By Subhi Gharbieh
On Thursday, Nov. 8, my fellow Dallas REALTOR® Joe Atkins and I booked the 6 a.m. flight from Dallas-Fort Worth to Orlando so that we could make it to the YPN Advisory Subcommittee meeting that started at noon. Being the responsible adult that I am (not), I tried to pull an all nighter so that I wouldn’t miss my flight early Thursday morning. That worked out well! I ended up falling asleep around 3:30 a.m., and the five alarms that I set to wake me up, well, didn’t.
So I missed the YPN meeting (bummer), but Joe, our MetroTex YPN chair, made it to the meeting and represented us well. After I got to our hotel later that day, Joe and I immediately left for the convention center to get registered and pick up our convention packet. The NAR staff do such a great job organizing the registration and welcome process. They are so efficient.
Thursday evening was pretty relaxing. We met up with some fellow YPN members from around the country at the Peabody Hotel. We caught up with some old faces and met some new ones. One thing that I have learned from attending the REALTORS® Conference & Expo for the last three years, is that we may only meet a couple times a year, but when we do, it feels like it was yesterday that we were just together at the last convention.
I was very proud of our Dallas YPN network for making such a strong showing this year in Orlando. For the last couple of years, the norm for us was about two or three members travel to attend the convention. This year, we had right around 20 of our YPN members attend — that made me really proud.
Being the chair of our YPN network last year, I was really hoping that we would win Network of the Year during my term. That didn’t happen. We worked really hard and felt like we had done a lot of great things to win the title for Large Association Network of the Year, but we were topped by Chicago YPN.
Nevertheless, we started off 2012 focused on the same goal. We did a lot of great things in 2012, but when it came time to fill out our application for Network of the Year, we really felt like we could have done more. We completed our application thinking that we really came up short of our goals as a committee. The competition is so fierce among YPN Networks all over the country, and seeing some of the great things that some other networks had accomplished throughout the year, we didn’t think we had a shot at winning.
So Friday comes around. We woke up, went downstairs to our hotel fitness center for a quick workout. (It’s not easy being two of the most handsome REALTORS®. ) We showered up and left for the convention center to attend a session lead by my favorite REALTOR® family — Ron and Matt Phipps. For those of you who don’t know “Big Ron,” Mr. Phipps is the immediate past president of NAR, and a HUGE supporter of YPN. Matt, Ron’s son, is a top-notch REALTOR® and a really good friend of mine. The name of the session was called “What are You Saying? Cross Generational Literacy.” They discussed the dos and don’ts of dealing with different types of clients — older, younger, male, female, international clients, and much more. This was a great session for any young REALTOR® having trouble connecting and building credibility with their older clientele, and vice versa. Matt pointed me out in the crowd several times, referring to our common taste in tennis shoes (Air Jordans, to be specific), how we can dress a bit more casual with our younger clients, and how we have a little more slack when it comes to using curse words around younger clients. (Thanks for making me look so professional in front of everyone in the room, Matt!)
We attended a few more sessions throughout the day, and then it was time for the YPN party. We got dressed and got a ride to the Universal City Walk. The YPN event was held at a place called the Groove. It was a great venue. People started pouring in around 6 p.m., and by 6:30 the place was packed. We mixed and mingled again with YPN members from all over the country. It’s always amazing to see so many young movers and shakers from all over the nation under the same roof. That’s what YPN is all about.
Around 7 p.m., YPN Subcommittee Chair Rob Mehta grabs the mic up on the stage and greets everyone. Shortly after, he said they’d be announcing the winners of the Network of the Year awards. There are three awards given out every year, one for a small/medium association, one for large association, and one for a state association.
Seattle King County Association was awarded the small/medium association YPN Network of the Year award. I am so proud of Georgia Wall for all her hard work to win that award for her association.
Next was the category that our association fell under — large association. I thought I was dreaming when Rob announced that MetroTex YPN had won. When he announced that we won, I immediately looked into the crowd to find Joe, and he was already walking up to the stage, so I did the same. What an incredible honor to win Network of the Year, especially in a year where so many other networks did so many great things. They really all deserve this award. I gave a sarcastic shout out to my buddy, Rogers Healy, also a Dallas REALTOR®, but I feel that now it’s only right that I also give credit to everyone else who traveled from Dallas to support us. You guys rock.
Deena Zimmerman-Hanratty then accepted the state Network of the Year award on behalf of the Illinois Association of REALTORS® YPN.
You want to know something in common amongst all three winners? They all have fearless leaders. I know Joe, Georgia, and Deena all personally, and let me tell you — they will do whatever it takes to make their committees succeed in reaching their goals.
So, one may ask, what did we do to win? It’s really simple…
Here are a few pointers for any YPN network in the hunt for the Network of the Year:
1. Get involved. That means get involved with your local association, your state association, in the community, and in your neighborhood.
2. Give back. Give back to our industry (a.k.a. RPAC) and to members of your association. We hosted a smartphone and real estate applications course three times throughout the year to a room full of older, more seasoned REALTORS®, hungry to learn how to use the technology we have in our hands today. We also gave back to the community by getting involved with a nonprofit organization. Choose one that ties in with our industry. We volunteered with a local community center that serves as a centerpiece in keeping a local Dallas neighborhood together. The Jubilee Center feeds the hungry, mentors and tutors children after school, teaches senior citizens how to use computers, and has pretty much keeps this neighborhood in south Dallas from becoming a ghetto.
3. Come to NAR. Encourage your members to attend the REALTORS® Conference & Expo. Show up to the hill visits, whether in your state, or in Washington, D.C. Interact with your fellow YPN members. I was so proud of my good friend, Clay Stapp, broker/owner of Clay Stapp+Co. Clay had a contest within his brokerage where the agent who produced the highest volume of sales from January to October would win an all expenses paid trip to Orlando for the convention. This is something that all brokers/team leaders should do! Congrats to Alan Shaffer for winning that. I hope you enjoyed your trip!
After the YPN awards ceremony, we went out to dinner with several YPN members. Shot some hoops in the NBA zone. (Koki, I want a rematch!), and then called it a night.
Saturday, we spent several hours in the expo. Every year there are new products and tools that are introduced to us in the expo. It is my absolute most favorite part of the convention. We walked around for hours, visiting and talking to different vendors about their products/services, and ran into several people we met in the previous days. I really feel like I’m one step ahead of other REALTORS® in Dallas who don’t attend the convention and expo.
That pretty much sums up my trip! Thanks for reading! See you in San Francisco in 2013!!!