In this month’s National Association of REALTORS® Power Broker Roundtable, we welcome Cindy Ariosa, senior vice president and regional manager of Long & Foster Real Estate, and incoming liaison for Large Firms & Industry Relations at NAR.
John Horning: A warm welcome to you, Cindy! It’s hard to believe a year has passed since I began hosting these roundtable discussions—and even harder to believe what a strange year it’s been. There was no way to know, coming off a strong end to 2019, that a global pandemic would tilt the world on its axis this year and force us to shift our thinking, realign our priorities and find new ways to do even the most routine tasks.
Cindy Ariosa: I’ll second that, John. Who would have guessed we’d be meeting on Zoom and showing properties virtually—or that we’d pivot on a dime, going from a nearly screeching halt in the first quarter of the year to a boom that’s keeping us busier than ever?
JH: It’s been a learning process to say the least, and I have to say, it’s been a privilege to be part of the discussion each month and, hopefully, part of the solution. We’ve had some really creative brokers joining us in this forum every month to focus in on pandemic-era issues as well as the day-to-day, and to share ideas about what’s working best to keep their companies and their agents thriving.
CA: I think your discussions on setting strategies for the second half of the year, and recruiting for the new normal were especially insightful—and I look forward to choosing topics in the new year that reflect what’s needed in this fluid environment.
JH: Well, I’ll miss being a part of that, Cindy, but I’m leaving the gavel in good hands. After 30 years in real estate, with a wealth of experience in all phases of the business—not to mention your service with state and national REALTOR® associations—I know you’re more than well-equipped to keep these discussions meaningful.
CA: Thank you, John. Like it or not, it appears we are in for a “now normal” that is still taking shape, and we need to be prepared to meet it. My hope is to engage our panelists and our readers in very relevant conversations. One of those is the continuing trend toward working remotely. Some agents are ready, even anxious, to come back to the office—others, not so much. So I’d like to start off with a dialogue next month on the best ways to preserve company culture in this very different way of working.
JH: We talked about that some months back, but you’re right. Change is still happening, and we will need to adjust for it—and few things are more important to the success of our companies than preserving the ethos, the character at the core of our companies, that keeps us working as a team.
CA: I also want to talk about maintaining our prominence as new players enter the field. Being prepared and developing strategies are vital to staying competitive—as is making the best use of the data we are now able to access. In a way, I guess, change might be the theme for the year because being able to stay ahead of the curve impacts every phase of our business. We have to continue talking, for example, about the way technology is changing the way we operate as leaders.
JH: Like the way we deal with agent training and agent recognition, which is so important; how we manage our awards galas, for example.
CA: Exactly. And there are other topics that demand the floor right now, such as diversity and fair housing. These are conversations that aren’t always comfortable, but they absolutely need to happen.
JH: They do, and this forum for resourceful Power Brokers provides an excellent space for them to happen.
CA: I think so, and I appreciate the opportunity to be involved. These are strange but exciting times. The strategies and technologies we develop today must be wide-ranging, intuitive and flexible.
JH: Well said. I’ll miss being here, but I’ll be an avid reader!
CA: We’ll miss your input, John. You’re a hard act to follow. But I’ll do my best to bring together the best people and the timeliest topics next year. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that flexibility is key. There’s never been a better time to innovate for tomorrow.
For more information, please visit www.nar.realtor.