Texas REALTORS® this week celebrated 100 years of progress, advocacy, and professionalism at the #ShapingTexas Conference. The association delivered lively festivities and engaging meetings to attendees via video conference after the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered the planned San Antonio celebration. A record-breaking 4,200-plus attendees registered to participate in the 33-session conference.
During the Chairman’s Installation, 2014 Texas REALTORS® Chairman Dan Hatfield swore in Marvin Jolly as the association’s 2021 chairman. Russell Berry took his oath as the 2021 chairman-elect, as did Marcus Phipps as 2021 secretary/treasurer. The 2021 regional vice presidents were also sworn in.
The Board of Directors approved a $5 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.
Unity was a major theme of the #ShapingTexas Conference. In his opening keynote, former U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy challenged REALTORS® to seek 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.
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.
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.
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.
CE credit was 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 historic 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.
Even in a virtual format, the conference was still a chance for the REALTOR® community to connect. The Diversity and Young Professionals Network committees hosted a REALTORS® Night In networking event on Facebook Live. And 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.
In his remarks, Gov. Greg Abbott congratulated Texas REALTORS® on its centennial 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.
Closing keynote speaker Stefan Swanepoel said the digitization of the homebuying process, video conferencing, and technology itself will continue to affect the real estate industry and that these trends that were already in place were just being sped up by the pandemic.
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.
“For the last 100 years, despite our countless differences, we have managed to build a Texas REALTORS® legacy by speaking with one voice,” said 2020 Chairman Cindi Bulla. “One day, another generation will celebrate the Texas REALTORS® bicentennial. Can you imagine all they will have to talk about from 2020?”