Texas REALTORS® celebrated 100 years of progress and professionalism, engaged in forums on a variety of topics, heard from top-notch speakers in the industry and government, and attended continuing education courses—all in a format unlike any conference of the past.
Members took part in lively and engaging festivities and meetings via computer screens across Texas and from six continents after the coronavirus pandemic shuttered a planned San Antonio event.
A record-breaking 4,200-plus Texas REALTORS® participated in the 33-session conference.
“We are the proud result of our founders’ vision of thousands of dedicated professionals working as one to protect Texas consumers and preserve real estate markets,” said 2020 Chairman Cindi Bulla.
2014 Texas REALTORS® Chairman Dan Hatfield swore in Marvin Jolly to be the association’s 2021 chairman. Russell Berry will be 2021 chairman-elect and Marcus Phipps will be 2021 secretary/treasurer. New regional vice presidents were also sworn in. In his acceptance speech, Jolly listed all the ways in which Texas REALTORS® are united around shared goals and values.
“Texas REALTORS® are together even when at first we don’t agree,” Jolly said. “We are together even when we have opposing views of a situation. … Texas REALTORS® are together not by default; we’re together by design and by choice.”
The Board of Directors approved the $5 annual Legal Fund assessment and $30 annual Issues Mobilization/Political Advocacy Fund assessment for the 2021 budget. The association’s annual member dues, not including assessments, stayed at $117.
Leslie Rouda Smith, 2016 Texas REALTORS® chairman and NAR 2020 first vice president, and Charlie Oppler, 2020 NAR president-elect, gave updates on NAR’s advocacy during the pandemic and new priorities, including nationwide remote notarization and liability protections for businesses.
TREC Chairman Scott Kesner reported that TREC oversees 208,000 licensees, an all-time high number, and that 85% are members of the REALTOR® organization.Members met in caucuses to discuss policy updates and business for each of the association’s 16 regions.
Unity and Politics
Unity was a major theme of the #ShapingTexas Conference. In his opening keynote, former U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy talked about how his friendship with U.S. Sen. Tim Scott led to them co-writing a book about unity. He and Scott were both Republicans from South Carolina but had different outlooks on life, experiences, and family backgrounds.
Gowdy challenged REALTORS® to seek out friendships with people who have different beliefs or life experiences. Doing so introduces new points of view and helps foster healthy dialogue instead of conflict.
The Politics, Policy, and a Pandemic session provided a deep-dive discussion into the state’s future. Political reporters from The Texas Tribune discussed complexities surrounding the November election. Rep. Joe Moody, who serves as speaker pro tem of the Texas House of Representatives, offered his insight into the 2021 legislative session.
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn shared an update on important federal legislation. “Thank you for fighting tooth and nail for the real estate industry in our state,” he said.
History and Diversity
The centennial celebration featured musical performances from REALTORS®, a short film about the association’s history, and profiles of Acts of Kindness award winners, honored for making outstanding contributions in their communities.
Continuing Education credits were available for courses covering fair housing, diversity, the Code of Ethics, and contracts.
The association’s Diversity Committee sponsored Let’s Talk About Race: How to Have Uncomfortable Conversations for Personal and Professional Development. Panel members discussed how historical discrimination has shaped cities and generational wealth, how prejudice continues to affect real estate, and what associations can do to foster diversity within their own ranks.
The association joined forces with AMPI, NAR’s bilateral partner in Mexico, to present a session entirely in Spanish. The session offered advice and tools to succeed in the American and Mexican real estate markets.
The Board of Directors heard an update on translating contracts, contract addenda, and legal notices into Vietnamese, the third most spoken language in Texas behind English and Spanish.
Community and the Future
The conference was a chance for the REALTOR® community to connect and network virtually. The Diversity and Young Professionals Network committees hosted a REALTORS® Night In networking event that featured a mixologist, live music, and magic. The 2020 REALTORS® to Watch Honorees were also announced at the event.
During the TREPAC Lone Starry Night event, REALTORS® enjoyed a night of laughs with comedian Sinbad while raising funds through the largest-ever online auction benefiting TREPAC.
Jim Gaines, chief economist at the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, offered a detailed overview of the Texas economy in the first half of 2020 and predictions through the first quarter of 2021.
The sessions Walking the Tightrope in Turbulent Times and Real Estate Success in a Virtual Environment spoke to today’s pressing issues. Panel members discussed updating social media policies, strategies for producing better video tours, and coronavirus safety protocols.
The Texas REALTORS® Public Policy Oversight Committee hosted state lawmakers Rep. Sarah Davis, Rep. Mary González, and Rep. James White to discuss priority issues for the 87th legislative session in 2021.
REALTOR® Pat Strong was honored with the 2020 Distinguished Service Award. Texas REALTORS® President and CEO Travis Kessler recognized Jason Sanchez, CEO of the El Paso Board of REALTORS®, for earning the REALTOR® Association Certified Executive designation.
Closing keynote speaker Stefan Swanepoel listed seven trends that will shape the real estate market in the months and years to come. He said the digitization of the homebuying process, video conferencing, and technology itself will continue to affect the industry and that these trends that were already in place are just being sped up by the pandemic.
In the closing message of the conference, Gov. Greg Abbott congratulated Texas REALTORS® on its centennial anniversary and for advocating for private property rights in the state.
“Your industry will be vital as Texas recovers from this pandemic and revitalizes our tremendous economy,” he said.
Chairman Bulla also wrapped up the conference with a message for a strong future: “For the last 100 years, despite our countless differences, we have managed to build a Texas REALTORS® legacy by speaking with one voice,” Bulla said. “One day, another generation will celebrate the Texas REALTORS® bicentennial. Can you imagine all they will have to talk about from 2020?”
You can watch many of this year’s sessions on demand at texasrealestate.com/conference.
Honoring Acts of Kindness
During its centennial festivities, Texas REALTORS® celebrated members who have gone the extra mile in their communities. The Acts of Kindness Award honors individuals, brokerages, and associations that are helping others and leading by example.
“These stories are inspiring, and they serve as a good reminder to all of us that REALTORS® make a difference,” 2020 Chairman Cindi Bulla said. “Many thanks to all of those who shared their stories with us through this year’s Acts of Kindness recognition initiative.”
- Ace Tejada, Houston
- Amanda Lehman, Houston
- Andra Beatty, Greater Fort Worth
- Andrea Wollenzin, San Antonio
- Angela Casiano, Laredo
- Ann Jones, San Antonio
- Annie Chen, Houston
- Ashley M. Collier, Uvalde
- Audra Smolinski, Greater Lewisville
- Bahman F. Davani, Collin County
- Bailey Funke, Collin County
- Becky Vardeman-Murphy, Waco
- Bet Jennings, Houston
- Beth Lovell, Houston
- Bob McCranie, Collin County
- Cameron Mai, North Texas Commercial
- Candace Cooke, Williamson County
- Cathy Heshmat, San Antonio
- Celine Crestin, Austin
- Chrissy Mallouf, Greater Denton/Wise County
- Christie Rhine, Greater Denton/Wise County
- Christina Boston, Houston
- Christine Morse, San Antonio
- Christopher Jacobs, San Antonio
- Christy Gessler, Williamson County
- Coco Fontao, MetroTex
- Cord Shiflet, Austin
- Corey Guerrero, Houston
- Cyndi Cummings, Austin
- Cyndi De Palermo, Houston
- Cynthia Lott, Collin County
- Dan Goon, Houston
- David Alan Cox, Collin County
- David Atkins, Houston
- David Cruz, San Antonio
- David L. Cook, Williamson County
- Dianne Field, Austin
- Diane Seal, Longview Area
- Douglas Van Nortwick, Greater El Paso
- Eddie Elaine Sacks, MetroTex
- Elaine Byrne, Williamson County
- Elizabeth O’Conor, Laredo
- Emily Dieckmann, Austin
- Emily Huynh, Collin County
- Felipe Cobarruvias, San Antonio
- Frances Frost, Amarillo
- Greg Jones, San Antonio
- Heather Lange, Beaumont
- Inga Gonzalez, Greater Lewisville
- Ishmael Omondi, MetroTex
- Jamar Johnson, Collin County
- Jami Mumley, Collin County
- Jamuna Thill, Collin County
- Jan Poscovsky, Houston
- Jean Shine, Fort Hood Area
- Jeannette Spinelli, Austin
- Jennifer Knott, Greater Texoma
- Jenny Mangrum, Four Rivers
- Jerry Winnett, Austin
- Johnny Mowad, MetroTex
- Jonathan Coffey, MetroTex
- Juan Zane Crawford, Houston
- Judith Rivers, San Antonio
- Julie Alexander, San Antonio
- Julie Yau Tam, Houston
- Karen Cuskey-Hartman, MetroTex
- Karen Lairsen Jones, San Antonio
- Kathleen Wheeler, Greater Fort Worth
- Kavitha Baratakke, Austin
- Kevin Phelps, Austin
- Kimberly Johnson, South Central
- Kimberly Vo, Arlington
- Kristi Fox Satsky, Bryan College Station
- Kyla Dieterich, Waco
- LaConda Davies McDonald, MetroTex
- Larry W. Brooks, Houston
- Laura Hayes, Collin County
- Laura Lyons Sales, Permian Basin
- Laurie Lujan, Houston
- Leonard Seiple, Greater Lewisville
- Lillianne Garcia, MetroTex
- Linda Niehuus, South Central
- Linda Sykes, Austin
- Lisa Elbjorn, Greater El Paso
- Liz Carla, Collin County
- Lorrie Westberry Kennedy, Williamson County
- Mary Leidy, Collin County
- Megan Jarrard Bradshaw, Austin
- Michael DeLuna, Beaumont
- Michael Wong, Houston
- Missy Barry, MetroTex
- Myssie Cardenas Barajas, Greater McAllen
- Nancy Highers, Collin County
- Neera Truong, MetroTex
- Nicole Lopez, Houston
- Nika Arastoupour, MetroTex
- Nikki Watson, MetroTex
- Patricia Meadows, Waco
- Patrick Abell, MetroTex
- Rahul Luthra, MetroTex
- Rebecca Byers, San Antonio
- Ro Williams, Houston
- Robert Blaase, Henderson County
- Ryan Jockers, Houston
- Sarah Faynan, Abilene
- Scott Vann, Houston
- Shannon Gladen, Greater Texoma
- Shelby Kimball, Greater Fort Worth
- Soozi Finkelstein, Collin County
- Stephen Lester, Collin County
- Susanne Marco, San Antonio
- Tammy Regian, Waco
- Terry Cox, Corpus Christi
- Tia Brooks, Houston
- Tiffany Russell, Austin
- Tom Schwenk, Galveston
- Troy Giles, South Padre Island
- Veronica Alonzo, Greater McAllen
- Veronica Barefield, Houston
- Vivian Vance, MetroTex
- Zac Barger, Austin
- CB&A, REALTORS®, Houston
- CENTURY 21 Judge Fite Company, Greater Denton/Wise County
- City Group Properties, Houston
- Coldwell Banker D’Ann Harper REALTORS®, San Antonio
- Damron Group REALTORS®, Four Rivers
- Dave Perry-Miller InTown Office, MetroTex
- Engel & Völkers Dallas and Fort Worth, MetroTex and Fort Worth
- Fox Realty, Austin
- Golden Real Estate, Greater El Paso
- House Hunters NB Realty, Four Rivers
- Insight Realty Network, MetroTex
- Keller Williams Advantage, Waco
- Keller Williams Realty Midland, Permian Basin
- Loves Realty, Greater Lewisville
- Motif Boutique Brokerage, San Antonio
- Murphy Team, Coldwell Banker D’Ann Harper, REALTORS®, San Antonio
- Real Property Management One Source, Collin County
- Realty Austin, Austin
- RE/MAX Trinity, Greater Fort Worth
- Sage Street Realty, Collin County
- Schmitz and Smith Group, KW – Austin Portfolio Real Estate, Austin
- Team Ensinia, Arlington
- Texas Best Properties, MetroTex
- The Real Estate Gals, Dumas
- ThisIsLivin Properties, Houston
- Todd Tramonte Home Selling Team,Market Experts Realty, MetroTex
- Vivian Real Estate Group, MetroTex
- Collin County
- Greater Lewisville
- Greater McAllen
The recipient list and several videos can be found at texasrealestate.com/100