The Twin Cities Women’s Council of REALTORS

Women's Council of REALTORS

Real Estate Agent Magazine was able to sit down with Tasha Soundara, the president of the Twin Cities Chapter of the Women’s Council of REALTORS to discuss the association’s past and her plans for the coming year.

REAM: How long ago was your association founded?
Soundara: The national Women’s Council of REALTORS was founded in 1938. The Twin Cities chapter was formed in 1992. Currently, we have around 11,000 members and 238 chapters nationwide.

REAM: What is the association’s main focus in the coming year?
Soundara: My main focus for this year will be developing a clear and unified image of the chapter, and continuing to provide members with networking opportunities and professional courses.

REAM: How would you encourage a young real estate agent to become involved in their local community?
Soundara: I would encourage young real estate agents to find what they are passionate about and find organizations that share the same mission and philosophy. Look for events and simply show up to start getting involved. You will find that your skills and experience are needed in any organization so don’t be afraid of not knowing how you can get involved.

REAM: How frequently does the association offer CE events? How much do they cost?
Soundara: We offer CE events occasionally throughout the year. We either host the CE events ourselves or partner up with other organizations to promote them. We may not charge anything or will have minimal cost for our members.

REAM: What are some exciting events coming up?
Soundara: We typically have an event every month. For upcoming events, you can check our website for the latest information.

REAM: What kind of changes are in store for the association over the next few years?
Soundara: There are two initiatives that I want the chapter to focus on for the next few years. Firstly, to provide a structure to the chapter so we can support our future growth. What I mean by structure is implementing systems. Even though we are a nonprofit, I think it’s important to run our association like a business with plans and strategies.

My second initiative is to strengthen the partnerships we have with other organizations. We’ve collaborated in the past with CRS, YoPro, YPN and MAAR as well as organizations outside the real estate industry such as The Limited and Timberwolves/Lynx.

REAM: How is the association involved in the local community? Any nonprofit or pro bono work?
Soundara: We are big supporters of the Dress for Success organization. We have done fundraisers events to collect professional attire and monies for the organization in the past.

Recently, we collaborated with Spare Keys to raise money and awareness for their organization. We tied the fundraiser to our Builder, Designer and Contractor Showcase and hosted it at Julian Design. The event was a success. It drew a variety of individuals through the doors from agents and affiliates to the general public.

REAM: If someone wanted to move into a leadership role, what is your first word of advice?
Soundara: Showing up is really the first step and having a positive attitude. I think people naturally want to be around others who are positive and want to contribute. I know when I’m looking for future leaders for this chapter, I’m looking for someone who participates and has that positive attitude. I don’t think leaders are born, I think they are cultivated. I remember just showing up to my first meeting with no intentions of one day leading this chapter. But the president at that time reached out to me and gave me not only the opportunity to contribute to the chapter but the confidence to one day lead.

REAM: What are some challenges young REALTORS face and how do you address those concerns?
Soundara: I think young agents may not be prepared for how uncertain their income and schedule can be. On the other hand, the great part of this industry is that you can make a great living and have the flexibility to control your schedule. The challenge is being disciplined and committed to a business plan.

We have offered business planning classes and top producer events in the past to provide tools and knowledge in order for agents to be better prepared for their career.

Also, the other challenge is the young agents come in believing that technology is the only way to grow their business. This industry is now more in the digital and social age, but there are still core people skills that are needed. We continually offer networking events that bring in a mix of young and experienced agents. I think this interaction is great because young agents are able to have a network of experienced colleagues they can connect with and learn from.

REAM: What is the main mission of your association?
Soundara: The National Women’s Council of REALTORS has stayed true to its mission of being a network of successful REALTORS empowering women to exercise their potential as entrepreneurs and industry leaders. The local Twin Cities Chapter continues to foster this mission through its diverse membership including women and men for all facets of the real estate industry including REALTORS, mortgage experts, title specialists and others. The local chapter works to promote the ideas of the Women’s Council of REALTORS, building a network and referral based business, through a series of networking and informational events.

REAM: As you look back at your association’s history, what role do you think it has played in the community? Do you think that will change in the future?
Soundara: I think the role that we have played has always been to empower women to be strong business leaders. I think real estate for women in the past was viewed as a side hobby, but our organization showcases the strength of women in the industry. Through our work we can promote the image of the successful female entrepreneur within the community.

REAM: What were you most proud of accomplishing this year?
Soundara: Every year, we host a holiday gala. This event serves two purposes, to install the new board and to raise money for the chapter. On Dec. 12, we held our gala at the Target Center. This year was extra special as we welcomed keynote speaker, Timberwolves- Lynx president Christopher Wright.

This event came together when WCR was invited to attend the Lynx Executive Luncheon earlier this year. We have since become a supporter of the Lynx organization. The timing couldn’t be better.

Our organization, founded on the principal of the empowerment of women, and the Lynx growing women’s basketball was an opportunity that we could not let pass. We look forward to building on this momentum for 2015!