James S. Lee, CRE – 2016 Chair
Back in the day, I was a distance runner, and in track, my main event was the mile. Four laps. The most challenging and always the slowest lap was the third one. Fatigue sets in. Your mental game might lag a bit and you cannot yet see the finish line. Well, we just finished that third lap of our administration and I am happy to say we were able to keep the pace and set ourselves up well for the bell lap.
One of the things that I have really enjoyed this year has been getting around to a number of chapters to make new acquaintances, renew existing ones, bring them up to speed on our strategic plan implementation and, most importantly, listen. The feedback is crucial to making adjustments. Most recently I have been able to visit the Minnesota and Dallas/Fort Worth chapters. They were gracious hosts and we were able to accomplish all of the above.
We were able to promote the CRE brand internally through our participation at the National NAR Conference and externally when I presented the new 2016-2017 Top Ten Issues Affecting Real Estate at the National Association of Real Estate Editors (NAREE) Conference. This included numerous interviews arranged deftly by Alice Muncaster. The press we received from this was immediate and tremendous. So immediate, in fact, that reporters were tweeting the story out as I was speaking. (Whatever that means!) A number of CREs have already used our Top Ten PR template as a more personal promotional tool and I would encourage anyone else that would like to use it to contact Alice at the CRE office.
The highlight of this lap was the CRE Berlin International Conference in June. Our international conferences are so enlightening, and especially so for those of us in the States because we really do not get much of a world perspective from our news/entertainment media. The host team did a great job in putting together the program, not only the educational sessions, but also the receptions and activities. Our organization is very unique in providing robust spouse programs, and this contributes to the “Counselor Culture.” One of our focuses is on diversification, which means that we are trying to make these programs appealing to the spouses of both male and female members. In this case, that meant participation in a bus and walking tour of the “Challenging Architectural and Urban Developments of Berlin,” a beautiful reception at the Summer Gardens of the Westin Grand Berlin, a bus tour of the historical highlights of Berlin and a 3+ hour dinner cruise on the Spree River.
The program featured presentations and discussions on challenges Europe is facing relative to investment, financial markets and urban projects among others. All of this immediately preceded the Brexit vote, so there were many what-ifs. The most stimulating and lively conversation of all centered around the issue of migration, with panelists from France, Turkey, Greece and Austria. Attendees thought this was such an important topic that we are including it in our upcoming annual meeting in D.C. as well as expanding on it to include the repercussions following the Brexit vote with a focus on the impact on real estate in the United States (commentary by Moody’s Chief Economist, Mark Zandi) as well as Europe.
So we are heading into our final lap and it will be sprint to the finish. Several of us will be attending and presenting at MIPIM Japan in early September as we promote the CRE brand in the Asian and Asia-Pacific areas with hopes of expanding our membership there to mirror our successes in Europe. Now the finish line is in sight and it is called the 2016 Annual Convention in Washington, D.C. Late September, right before the election, in D.C. – do you think we can come up with anything to talk about?! For the answer, take a look at the Schedule of Events on our brand new web site (thanks Christy et al.!) and I think you will be impressed. Hopefully enough so to join us.
I look forward to seeing you in D.C. It’s going to be yuge!