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Real estate program develops next-gen leaders

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The Greater Springfield Board of Realtors is headed into the second year of its Leadership Academy aimed at developing the industry’s next front-runners.

GSBOR CEO Miles Noennig said the program is modeled after the 14-year-old Missouri Realtors Leadership Academy, which boasts 96 percent of its nearly 200 graduates went on to hold office within their local Realtor organizations. Additionally, 88 percent have held state office and 32 percent became involved with the National Association of Realtors.

Noennig hopes to achieve similar results at the local level. He said all eight agents who participated in the inaugural program this year are slated for GSBOR or Missouri Realtors leadership roles in 2019.

“The primary goal of Leadership Academy is to develop future leaders for the local association, and at each level – national and state,” Noennig said.

“It’s also to prepare people to be better leaders in their businesses and their careers.”

First steps
For Yvonne Burdette-Van Camp, an agent with Southwest Missouri Realty, volunteering with the GSBOR was a way to fill her days after her husband went into remission following a cancer diagnosis.

“What am I going to do with all this free time now?” Realtor Burdette-Van Camp said she asked herself at the beginning of 2018.

A friend introduced her to GSBOR committees, state conventions and advocacy work at the state capitol.

“This world just opened up to me,” she said. “We met with legislators about bills. … We were sitting in hallways to get just five minutes with them.”

Burdette-Van Camp said it quickly became clear she wanted to get involved in leadership with Realtor boards. She became a Realtor in 2006 after years in human resources, and said she’s discovered a new passion.

Fifteen real estate agents applied to the 2019 GSBOR Leadership Academy, and Burdette-Van Camp was one of the eight selected. She said most of the cost to attend is covered by the GSBOR, in addition to a $350 commitment from each applicant.

Noennig said the five-day program spans over the course of the year and focuses on several topics, including Realtor education, advocacy, leadership and personal development, as well as learning the ins and outs of serving on local, state and national boards.

Last year, local businessmen Rusty Worley of the Downtown Springfield Association and Shawn Askinosie of Askinosie Chocolate LLC, among others, spoke to the group to “instill the spirit of entrepreneurship,” Noennig said.

The group also spent one program day in Jefferson City at the capitol to meet with representatives and senators, as well as the governor and lieutenant governor.

“Part of our charge is to protect the rights of property owners – that’s something that we take very seriously,” Noennig said, citing the GSBOR’s advocacy to help introduce a first-time homebuyers tax credit this year.

The bill sponsored by Rep. Becky Ruth, R-Festus, passed through the state House of Representatives and Senate this spring. HB 1796 would allow Missourians to deduct state taxes on half the money in a first-time home buyer savings account.

Noennig said he’s hopeful Leadership Academy will encourage agents to get involved in leadership on Realtor boards, as well as within their own brokerages and nonprofit and civic spheres.

The GSBOR and the Southern Missouri Regional MLS boards combined have 25 elected, volunteer leadership positions, he said, along with various committees.

Membership in the local Realtor association is at a record 2,200, up from 1,611 members in 2013, Noennig said, noting that represents about half of the real estate agents in southwest Missouri. Noennig points to the economy as the reason for a 37 percent increase in membership the past five years.

He said Leadership Academy will help provide local professional development opportunities for new Realtors. The National Association of Realtors estimates 29 percent of Realtors nationwide have less than two years of experience.

“Usually if the economy is healthy, the housing industry is healthy,” he said.

Learning to lead
Joel Gaisford was part of the inaugural Leadership Academy this year. He’s preparing to eventually lead his mother Kim Gaisford’s group, Team 24/7 Realtors with Murney Associates, Realtors, upon her retirement.

“I really felt like it was a good step for me to learn to manage a team of people,” he said. “It was organized so that we learned a lot about ourselves through personality questionnaires and then learned about each other. We really quickly were plunged into having to work as a team.”

After his experience with the program, he was elected to serve on the Missouri Realtors board for a two-year term.

“I think a lot of what Leadership Academy does is help you define what kind of leader you are and how to effectively lead people,” Gaisford said. “I see myself as more the leader that leads by empowering other people; going through the academy has helped me shape that.”

The 2018 group will graduate Dec. 7 and present its class project, a video series.

Burdette-Van Camp said she’s most looking forward to determining her class’ group project. After Leadership Academy, she hopes she can get involved at the state and national association levels. She’s already gotten plugged in locally, as she’ll serve next year as the president-elect for the GSBOR’s women’s council.

Her ultimate goal is to help grow the state’s real estate market and promote the benefits of the community on the national stage.

“I really want to see us be able to tell people about the state of Missouri and how great it is to live here and bring more people to our communities,” she said.

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