2017

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