Peeking Behind the Curtain

I’m no stranger to real estate conferences, and not to NAR conferences, either. As a REALTOR®, I attended many. Sometimes, I was a face in the audience, soaking up knowledge. Other times, I sat in committee meetings. And sometimes, I spoke from the stage. This week, I am not attending as a REALTOR® or committee member. I’m here in Orlando as staff. So for the first time, I’m at a conference where I’m here to be of service to the attendees.

Today, quite a few people asked me what the difference is between attending as a member and attending as staff. Outside of the large NAR badge I wore today, the differences don’t really show. It’s still awesome to sit in on a discussion and hear people share insights from their business experience. It’s great to hug folks from all over the country that I only get to see at conferences like this. And feeling the energy that all of the attendees bring to a venue like this never gets old. So from that standpoint, being staff or being a member isn’t too different.

However, I can tell you that I’m viewing this conference through different eyes. I was in the Chicago office with two weeks to go, and the DC office last week. I watched staff members across all departments working hard to get everything ready; packing trunks to ship with printed materials, finalizing schedules, and handling the millions of tiny details that have to be taken care of to make a conference of this magnitude run smoothly. When I walked through the conference center this morning, I could see those details in action, from the directional banners to the coffee stations, to the nice folks in green coats directing members to where they were heading.

As a member, I took all of that for granted. I thought I understood how association staff worked, but I really had no concept of how many people, how many moving parts there really are to the National Association of REALTORS®. Nor did I get how dedicated all of those hardworking people are to the concept of ‘for the members’. Everything is carried out with the membership in mind, first. The sheer scope of this event is testament to that. I’m proud to be a part of it, and I’m looking forward to seeing what the rest of this conference brings.

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