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Connections and Conversations: #NARannual Recap 2013

I just got back from the National Association of REALTORS® Annual Convention – and what a whirlwind it was! It’s always fun to go to an event like the NAR event. With close to 20,000 attendees – there is always something to do.

The best part of any convention for me are the connections I make and the conversations that are had in the hallways. Here are a few of my highlights!

Thursday

Being that NAR Annual was in my backyard, I drove over to the city late afternoon. I live an hour or so away, but being a “suburb girl” I decided it would be much easier to just stay in the city then drive back and forth. So, I arrived and checked into our suite at the beautiful Marriott Marquis. I had the good fortune of sharing a suite with two dear friends – Kelly Mitchell and Carol Farrar – both are doing amazing things in the real estate space.

Thursday night I got the chance to watch Kelly do her thing as she did her live Agent Caffeine show from our suite – what a great show it was! It was fun to listen and live tweet along!

That evening we had a fabulous dinner with two amazing women – Valerie Garcia and Shelby Schneider – both from RE/MAX Ontario-Atlantic. If you aren’t following these two ladies in the social space – I highly recommend that you do!

Friday

On early Friday morning (with coffee in hand!), I was asked to speak to the NAR Social Media Advisory Board about the ‘state of social media’ in real estate alongside Laura Monroe from Inman News. It was an honor to be asked to speak to the group.

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A big ‘thank you’ to Vice-Chair Chris Nichols for extending the invitation. I have to say, it was really exciting to hear how committed NAR is to its members and to helping to educate members on the best practices of using social media in your business. It was exciting to hear about the new initiative – ‘The Power of R’ #PowerOfR and how Realtors will continue to have access to some great content that they can share with their social networks.

Special shout-out to Nobu Hata, Heather Elias, Brian Copeland, Dale Chumbley, Tamara Suminski who are doing some amazing things for the real estate community – especially when it comes to social media!

From there, I headed to hear from one of my clients – Cartavi co-founder, Glenn Shimkus. Glenn led a discussion to a packed room about ‘working on the go’ – and I couldn’t think of a better person to lead this conversation.

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More then ever – every agent and broker I know needs to know how to conduct business on the go from anywhere and everywhere and Cartavi (now part of the DocuSign family) are incredible tools to do just that.

Friday afternoon I had tons of great conversations:

  • I had the pleasure of meeting and enjoying lunch with Bill Madder the CEO of the Association of Saskatchewan REALTORS®  (along with my dear friend and BreveTV partner, Kelly Mitchell.)  It’s been exciting to see how the Canadian market is doing from afar and it was fun to chat with him about his market and some of the exciting things coming up for them in 2014 and 2015.
  • I also had a great conversation with David Stein, GM and President at Inman News – lots of exciting things they are working on for 2014 and I’m looking forward to speaking at Real Estate Connect NYC in January.
  • I ran into Debra Helleren and Mel McMurrin from Secrets of Top Selling Agents. I had the pleasure of working with them a few weeks ago when we put together a webinar on Twitter – it was a blast to work with them and we had a great conversation about collaborating together on another webinar next year. They are awesome people and so kind and professional to work with. Big thanks to Jimmy Mackin for the introduction!

At 3pm on Friday is when it got crazy! I made the mistake of standing near the entrance of the exhibit hall when it opened and almost got mobbed by the sea of Realtors rushing to meet their favorite exhibitors.

I went to the DocuSign and Cartavi booth first, and it was really exciting to see their large booth and meet so many great people from both companies. Cartavi has been a client for over a year now and now with the acquisition from DocuSign, it’s been exciting to see the blending of both companies into something really amazing for the real estate industry.

A big portion of my time throughout the event was helping with the social strategy for Cartavi and DocuSign, and it was exciting to see how many sessions, giveaways and just fun things that they had going on throughout the event – not to mention the hula dancers!

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In the exhibit hall, I also made sure to visit my friends and clients in the RE/MAX LLC booth and had some great conversations with “the two Toms” – Tom Kramig and Tom Maynor – two of my all time favorite people at RE/MAX LLC.

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2013 has been an incredible year working closely with the RE/MAX International team – working to build and grow their social presence. I can’t wait for what 2014 has in store with RE/MAX- lots of exciting things in the works!

RE/MAX also had an awesome booth at NAR – complete with a massage station! It was also fun to take a group photo with a few of my favorite RE/MAX agents including one of the most positive people I know – John Mangas!

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And my exhibit hall visit would not be complete without a stop by my client RPM Mortgage – they had some really fun giveaways and partners helping out at the booth. It was great to see them and introduce some of my Realtor friends to RPM and the great work they are doing.

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Friday evening ended at the DocuSign VIP party at Alibi Restaurant and Lounge and it was a blast to reconnect with so many DocuSign and Cartavi friends and customers. It is great to work so closely with a company that is well-loved by so many in the industry! (Big shout-out to my dear friend Joe Schutt for helping organize so many photo opps!)

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The evening ended with a fantastic dinner with Valerie and Shelby again (love them!) as well as one of my favorite OC Realtors – Jeremy Lehman. PSA – if you aren’t following Jeremy or The Boutique Real Estate Group – you are missing out – they are doing some incredible things with technology but what I love most about what they are doing is how they are using technology to exceed their clients expectations every day!

Whew, what a day!

Saturday

Saturday was slightly less hectic (only slightly!) DocuSign and Cartavi had a killer event at the flagship Apple store in San Francisco and I loved seeing all the photos and tweets from this breakfast event!

Later Saturday morning, I ran into Kevin Hawkins, VP of communications at Imprev. I have long been a fan of what Imprev is doing for real estate marketing and it was really fun to hear about some of the cool things they have coming up in 2014.

Throughout the day I enjoyed working closely with my clients who were at the conference and helping them maximize their social strategy live at the event.

Events like NAR annual provide a really unique opportunity to engage with customers and social is one of the best conduits for that – it’s also something I’m really fired up about!

Throughout the day, I had a chance to stroll the exhibit hall. I was excited to see the guys at BombBomb – they are doing some really incredible things with video email. I also made sure to go by and visit my friends at Zillow (whom I just started guest blogging for this year!) It was fun to catch up with some of the nicest people in real estate – Jay Thompson, Sara Bonert and Brad Andersohn.

I also was excited to run into two of my favorite people at the EXIT Realty booth – real estate’s power couple Jeff Lobb and Tiffany Kjellander.

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Saturday evening I had the chance to visit the DocuSign headquarters for a private reception. The best part of the evening was hearing everyone tell their favorite DocuSign story! Big thanks to Tom Gonser and Keith Krach for hosting a fabulous reception!

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And, you can’t beat the view!

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After the reception, I headed with one of my favorite Chicago pals, Leslie Ebersole to the Zillow party. If you aren’t connected with Leslie, you need to! She is one of my favorite agents and can always make me smile. Big thanks to the folks at Zillow for the invite to the party at The Press Room – it was a great event!

I capped the night off with an amazing dinner with my four of my favorite power women – Kelly Mitchell, Carol Farrar, and Suzanne Roy (the newly appointed social media and industry outreach manager for Move Inc!) We had an awesome dinner – with lots of giggles at Fifth Floor. After dinner, we ran into Greg Robertson, Michele Serro, Greg Fischer (really exciting things on the horizon at Doorsteps) and Audie Chamberlain.

Sunday

Sunday morning I had a great coffee and conversation with a previous BreveTV guest, Maya Mathias from Inventive Links. It was great talking entrepreneurship and business with another amazing women in tech!

Sunday afternoon I had the pleasure of leading a panel for DocuSign on “creating the real estate digital office.” It was awesome to see a completely packed room! I had four amazing brokers on my panel – with four distinct opinions. It was a really interesting conversation about working paperlessly from the cloud and the ‘why’ behind it – to do business better and to provide a better experience for our clients. A big thank you to our panelists – Kendyl Young, Jeremy Lehman, Aaron Wheeler and Shannon King as well as Glenn Shimkus and Paul Koziarz – Cartavi co-founders who asked me to lead this panel.

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I ended Sunday with a great late lunch and then headed back home to my boys. After a very busy week – it was great to get home and snuggle with my boys – time for mommy time!

Big takeaway from NAR Annual? 2014 is going to be big. The market is coming back and the strong are not just surviving but thriving. There were so many other great conversations I had throughout the event – too many to list in one blog post. But like most events I attend – the very best part was the conversations and connections I had in the hallways, in the lobby, at the parties, and every where in between.

Who else did I chat with that I recommend connecting with? I loved seeing and chatting with Tracy Weir, Laurie Davis, Richard Silver, Kevin Foreman, Howard Berg, Mitch Robinson, Brandi Pearl, Sherry Chris, Alice Myerhoff and Melissa McHone are just a few!

NAR Annual also marked the end of a crazy busy travel year. NAR was the tenth conference in just the past three months that I had attended and spoke at. I am excited about putting my suitcase away – at least for a few weeks!

I am in the process of lining up speaking engagements for 2014 – if you are the lookout for a speaker for your 2014 event, we should talk!

Did you attend NAR Annual? I’d love to hear your big take-aways – leave me a comment below or reach out to me on my Facebook page!

 

 

 

 

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