Meet the 2020 Ohio REALTORS Leadership Academy class!
The Ohio REALTORS 2020 Leadership Academy class: (top row, from left) Tanya Blair, Sara DiFranco, Kristin Granakis, Diane Harper, April Hull, Jenna Koontz; (bottom row, from left) Melissa Mariola-Davis, Wayne Newland, Melissa Sanford, Kimi Singleton, Amanda Talkington, Mark Vittardi
By Anjanette Frye, Ohio REALTORS President
Your Ohio REALTORS is pleased to announce the 12-member 2020 Leadership Academy class. These REALTORS are poised to embark on an intense self-discovery program focused on goal-setting, communication, business relationships and personal growth. Congratulations to:
Tanya Blair, Midwestern Ohio Association of REALTORS
Why do you want to be considered for the Ohio REALTORS Leadership Academy: Want to learn, grow and take myself and business to the next level.
Three most significant challenges facing the real estate profession today: 1) Shortage of inventory 2) Growing online competition from listing portals 3) Adapting to technology trends.
Sara DiFranco, Lake & Geauga Area Association of REALTORS
Why do you want to be considered for the Ohio REALTORS Leadership Academy: I want to be considered for the Leadership Academy for a few reasons. First, I have seen first-hand how this experience has helped other graduates. I have seen the growth of agents who have had the privledge of being a part of the Leadership Academy and I would love to have this experience. I was able to attend the speeches of the 2019 graduates and was blown away by them and what the Leadership Academy meant to each participant. Second, I believe I am ready for this experience and growth. I have taken courses such as Dale Carnegie. To get the most out of a class like that, you have to be ready to self explore and grow. I am ready! Third, I want to prepare for my upcoming Presidency of Lake and Geauga Area Association. I want to be the best President I can be in 2021 and I know this course will help me with that!
Three most significant challenges facing the real estate profession today: The three biggest challenges facing the real estate profession are professionalism, lack of oversight by brokers, and uncertainty in the coming year. Many agents come into this profession thinking it is easy or they will make fast money. They fail to realize that this is a business based on relationships, not just with our clients but each other. Good relationships among agents allow for a smoother transactions for our clients but also make our industry look more professional to the public. Another challenge is little oversight by Brokers. Many agents no longer work in the real estate office, but work remotely. While paperwork still has to be submitted for transactions and approved by the Broker, there is not a relationship between the broker/manager as their once was when many agents worked from a brick and mortar office. There are also offices with hundreds of agents and one Broker. The breakdown of the office setting and the drive for high agent count is a challenge and we have to find better ways to keep that relationship intact. Lastly, 2020 seems that it may be a year of uncertainty. It is an election year which always brings a swing in the market. The real estate market and the economy have been very good for many years. Many wonder if 2020 will be the year that the economy will start the downswing. While we as agents do not control the market we can be armed with facts and data to help our clients make the best choices for themselves.
Kristin Granakis, Medina County Board of REALTORS
Why do you want to be considered for the Ohio REALTORS Leadership Academy: Being on several committees I have had the chance to witness a committee run well and I would like to learn how to do that. I will be be Chairing my first committee in 2020 and it is important to me to learn how to lead efficiently and effectively, recognize committee members strengths so I can see who to delegate tasks to. And lastly I'd like to learn how to accomplish this with kindness and excellent communication. The opportunity to learn new leadership skills will in turn let me help help my local Board of Realtors and also help Newbridge Place. Newbridge Place is a nonprofit that has a small BOD that would like to retire. A new board needs to be developed, new marketing and fundraising efforts need to be implemented. I feel I can help Newbridge Place by utilizing the things I would learn in Leadership Academy. I would also like to run for a seat on my town's Council next year.
Three most significant challenges facing the real estate profession today: 1) The public does not understand our value. People who bought a house 30 years ago are the ones giving initial advice to new buyers today. Which leads people to not trust us because that's "not what their parents said". There is huge amount of incorrect information out there coupled with agents who don't tell their clients what they did behind the scenes for them. 2) I Buyers - Are buyers informed properly? Do sellers really get top dollar this way? It feels like the "person" being represented best is the one who developed IBuyer.com. 3) Coming Soon -- I feel the "Coming Soon" status is being abused and not in the best interest of sellers.
Diane Harper, Ashland Board of REALTORS
Why do you want to be considered for the Ohio REALTORS Leadership Academy: I have a desire to learn ways to help myself expand personally, with confidence and leadership skills to enhance my life. Helping myself will also encourage me to be a better mother, grandmother and REALTOR. I would like to find ways to give back and leave a legacy as I further my career.
Three most significant challenges facing the real estate profession today: 1) Political uncertainty and how it will impact our housing market in regards to market values and interest rates. 2) FEMA's funding to help with the distressed areas of natural disasters. 3) REALTORS professionalism as it reflects to todays consumers that have so much online information. We have to be able to show them we are of value!
April Hull, Firelands Association of REALTORS
Why do you want to be considered for the Ohio REALTORS Leadership Academy: Being considered would be a great challenge for myself. I find myself yearning to learn more in our industry, meet new people and step outside the box. From everything I've read and heard from others who have been on the committee this seems like the right step. I think this would give me the confidence to take on roles in the future with the community and our Board that I may otherwise not feel I would qualify for.
Three most significant challenges facing the real estate profession today: 1) Low inventory-shortage of homes, older homes needing to much in repairs, builders not being able to build in a lower price bracket. 2) Online competition with listing homes. 3) Ethics violations with our own REALTORS.
Jenna Koontz, Youngstown Columbiana Area Association of REALTORS
Why do you want to be considered for the Ohio REALTORS Leadership Academy: I have fallen in love with real estate and helping my community. I love being able to teach my clients about the process and guiding their wants and needs. I would love to be able to grow and learn more to help not only my clients but everyone in my community. The market has been great and I have seen an influx of people in all faucets of our industry from agents, to flippers to inspectors. Not all care to learn what they don't know. I hope to help inspire others to learn more to maintain the integrity of our industry.
Three most significant challenges facing the real estate profession today: 1) Buyers and sellers feeling they can get better results with on-line companies than with using a REALTOR. If we as an industry fail to showcase our value to the public, that we protect our clients financial interests, facilitate and give the pros and cons to the tough decisions they have to make, we risk becoming the next Blockbuster. 2) At some point the aging infrastructure of utility lines, power plants, roads and bridges in local communities could fall on taxpayers. Coupled with buyers that are concerned with where their water will be coming from with so many states in the US facing shortages yearly. 3) Housing affordability, the threat of rising interest rates, along with the lack of new and existing homes active on the market. These conditions make the market tough to enter, with limited options in many price ranges. Also finding ways for Boomers to age in place or find other affordable housing options.
Melissa Mariola-Davis, Wayne Holmes Association of REALTORS
Why do you want to be considered for the Ohio REALTORS Leadership Academy: I would like to further enhance my leadership skills, time management, and coaching ability. I also want to learn more about the "ins and outs" of Ohio REALTORS.
Three most significant challenges facing the real estate profession today: 1) Lead generation for new agents coming into the business. 2) Agents working against each other rather than collaborating to better our industry. 3) Technology taking the place of human interaction.
Wayne Newland, Guernsey-Muskingum Valley Association of REALTORS
Why do you want to be considered for the Ohio REALTORS Leadership Academy: I enjoy getting insight from my peers on various topics in the real profession. There are many issues and questions that come up in our ever changing industry and there is usually someone who has been involved that can help or guide you. I also enjoy sharing my experiences to help others. It is sometimes hard to approach fellow competing brokers in your area for advice. It would be more comfortable to connections with out of area peers we might not be directly competing with.
Three most significant challenges facing the real estate profession today: 1) The fast changing way buyers and sellers are getting in contact with agents. 2) The use of sites like Zillow and REALTOR.com that are shaping the real estate industry. 3) Sellers shifting to wanting to sell on their own guided by various Internet sites.
Melissa Sanford, Wayne Holmes Association of REALTORS
Why do you want to be considered for the Ohio REALTORS Leadership Academy: I would like to be considered for the Leadership Academy as an opportunity to grow personally and professionally. I am becoming more and more involved in the local Board and want to obtain greater skills to be a role model and leader to other agents in the industry. I have always felt education is a life long process. I was elected the "Tomorrow's Leaders Today" for 2018. I have received many designations as a REALTORS. I am teaching classes to new agents in the industry and am growing in my new position at Keller Williams Legacy Group as a member of the Agent Leadership Council. I want to help others grow by providing positive and learning based opportunities. As the leader of a team, it isn't just about me anymore. I am responsible for others, I can not fail them and I will always look for ways to improve in my professional and personal life. To be a great leader I have to surround myself with greatness and the opportunity of Ohio REALTORS Leadership Academy provides another avenue to learn from some of the best.
Three most significant challenges facing the real estate profession today: 1) There are many challenges facing the real estate profession today and, in my opinion, student loan debt is one of the most significant issues. The student loan debt is hindering first-time home buyers because the large amount of debt they are accruing leads them to not want to take out more loans to purchase a home. 2) The economy and the presidential election are other major challenges that bring with it many uncertainties. The housing market could be impacted significantly by the presidential election. Each person who runs for President has different opinions on how they should regulate the economy, and the wrong person in office could have a devastating effect on the economy which could impact the housing industry. 3) The last major challenge, I feel is "The American Dream" used to be owning a home. I feel like the "American Dream" has changed for the younger generation. They don't prioritize owning a home and having a family as much as they value making money to pay off their debt and live comfortably. It seems as though work and making money is becoming the subject of importance as opposed to the past when starting a family and buying a home were the “dream” for most people.
Kimi Singleton, Medina County Board of REALTORS
Why do you want to be considered for the Ohio REALTORS Leadership Academy: I am dedicated to learning from and completing the Academy. I hope to learn ways to continue my leadership path in my career for myself, my peers and the team I plan to build. I believe involvement, educating myself and others is of great importance to my success and the success of those that surround me both in real estate and other aspects of life.
Three most significant challenges facing the real estate profession today: 1) I feel a challenge we face right now is the 'click' society as I call it. Companies like Zillow have people feeling as though this process is a simple 1-2-3, all while feeding them false information and promoting the 'diy' process of real estate as opposed to using a professional who is trained to navigate and execute the process all while providing the support they need as a human being. 2) Secondly, real estate professionals who don't conduct themselves as such. I hate saying it, or that it is even a thought that comes to mind, but unfortunately it is a challenge. Being unethical, untruthful, that reflects poorly on the rest of us. It is sad that sometimes it is taught, and sometimes its because they havent really invested in themselves and being 'in the know' of what to do and what not to do. 3) Lastly, I would have to say political climate. The public tends to put themselves in a holding period when things in the government cause uncertainty. While there may be some great statistics coming out on unemployment and the reports of the R word have proven to be a trickle as opposed to a drop, people want to wait and see if that other shoe drops.
Amanda Talkington, Stark County Association of REALTORS
Why do you want to be considered for the Ohio REALTORS Leadership Academy: I did not know ORLA existed until I attended my first convention in September 2019. I sat in on the 2019 class giving their speeches and I was really motivated and inspired. I will be 33 years old this month and I finally feel like I'm on the right path to an amazing career. There is so much to get involved with and so much to learn with the real estate profession. I am hoping ORLA can guide and help me understand which way to go. Also from what I remember from the speeches I will be educated on how to manage my time and better my public speaking skills. A little self discovery process would do wonders for me too! I love helping people do better for themselves and I feel like ORLA will better me...which will help me be even better for others!
Three most significant challenges facing the real estate profession today: 1) Ethics and Professionalism - There is a lack of commitment to excellence in training, education, dress and following the law. 2) Keeping up with technology. 3) Building trust with customers, clients and those that we partner in business with. Not enough face-to-face time with them.
Mark Vittardi, Akron Cleveland Association of REALTORS
Why do you want to be considered for the Ohio REALTORS Leadership Academy: The Leadership Academy is a unique opportunity, promoting continued growth, digging into what we as REALTORS need to do to address the significant challenges that we face in our industry, all while networking with like minded professionals who want to make a difference in their local divisions.
Three most significant challenges facing the real estate profession today: 1) Web-based real estate platforms have had a significant impact on how we, as REALTORS, conduct our business. The FSBO, or unrepresented buyers in the market rely solely on the information these sites broadcast, most of which is wildly inaccurate. These sites should be used as reference points, it is our duty to better promote REALTORS to give the proper guidance to those interested in property assessments, listing, and purchasing. 2) There are many variables that effect the market, most of which is out of our control as REALTORS. Getting involved in local boards, civic organizations, philanthropic opportunities will allow you to get a better pulse on what is happening around you. These efforts will better prepare us for adverse times, and support civic leaders that can make a difference with legislation to support our industry. 3) Real estate does have its detractors within the industry. I'm a huge proponent of education. Wether that is educating the real estate professionals what it means to be a REALTOR and not just an agent, or working closely with our friends in the inspection, lending, title, and various other important vendors to better understand one another's processes for smoother transactions.