This time last year I was preparing for my term as President of SMAR. Now, a year later I am ready to turn over the gavel to a new President and remain on the Board of Directors as Past President.
When I accepted the role of President, I had an agenda to update the organization platform, improve communications, reconnect the membership and provide vision for the future of SMAR. That was quite a large undertaking, but I was committed to making those improvements. Through our newly hired CEO-Richard (RJ) Marshall in cooperation with the Board of Directors, staff and Committee leaders we embarked on an aggressive campaign to accomplish the vision I had in mind.
Let me share with you some of our accomplishments this year:
- Broker outreach to our small, medium and large Brokers has been ongoing all year
- Association governance documents were updated, including formalizing our Policies and Procedures
- Completed long overdue building maintenance needs, including new street signage, walkway repairs, new flooring, interior painting and cleaning, storm water pond maintenance, window repair plus classroom and kitchen improvements
- Implemented a texting service for members to receive updates and important event reminders
- Implemented electronic voting for the 2019-2020 election of Officers & Directors
- Enhanced our Affiliate membership program- including hosting our first Affiliate Appreciation event. We now have over 120 Affiliate members and a directory on our SMAR web page.
- Improved the Annual Awards Banquet, with over 500 people attending this year.
- Hosted a strategic planning session in August that was expanded to include Brokers, Affiliates, SMAR staff, BOD members and Committee leaders. With their input we have planned for innovation, growth and competitive advantages to help our Association provide services for our membership
- Our legislative committee in conjunction with our Government Affairs Director worked very hard reviewing state and local legislative bills. Calls to action, attendance at hearings and continual engagement with our government officials proved to be effective, and we remain steady in our mission to promote and protect both property rights and our real estate business.
- Supported many charitable causes, including Christmas in April, Bras and Drawers for the Cause, Secret Santa, Food Drives and hosted a 2019 Essay & Fair Housing Art contest reception
As the SMAR President, I traveled to local, State and National meetings which afforded me the opportunity to exchange information and learn about the challenges and threats to our real estate industry. I was amazed and humbled by the many volunteer REALTOR® members at the local, State and National levels who devote their time and efforts to preserve and improve our freedom as independent contractors. I am truly in awe of their endless efforts to protect our industry. It also was clear during my travels that SMAR seemed more advanced compared to other Associations of our size. We are fortunate that our past presidents laid a solid foundation for our future. I am confident our accomplishments this past year will afford future leaders to implement our new strategic plan and focus our resources and energy for more improvements next year.
A special congratulations to Kevin Turner for receiving the “Maryland Realtor® President’s Award for Outstanding Service and Dedication”. Well-deserved my friend. As you can see it’s been a busy year. Many thanks to all SMAR volunteers and staff, especially Richard Marshall for his guidance and leadership as CEO.
It’s been wild and rewarding journey! Thank you all!