MAAR Young Professionals Network Profile

Aubray Erhardt

An Interview with Aubray Erhardt 

REAM: How long ago was your young professionals network founded?
Erhardt: The Minneapolis Area Association of REALTORS (MAAR) young professionals network (Yo Pro) was established in 2009. It was originally organized as a task force but operated more like a networking group. To form the task force, the MAAR president appointed a chair and the staff liaison held a focus group to gather volunteers and get a feel for what the group wanted to do.

The year the network was established, most of the events were happy hours and lunch and learns. The board of directors supported the network and the events were all well attended. That same year, the network won the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) Young Professionals Network of the Year. The Yo Pros were honored at the NAR conference and expo held in San Diego.

The NAR young professionals network was launched by the REALTOR Magazine in 2006 as a way to help the younger generation of REALTORS build a stronger link with the magazine and the real estate industry. Through networking events, a lively blog, and an engaged national YPN advisory subcommittee, the program gives its members the tools they need to advance their careers — and have fun in the process. Many state and local REALTOR associations have started a young professionals network.

Locally, Yo Pro has become a launching pad for new leaders. The fun and friendly events attract newer agents. While the name indicates that they are focused on one age group, Yo Pro is more of an attitude. The group has held some community and education events but the majority of the events are networking.

Many of the early Yo Pro members have continued their volunteer work with the association and joined the MAAR, Minnesota Association of REALTORS and NAR committees. In fact, two of past Yo Pro chairs have become chairs of the NAR young professionals network.

REAM: What is the YPN’s main focus in the coming year?
Erhardt: YPN’s main focus this year is to engage new members with fun and relevant networking and education events, increase member involvement in MAAR programs, create opportunities for members to become leaders, engage the Minneapolis area community through joint events and outreach, explore how to maintain real estate as a life-long career, use groups to learn more about first time homebuyers and the millennial consumer and support a more enriched consumer experience.

In terms of education, YPN wants to establish valuable content to empower young professionals within the Minneapolis real estate community to establish and evolve their business. They will be hosting valueadded evening happy hours and morning coffee break events to foster collaborative relationships. The group will also organize opportunities to promote giving and volunteering. We want to bridge the gap between the neighborhoods we represent and the resources we have to make a difference. In doing so, we will forge positive and lasting relationships between industry professionals and the communities we live in and serve.

This year, we want to connect with more MAAR members to engage them in Yo Pro events and programming. We want to continue to build Yo Pro’s resources to elevate the mission of the organization.

REAM: How would you encourage a young real estate agent to become involved in their local community?
Erhardt: I would encourage them to reach out to the MAAR young professionals network staff liaison and ask about opportunities to get more involved with the association. I would also look into opportunities to volunteer in their local community by contacting local food shelves, churches, rotary clubs or housing organizations.

REAM: How frequently does the YPN offer CE events? How much do they cost?
Erhardt: Education is an important component to the network. Finding speakers to discuss relevant and timely topics in real estate is key. Recently, the Yo Pros held a lunch and learn on VR technology and 3D photography. The young professionals network offers classes like this every month. The classes are typically held at a restaurant or bar and a happy hour follows the CE program. The event registration fee is $10.

REAM: What are some exciting events coming up?
Erhardt: This year, we have an ambitious YPN chair, Corey Collins who gave the network a boost with his website design expertise, social networking skills and fun and exciting lineup of events. We kicked off the year at Cambria on 7th with an All Stars Panel. We’ve held a number of happy hours that include an hour of CE. We are excited about our upcoming Neighborhood Walking Tour May 28 held at the Lowry. In June, we’re having a boat cruise at Lake Minnetonka. In August, we are having a golf event and the annual 5K will be held Sept. 21 at Veterans Park in Richfield. For a full list of events please visit our website.

REAM: If someone wanted to move into a leadership role, what is your first word of advice?
Erhardt: Reach out to the staff liaisons for the committees at your local association. They will guide you on what steps to take and what applications to fill out to get involved!

REAM: What is the main mission of your network?
Erhardt: YPN helps young real estate professionals excel in their careers by giving them the tools and encouragement to become involved in four core areas: associations, the industry, with their peers and the community. YPN encourages members to attend REALTOR conferences and pursue leadership roles in their local, state and national associations. YPN provides the tools to play an active role in policy discussions and advocacy issues. Members will be informed about latest industry trends. Through YPN, members are able to learn from their peers by attending events, participating online and seeking mentorship opportunities. YPN also encourages members to become strong members of their community by volunteering for causes they feel passionate about and by demonstrating a high level of professionalism in their field.

If you would like more information on the MAAR YPN please contact Aubray Erhardt at aubraye@mplsrealtor.com or visit www.mplsrealtor.com/yo-pro.