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Mikaela Durham, 29, has been working as a sales agent at ERA Landmark Real Estate in Bozeman, Mont., for almost seven years. The support she receives from ERA, combined with opportunities to be mentored by women, contributed to her success in being named a finalist for REALTOR® Magazine’s 30 Under 30.

But when ERA founded its NextERA group, she found a collaborative community among like-minded agents. Dave Collins, ERA’s chief operating officer, says the idea for NextERA—a group of younger, driven and entrepreneurial agents—came about at FUEL, one of ERA’s annual events.

“We already have an amazingly collaborative network, and our brokers and agents are not shy about sharing new ideas, best practices and even business plans,” he says. “This group is just another way that ERA can foster and nurture this type of collaboration among this next generation of agents, many of whom are already changing the way we go about the business of real estate.”

What started out as a 10-person meeting with a select group of agents is now a group of 150 agents across the country who network, collaborate, share insights and strategies, and are invested in their collective success. Agents in NextERA participate in quarterly group calls, have access to a private Facebook group, and this spring, they had their first ever in-person meeting at ERA’s annual FUEL conference.

Durham explains that “there are so many educational opportunities in the program, but the best part of NextERA is learning about different agents’ markets—what they’re struggling with, what they’re doing to stand out in their market or a shift that they’re seeing that maybe we don’t have yet in Montana.

Most importantly, because these agents are all from different parts of the country, nobody is seen as competition.

Durham is currently working on a tactic that she learned from a recent NextERA meeting: becoming the go-to agent in a specific subdivision or neighborhood in her market. “I want to provide services to that neighborhood that nobody else is providing. And I want to do more than just send out mailers.”

Inspired by her community at NextERA, Durham tried something new: She sponsored a dumpster for a spring cleanup weekend. A huge success, the dumpster was completely filled, and she received a lot of positive feedback from people in the neighborhood.

But NextERA does more than facilitate information-sharing for young agents. Leveraging ERA’s data-driven technologies, it is actively changing real estate as we know it.

“When it comes down to it, NextERA is for agents looking to build a long-term career,” says Collins. “And anyone who’s been in the business knows that a long-term career in real estate means repeat business and building up a sphere of influence. In order to help connect younger agents to that lifecycle of homeownership, we use our turnkey technologies to help them mine their own data so that they can have an accurate understanding of how they’re performing and how to plan out those next strategic steps.”

According to a generational study conducted by the National Association of REALTORS®, millennials have accounted for approximately 36 percent of home sales in each of the last five years.

“Being able to relate to that key demographic is huge,” Durham explains. “NextERA, in addition to providing additional training and resources on ERA’s technology and management systems, has empowered me to see my strengths as a young agent, and my place in the future of the business.”

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Zoe Eisenberg is RISMedia’s senior content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at