REAL Trends Comment: Unsung Partners


While we don’t often write about the men and women who run Realtor® associations and/or MLS’s at the state and local level, through a group of CEO’s of 14 such organizations, we have had the opportunity to get to know them intimately and to critique their operations and management.  Despite what many brokerage leaders think, many of these association leaders are as competent, if not more competent, at organizational effectiveness than many of the brokerage firms we deal with.


For the most part they are extremely well organized, have detailed plans and strategies, well developed staff roles and responsibilities and have worked well with shrinking budgets and higher service demands.  They are smart about what is going on in the business and have strong beliefs in their role in the brokerage industry.  Personally, I think brokerage firms would do well to spend some time observing up close how these leaders run their organizations and how to be more organizationally effective themselves.


One such leader, Terese Penza (Terry to her friends) was recently awarded the William R Magel Award of Excellence for her performance in running the North Shore – Barrington Association of Realtors in the suburbs north of Chicago.  It is among the highest recognition that an association leader can receive.


I have known Terry for something over ten years now and no one I know is more deserving of this recognition.  She exemplifies what we define as a great leader:  focused on the mission of her organization, aware of the changes around her, unfailingly upbeat and strong at building relationships with her staff, her members and those with whom she works.


Most brokerage firms and sales professionals take for granted that the market for the sale and purchase of housing is there regardless of what happens at their association or MLS.  But as we have said to several groups, imagine there were no MLS’s and worse no rules of conduct between market participants.  It would be total chaos.


And remember that while each housing market in the U.S. has its own way of doing business, and there remain frustrations among the participants, our markets remain the most fluid, transparent and effective in the world.  This is as much due to the efforts of people like Terry as it is anything else.