Since the launch of the AE Young Professionals Network in 2010, many AEs under 40 say they have been inspired to participate more at the national level.
Inspired by the success of the REALTOR® Young Professionals Network, younger association executives formed the AE YPN in to encourage younger AEs and staff to not only step up and voice their ideas and opinions, but also take an active role in shaping discussions and direction within the AE community.
“Although I’ve been involved with other work groups at the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, AE YPN has definitely served as an entry point to being more than just a participant, and encouraged me to assume a leadership role,” says Clint Skutchan, chief executive officer and director of REALTOR® and consumer advocacy for the Ft. Collins Board of REALTORS®, Colo.
Through AE YPN, younger AEs have an opportunity to contribute their unique and innovative perspective on today’s association challenges at the national level.
“AE YPN’s goals are to help younger AEs stay connected and engaged with the national association and have their voices heard on a variety of issues,” says Courtney Wilson, NAR’s staff liaison to the AE YPN group.
Encouraging association staff to pursue a career in REALTOR® association management is another goal of the AE YPN.
“After attending my first AE YPN meeting in Washington D.C., I learned how the AE YPN could help me shape my career and future goals,” says 22-year-old Melissa A. Piccinich, administrative and communications coordinator for the Eastern Bergen County Board of REALTORS®. “This group has nurtured my sense of creativity related to member engagement and communications and increased my interest in RPAC and legislative issues,” she adds.
Technology is naturally the hot topic at the AE YPN networking sessions, held three times a year at NAR meetings, and the AE Institute. The AE YPN holds quarterly conference calls to share ideas and updates with AE peers around the country.
“Beyond the opportunity to prove yourself as a viable young leader, I think the relationship-building opportunities with others from around the country who share similar experiences has been vital,” notes Skutchan.
The group also serves in a liaison capacity to the REALTOR® YPN group and supports the local YPN chapter initiative.
Those who think there’s nothing to learn from AEs under 35 would be wrong, cautions Skutchan. “I think our biggest attributes are the energy and creativity we bring to our positions. Young AEs are often less prone to succumb to the that’s-the-way-we’ve-always-done-it mentality. Hopefully our ability to see past that barrier and bring different approaches to association problems is something that can benefit every AE facing the continual challenge of redefining the REALTOR® association’s value proposition.”