According to a press release from NJMLS on October 1st, 2010. Tina Griffin, the respected Executive Director of the New Jersey Multiple Listing Service, has announced that she will be retiring in January 2011 after 34 years at the helm of the REALTOR® owned organization. This marks the end of a long career, with many significant achievements marking the milestones of a company that has long been the benchmark to which other MLS systems aspire.
Nelson Chen, Broker/Owner of The Chen Agency and President of the NJMLS Board of Directors, states, “I have had the privilege and honor of working with Tina Griffin as a board member of the NJMLS for the past fifteen years. Her vision and leadership have propelled our organization to heights that I would never have imagined back in 1995. Tina has shared her leadership skills and imparted her knowledge to all those around her, including me. I will forever be grateful to her for the lessons that she has taught me. We will welcome our new Executive Director in 2011 with great enthusiasm, but no one will ever truly replace Tina.”
The NJMLS was founded in 1977 and started with only 30 agents and 14 offices in a small space in Demarest, New Jersey. Ms. Griffin, then a licensed real estate agent, was recruited to oversee a cooperative of these offices, a place where the members could visit and be kept up-to-date about new listings and transactions that had taken place among them. The NJMLS has grown extensively under Ms. Griffins command since then. Today the membership of this organization tops over 1000 offices and serves 8500 members. Even more impressively, Ms. Griffin leaves behind a devoted staff, several of whom have been working with her since the companys inception.
Ms. Griffins philosophy has always been that the MLS must have a continued commitment to offering cost-effective quality products and services to its members while utilizing state of the art technology. She has kept a watchful eye over the technological advances of the company, taking it from handwritten listing agreements to the current cutting-edge system of integrated databases. She has made certain that these changes meet the ever-evolving needs of the membership. Ms. Griffin has also been instrumental in working with the NJMLS Board of Directors to ensure equal and fair Rules and Regulations and Policies. “The very success of an MLS rests with the integrity of its content. Until rules were formulated and enforced, there was no continuity or reliability. The rules maintain the richness of the data. The MLS began as the ’stepchild in the real estate industry and today is sought after for our historical data, our up-to-the-minute information, and the always imperative integrity of the data,” she states. Tina’s story is just one of many success stories in the MLS industry. Thoughtful and brave leaders created an efficient way to buy and sell real estate in the United States that is unparalled around the world. Tina is just one of the the many MLS pioneers who created a unique and valuable method for selling trillions of dollars of real estate annual. Tina is also just one of many of these visionary executives who has retired in the past couple of years.
Just like the REALTOR community, the MLS leadership community also has an aging population. It is important that the industry think about methods for nurturing younger leaders to take on the daunting task of leading the MLS industry into the future. The industry has never had more competition chipping away at the relevance of the MLS concept. Third party listing services are creating listing exposure, state associations are trying to become MLSs and even neighboring MLSs are now competing for members. It is going to take a new type of leader with a competitive spirit, doggedly committed to ever-increasing levels of customer satisfaction. In our WAV Group MLS executive recruiting practice, we focus a lot on trying to find new leaders that have the passion and skills to win competitive battles, while offering the best MLS system and services available. I hope that every MLS board of directors is carefully looking at its management team and overtly defining successors for the incredible leaders that lead the industry today. Without a strong pool of “lieutenants” being trained on strong leadership skills, married with strong technology, marketing and customer service acumen, the industry will be in trouble in short order.