An Inspiring Opening Session
Three-time Super Bowl champion Darren Woodson headlined the conference Opening Session. The former Dallas Cowboy, who founded commercial real estate firm ESRP Advisory in 2017, told the audience that the key to success—whether in real estate or sports—is to have a process and be prepared. “We were champions not because we set high goals,” Woodson said. “We were champions because our team had a process. We followed that process and were the best prepared team in the NFL.”
A Night Out and REALTORS® to Watch
Hundreds of REALTORS® gathered at The Ostreum for the Texas REALTORS® Night Out, enjoying drinks, food, and networking. A highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Texas YPN REALTORS® to Watch awards to Lauren Ashley (Houston), Alicia Jammer (Houston), Kelly Vullo Raulston (Greater Tyler), Tory Ramirez (Houston), and Jordan Rosen (MetroTex).
Where Innovation Lives
The Texas REALTORS®/REACH Labs Innovation Showcase debuted at this year’s conference, the first REACH Labs state-level event in the country. Four companies, which have participated in local REACH Labs competitions, pitched their products before a panel of judges, “Shark Tank”-style. Honeyydo, Shaker, TourZazz, and Zyyah presented, with Honeyydo getting the most audience votes.
Celebrating the Association’s Leaders
A packed ballroom with a live marimba band set the scene for the Installation Gala, where 2020 Chairman Cindi Bulla installed the association’s regional vice presidents. NAR President Leslie Rouda Smith installed Jef Conn as the 2023 Texas REALTORS® secretary/treasurer and Marcus Phipps as chairman. Phipps thanked family, friends, and mentors, and he spoke of the importance of authenticity in all that we do. Phipps also recognized 2022 Chairman Russell Berry and 2021 Chairman Marvin Jolly, who did not have in-person installations due to the pandemic.
The following regional vice presidents were installed for terms starting in 2023:
- Region 2: Max Puello, San Angelo
- Region 3: Brenda Taylor, Greater Lewisville
- Region 4: Amanda Phillips, Greater Texoma
- Region 5: Debbie Conner, Longview Area
- Region 6: Skeet Doss, Permian Basin
- Region 7: Emaly Baehr, Central Hill Country
- Region 8: Sonya Powers, Highland Lakes
- Region 9: Angie Williams, Lufkin
- Region 11: Shari Kirk, Corpus Christi
- Region 12 (MetroTex): James Martin, Adrainne Prince, Sid Thom, Jeff Varnell
- Region 13 (San Antonio): Cortney Gill
- Region 14 (Houston): Jo Ann Stevens, Jemila Winsey, Mike Wong
- Region 15 (Austin): Job Hammond
Elections and the Texas Legislature
“What’s Next in Texas Politics and Policy?” featured a live taping of The Latino Vote podcast, hosted by former Texas House member Jason Villalba. Journalists and political analysts discussed the upcoming November elections and the influence of the state’s Latino voters on anticipated results. The taping was followed by a panel of Texas legislators who discussed the upcoming legislative session that begins in January. Mario Arriaga, Chairman of the Public Policy Oversight Committee, led the discussion and asked questions about the potential for property tax reform, HOA oversight, improved water infrastructure, and other REALTOR® policy priorities.
Also, the Public Policy Oversight Committee approved the association’s policy priorities for the upcoming session during the conference. The full list will be published before session convenes January 10.
During a meeting of the Political Involvement Committee, Texas REALTORS® announced the launch of updated voting information at texasrealtorssupport.com, where you can plug in your address to see a customized voter guide with TREPAC-supported candidates on your ballot. The website includes a Hot List of the most competitive races in the state.
A TREPAC fundraiser at Billy Bob’s raised over $100,000 for the PAC.
Education, Education, and Education
There was no shortage of education available at conference, with attendees packing room after room, including sessions on the following topics:
- The interaction of population growth, economic power, business leadership, and commercial real estate
- What you should know about affordable housing programs to help clients
- How to leverage financing knowledge to win clients
- Why defining your “why” will make you more successful
- How to avoid risk in leasing and property management activities
- Strategies to handle common contract scenarios
- The ins and outs of water rights.
In total, attendees earned more than 3,500 hours of CE credit during conference.
REALTOR® of the Year
Kaki Lybbert was honored at the Board of Directors meeting as the 2021 REALTOR® of the Year, the top honor from the association bestowed upon a member for decades of service to the REALTOR® association. Lybbert served as chairman for Texas REALTORS® in 2018 and was TREPAC chairman in 2005. Lybbert has served on numerous statewide committees, including Member Benefits, Public Policy, Legislative Management Team, and Budget & Finance. She was president of the Denton/Wise County Association of REALTORS® in 2003-2004 and is the current NAR vice president of advocacy.
With 28 years in the industry, Lybbert is often asked how she does it all. “There is always a way to do it,” she says. “Every problem has a solution.”
In fact, Lybbert loves a challenge. “I never say I have too much on my plate or can’t do something,” Lybbert says. “That’s because I learn the most when I step into a position that I am unfamiliar with, and it has to be a quick learn.”
When she was asked to join a hospital’s governing board not because of her knowledge of hospitals but of people, she took it on with a positive attitude, “I can do that; I can figure it out.”
Lybbert admitted she was surprised when she heard her name called as the winner. “I am proud to join the club with the past REALTOR® of the Year award winners,” Lybbert said. “They are the ones I reach out to when I have questions. They are my mentors and I value their advice.”
Executive Board Approves Diversity Initiative
The Texas REALTORS® Executive Board approved a motion to institute the Texas REALTORS® DEI Recognition Program. This locally focused program, created by the Texas REALTORS® Diversity Committee, aims to expand the diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) landscape and develop a strategic roadmap to encourage and recognize local boards that strive to foster a more inclusive and equitable industry. Stay tuned for more information as the Diversity Committee works on the program’s development and deployment.
Regional Meetings and Trade Expo
Members discussed current topics at regional meetings on the third morning of the conference, followed by a Trade Expo featuring more than 100 vendors, giveaways, and games.
Board of Directors Meeting
Kay Sutton of Midland was presented with the association’s Distinguished Service Award honoring a career of service to the industry and her community. Roxie Glenn, Director of Professional Development at the MetroTex Association of REALTORS®, was recognized for earning the Certified Association Executive designation. The directors also congratulated Pete Craig on his upcoming retirement after 16 years as the association’s East Texas field representative.
The Board of Directors also heard from NAR President Leslie Rouda Smith about important initiatives at the national level, and REALTORS® Relief Foundation President Mike Ford gave a presentation about the foundation’s history and future goals.
In addition to hearing reports from all of the association’s committees, directors approved the Texas REALTORS® 2023-2024 Strategic Plan and voted to continue the $5 annual Legal Fund Assessment and the $30 annual Issues Mobilization/Political Advocacy Fund Assessment.