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Top (L to R): Ron Peltier, CEO/Chairman, HomeServices of America; Elizabeth Mendenhall, 2018 President, NAR, CEO, RE/MAX Boone Realty; Joseph Rand; Chief Creative Officer; Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Rand Realty; Bob Goldberg, CEO, NAR;  RISMedia; Bottom (L to R): Helen Hanna Casey, CEO, Howard Hanna Real Estate Services; Matt Widdows, CEO/Founder, HomeSmart International; Teresa Palacios Smith, VP of Diversity & Inclusion, HSF Affiliates (Credit: PlanOmatic)

As advocacy took center stage at the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo, 125 industry leaders gathered for RISMedia’s inaugural, invitation-only 2018 Newsmaker Awards Reception & Dinner, which honored seven industry luminaries for their headline-making influence in real estate in 2017. The event, held at the illustrious National Press Club (“The Place Where News Happens”) recognized:

Bob Goldberg, CEO, National Association of REALTORS® (NAR)
“I’m excited to be in this new hall of fame and be an inaugural inductee,” said Goldberg. “I am thrilled to be inducted along with my fellow leader who is making those changes (at NAR) happen: Elizabeth Mendenhall. We are a new NAR. We are member-centric; you will continue to see a difference in how we work with all of you in this industry.”


Elizabeth Mendenhall, 2018 President, National Association of REALTORS® (NAR); CEO, RE/MAX Boone Realty
“To be here standing before you and beside you is very overwhelming,” said Mendenhall. “RISMedia’s publication made me better as a broker and more knowledgeable about the industry. I accept this on behalf of the NAR leadership team, and I’m glad to be part of a team with Bob and all of you. It wouldn’t work without all of you being a part of it.”


Helen Hanna Casey, CEO, Howard Hanna Real Estate Services
“This award recognizes what we do every day in our market, and not only what we achieve, but what we believe,” said Casey. “I would have to say many have made us the newsmakers; we didn’t do it on our own. To all the winners and the RISMedia staff of incredible people, thank you for making me into what I am today.”


Joseph Rand, Chief Creative Officer, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Rand Realty
“This is really quite an honor,” said Rand. “So many people talk about change coming from the outside, but I really don’t see it. The idea that change can’t come from within is just wrong. I see people bringing change every day. We can’t be closed off to new ideas or the threats of alternate business models; I’m proud to stand by people who are embracing change.”


Matt Widdows, CEO/Founder, HomeSmart International
“This is such an honor to be awarded for this, and I want to thank everyone at RISMedia,” said Widdows. “What it comes down to is giving back to someone in your community. Just show up to help those in need—there’s enough for everybody to help out.”


Ron Peltier, CEO/Chairman, HomeServices of America
“While seven people have been recognized, there are a lot of great people who are doing a lot of great things, and a lot of game changers in this industry,” said Peltier. “I hope there are 400 people next year, because we haven’t been doing a great job of recognizing those goodwill stories.”


Teresa Palacios Smith, VP of Diversity & Inclusion, HSF Affiliates
“I am without words, but I have to tell you that to be in the company of the individuals receiving these awards, who I have admired for years…I am in awe,” said Palacios Smith. “This award doesn’t really apply to me as much as what’s happening in our industry today: women empowerment, women in leadership and in real estate. It is truly part of my appreciation that we acknowledge the importance of making sure we all have an even playing field and equal opportunity.”

“While transactions and dollar volume are extremely important, the ones succeeding and transforming the industry are also the fabric of their communities,” said John Featherston, CEO/president of RISMedia. “We wanted to start recognizing those real newsmakers who are making a difference in their communities. This year, we are starting with a small, hall of fame, inaugural class of Newsmakers, but next year, hundreds of Newsmakers will be recognized.”

The event was presented by master sponsor the National Association of REALTORS® and host sponsors Elm Street Technology, HMS Home Warranty, PlanOmatic, Realtors Property Resource® (RPR®), Sherri Johnson Coaching & Consulting, ShowingTime and zipLogix™.

Earlier on May 17, RISMedia hosted the annual Power Broker Forum, “Adapt, Compete, Win: How to Wow Customers—and Agents—in a Changing Real Estate World,” co-moderated by Featherston and Rand, and featuring Casey, along with Rett Harmon, principal/REALTOR®, CENTURY 21 Novus Realty; Rei Mesa, CEO/president, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Realty; and Tipper Williams, operating principal, Keller Williams Virginia Realty Alliance Group, as panelists. Coverage of the Forum will be released shortly.

For continuing coverage of the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo, stay tuned to