Greetings, fellow Texas REALTORS®!

This edition features a recap of our now famous Texas REALTORS® 2020 #ShapingTexas Conference. The member reviews were stellar, and we even received recognition by some high-profile NAR leaders.

Our tale of success and beginner’s luck includes countless staff and member heroes from all across Texas working almost around the clock. On June 24, five years of centennial planning was scrapped to switch to a virtual platform, leaving just a few short weeks to start over. Distancing, masking, and limited travel opportunities presented plenty of challenges, but two days before production deadline, we had a “good” conference experience almost ready for edits and assembly.

That’s when the magic began to happen. Fellow member Kristy Wages, from 2021 Chairman Marvin Jolly’s hometown of Palestine, called with an idea to create a surprise video tribute featuring Marvin’s mother. With little time left and no way to provide input, VP of Marketing and Communications Angela Brutsché took a leap of faith to include it in the program. Kristy delivered an unforgettable work of art that became a highlight of Marvin’s installation.

Those last-minute gems were added to an amazing array of fellow member contributors, engaging speakers, and special guests to take our first-ever virtual conference from good to great!

For the Centennial Celebration, we had four heart-stopping stories of member heroism as well as some magnificent member talent, including 2019 installation favorites Aaron Nelson, Ernesto Calderon, Jacky Howard, and Hector Guerra Jr. We also had a brilliant performance by Socar Chatmon-Thomas. What we did not have was the perfect ending to highlight the Acts of Kindness recognition. That all changed when I stumbled across the song “Rise Up.” The team agreed it was perfect, but what member could record and deliver that difficult song by the deadline? Fellow member Christi Borden assured us that Texas REALTOR® Jennifer Wauhob was capable if she would agree. I called Jennifer with an appeal not just to sing it but to get to a studio as fast as she could and hire an accompanist on the way! Not only did she say yes, she said she would just play the music herself. Keep in mind, we had not heard her singing voice. As fast as she could book the studio, Jennifer sent the audio that took our collective breath away. Perfection!

Those last-minute gems were added to an amazing array of fellow member contributors; engaging speakers, including keynote Trey Gowdy; and special guests, such as Gov. Greg Abbott, to take our first-ever virtual conference from good to great! 2021 Chairman Marvin Jolly tied it all together with his beautiful “Together” speech, punctuating our theme of how unity is not threatened but rather enhanced by our diversity. Simply put, the who, what, how, and why of the conference, the selfless efforts of so many, and indeed our entire first century can be stated in one word: members.