NAR Annual

Hits and Misses from NAR Chicago

by Kevin Hawkins on November 7, 2017

Exhibits

Chicago is a baseball town. Even with the Cubs disappointingly not returning to the World Series this year, you can’t escape seeing someone wearing a Cubs or White Sox hat or shirt every day in Chicago, even in November. McCormick Place, home to this year’s REALTORS® Conference & Expo, sits just two-and-a-half miles north of Comiskey Park, where the Sox play – their South Side team. So you get an idea of how far away this convention center is from the heart of downtown. And the proximity to a pro baseball park also gives me the perfect excuse to use baseball terminology to review some of the hits and misses I found this year’s conference in the City of Big Shoulders. Host city: Grand slam for hotels choices, restaurants, entertainment, and bars. But it’s a strikeout as a convention city when half your meetings are located 30-45 minutes away at hotels on Michigan Avenue. Even with the fantastic busway, an express lane that takes only convention busses from downtown hotels directly to McCormick Place, it took door-to-door, between the average shuttle wait time, at least 30 minutes because traffic clogs the arteries to the hotels. For me, that’s just too much wasted time spent on a bus, even with all the technology we have in the palms of our hands today. Oh, and the weather sucks in November. 2018 Woman NAR President: Elizabeth Mendenhall, a Realtor from Columbia, Missouri was a refreshing sight as she stepped up to the plate at the annual new NAR President press conference to field reporter’s questions. First, it’s been way too long since NAR has had a woman president. Second, she’s at least a generation younger than most of her predecessors. She came across as energetic, smart and politically savvy. She gave props to CAR’s WomanUp, a powerful new Women’s Initiative, and she laid out NAR’s agenda for 2018. She adeptly fielded questions from reporters. She was hitting the questions reporters were throwing at her solidly. That was until Inman News Bernice Ross  threw a curveball at her. Bernice is spearheading a woman’s initiative of her own. So she asked Mendenhall – since it’s been so long since we’ve had an NAR female President – if she had specific plans to support women Realtors during her tenure at NAR. Elizabeth just stood there, and let that beautiful slow pitch Bernice threw at her sail over […]

{ 21 comments }

2016 NAR Annual Moments and Musings

by Kevin Hawkins on November 15, 2016

NAR

Like many Americans, I was glued to the television on election night, and seeing the Javits Center instantly reminded me of my first NAR Annual Convention. It was in 1986 when the brand new Javits Center opened in Manhattan. I was a young PR Turk fresh into my first full year at Great Western Bank (then Great Western Savings). I went there to plot our long-term trade show strategy. It was also my first NAREE – National Association of Real Estate Editors – meeting, a dinner at a classic NYC steakhouse. That’s especially hard to forget because it’s where the legendary real estate columnist, the late great Bob Bruss, instantly greeted me. It was also my first personal encounter with David Jeffers, then of Fannie Mae fame, who gave the most politically incorrect slideshow presentation. Both encounters convinced me that this was my kind of organization. Fast-forward 30 years to last week’s NAR Annual Convention in Orlando, and most of the traditions remain the same. Here is my attempt at recapping my highlights and offering three takeaways: Journalist are back at NAR: I walked into the Press Room at the Orlando Convention Center and was delighted to see so many reporters working away in the press room. While the numbers don’t compare to what was common a couple of decades ago, there were more reporters attending then in the last three NAR Annuals combined. In addition to perennials attendees, such as Steve Brown of the Dallas Morning News and the godfather of real estate columnists, Lew Sichelman, there were many fresh faces, including those from the new bread of media that can’t be categorized as journalists, but who create a plethora of real estate content. One example is Chris Cain, once the head of PR for the Florida Association of Realtors, Chris is both a RE/MAX agent in the Orlando area who both writes extensively about and specializes in selling vacation homes. A long-time member of NAREE, Chris was sharing his book called “Your Made in the USA Vacation Home.” Another stellar writer in the room was Bernice Ross, an Inman Columnist who also writes one of my favorite weekly newsletters, The Real Estate Coach. The big three trade media outlets were there: RE Technology, RISMedia and Inman News. Inman was very well represented, as Amber Taufen, Inman’s top editor and Deputy Editor, Andrea Brambila, were writing non-stop. Kudos to […]

{ 0 comments }