Association Profile Scottsdale Association of REALTORS®

Scottsdale Associaltion of Realtors

The leadership team at the Scottsdale Area Association of REALTORS has a diverse background in real estate, association administration, government and community affairs, and strategic communications. We sat down with CEO Rebecca Grossman, Assistant Executive Officer & Director of Education Laura Kovacs, and Director of Strategic Communications Lysa Fitzhugh to discuss the direction of the organization.

REAM: What is the goal of the association’s leadership in the coming year?

SAAR: Our mission is to be a valuable partner for real estate professionals and trusted stakeholder in our communities. We continually strive for this with various initiatives. Our new facility allows us to offer a unique professional environment providing the opportunity to host advanced industry education through Raise the Bar Real Estate School, and to showcase our organization as progressive and a hub for real estate and community activity through Venue 8600 – our meeting and conference center. We’ve also expanded our real estate school to offer prelicense and broker license courses. We connect with potential agents in the beginning and help them set a course for a successful career. When they come to us for their license, we feel we can truly “Raise the Bar” for future practitioners. We’ll also focus on enhancing professionalism amongst members in the coming years.

REAM: As members of the leadership, how do you hope to advance the mission of the association? What steps have you taken toward that end?

SAAR: The aforementioned mission is clear and distinct. To that end, we lay out a strategic plan to guide the direction of the mission as well as to support and advance the industry, specifically by steering multiple working committees (e.g., community, government affairs, professionalism) to fully support and lead local industry; by providing real estate education (e.g., pre-licensing, broker licensing, designations) to introduce people to new career paths as well as courses to advance their careers; and by choosing to engage in various community activities, which heightens the awareness about how real estate professionals are advocates for and activists in the community.

REAM: Tell us about some upcoming events the association has planned for members.

SAAR: Besides continuing to offer classes in real estate for new and returning students through Raise the Bar Real Estate School, we have multiple classes on the calendar where members can advance and expand their professional expertise. We also host various REALTOR Marketing Sessions (RMSs) throughout the Scottsdale area to help agents network and share their property listings. SAAR also conducts a yearly Leadership Academy and the newest class just began and runs through November. And with the holidays fast approaching, we host an annual holiday party, held on site at Venue 8600, our meeting and conference center.

REAM: Tell us about any current or planned partnerships with other local associations. How will these partnerships benefit members?

SAAR: We are currently working with our sister association – Southeast Valley Regional Association of REALTORS – to establish a stronger partnership featuring rentable space in our facilities. SEVRAR is building a new facility in the Gilbert area, and we are hoping to see a strong referral relationship supporting the needs of each area. When we have inquiries for space in the Southeast Valley, we can refer them there and they can refer to us for North Scottsdale needs. Additionally, associations in this region work closely together to support members and support each other’s programs. Many of our members belong to more than one association, so communication is key to success.

REAM: What benefits are there to agents who become actively involved in the association?

SAAR: There is a lot more to this industry than just listing and selling property. Involvement in the association is a learning experience that brings a member closer to the community and to understanding the industry as a whole. Joining a committee or becoming a board member brings volunteer experience and sharpens leadership skills. It also enhances knowledge in the areas of government affairs, public awareness, legal issues and real estate laws. It helps them develop awareness about changes and trends, and above all it’s a great relationship-building opportunity.

REAM: What advice do you have for a member looking to increase their involvement in the association? For a member hoping to join the leadership?

SAAR: We hear time and time again from members how being involved with SAAR has helped their business. They are more informed about their communities and the real estate industry and better connected, which helps them succeed. Entry point opportunities include our Leadership Academy. But with limited availability to the academy, another option is a committee or work group. Volunteering leads to many interesting ways to “plug in” to the Association. These opportunities help us identify future leaders and encourage them to advance in the organization. Another way is to seek higher education through our real estate school. Classes go beyond just getting the required credits and are targeted toward the career-minded real estate agent.

REAM: How would you describe the main goal of the association in your own words? Do you believe the association meets its mission? How can it continue to improve its reach?

SAAR: Our main goal is to support the members in their real estate business by offering the best tools we can through education, information and community outreach. We work hard every day to meet those needs and to stay in front of industry issues and trends, and to keep finding new ways to offer services and support. We will continue to reach out to our members and to the community to listen to what they need so that we can expand and strengthen capabilities as the industry and the area change.

REAM: As you look back on your association’s history what role do you believe it has played in the community? How do you hope to see that role develop in the future?

SAAR: The REALTOR Association is the only entity that looks out for property owners and their interests and protects the right to transfer property without barriers. We are the constant watchdog for buyers, sellers, renters and tenants. Without them our members cannot conduct business. We have a deep history of working with our community to make sure the economy stays strong. They are thoughtful about growth and the environment and Scottsdale remains a desirable area for people to live and work. And on important issues, we provide resources to the City of Scottsdale and we will always make ourselves available to work with the City and other community groups to continue to add value as community leaders.