President Miriam Baer
[The following is the excerpted text of 2017 ARELLO® President Miriam Baer’s inaugural address delivered during the 2016 Annual Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia.]
“Hello, ARELLO members and friends. I am honored to serve as your president, and I am grateful for all the support you have given me.
I congratulate and thank all of the leaders who have agreed to serve as members of the Executive Committee, the Board of Directors, as Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs, and as Committee members. In doing so, you have agreed to step up and take on additional projects, conference calls, and plain old hard work, in order to keep ARELLO a meaningful and necessary resource to real estate regulators around the world. And while I know that you do it as a labor of love, your work deserves our collective gratitude. So I thank you for volunteering your time, ideas, and energy to the important work that we do here.
I could not take on my role as president without the unwavering support of my North Carolina Commission members and staff. I am fortunate to work both for and with such an extraordinary group of people, all of whom are committed to making our Commission and our industry better. They have individually and collectively supported me, advised me, and allowed me to find my way both at the Real Estate Commission and at ARELLO.
I serve as president at a time of stability in ARELLO’s history. Our financial footing is solid, Susan Gilpin and her excellent staff are steady at the helm, and our membership is stable. But it’s also a time of great change in our industry. Technology is impacting everything we do, the old business models are under attack, and the future remains unclear. We are entering into the era of a sharing economy. Peer-to-peer businesses are taking ever-larger shares of their respective markets and challenging existing business models, including real estate. Everyone still wants a piece of the real estate pie, but not necessarily through the traditional channels of licensing. As we consider how to respond to the new questions about our authority to regulate in the Internet age, our education content in light of changes in our jurisdictions’ laws, and which technology to adopt to best handle our responsibilities while observing fiscal conservatism, our salvation can come from and through ARELLO. While we have our differences, we will be united in our common interests in figuring out how best to handle the new world reality of real estate brokerage.
I know that like all organizations, ARELLO can be frustrating from time to time. We have our differences. We occasionally offend someone without meaning to. We have our old friends who are so dear to us that we sometimes forget to look for new friends. But in that last bit, there is a lesson. We have each other. And what more valuable a resource could there be than that?
If you have been a part of ARELLO for any length of time, then you have seen what can be gained by coming to a conference, posting a question on a listserv, or finding the right resource on the ARELLO website. And you have seen what can be gained by involving all members, both new and old, in the conversation. If you are a new member, and you’re feeling a bit like a wallflower, I ask you not to wait to be asked to dance. Just jump in. Show us your moves! Come to the conferences. Join a roundtable and participate. Sit in on Committees and see which ones speak to you. Then sign up and help out.
I can testify that my ARELLO experience entirely changed when I started going to lots of different Committee meetings, asking questions, and participating in the conversation. I made new friends. I had good arguments with people who disagreed with me. Sometimes, I even changed my perspective. Other times, I changed theirs, or I didn’t, and we agreed to disagree. And I became one of the crowd that collectively is ARELLO.
So where is ARELLO going this year? As always, there are the Mid-Year and Annual Conferences to plan. There’s a new Leadership Program being vetted that will prepare members to not only participate, but also to lead in ARELLO. There is ongoing Committee work to make sure that ARELLO programs remain useful to you as members.
There is also work to be done in looking at what new services ARELLO can provide. How can we harness technology to allow members on limited or zero dollar travel budgets to participate in our meetings remotely? How can we increase license portability across jurisdictional borders? How can we broaden ARELLO’s reach to include more strategic partnerships?
I look forward to working with each of you to assess these and other ideas, to foster new ideas, make the good ideas great, and make the great ideas a reality. As your 2017 President, I will do my best to do my homework, to be open-minded, and to work with everyone to achieve what is best for ARELLO and its members.”