In January, I wrote about the upcoming events that the HAR International Advisory Group was planning to implement for 2011. Now that the year is practically over, it’s time to look back and review what we actually accomplished:

EDUCATION
One of the cornerstones of our mission is education. We scheduled and conducted three significant international real estate classes this year. In May, we presented International Real Estate 101; in July, we hosted the full five-day CIPS certification course. Both classes sold out. Many of our colleagues earned their CIPS certification shortly thereafter. On November 29, we taught the International Risk Reduction class, followed by the annual HAR CIPS International Reception.

COMMUNITY OUTREACH/FIELD TRIPS
Another outstanding success was our second annual Ronald McDonald House dinner sponsorship in September. Fifteen of our advisory group members volunteered their time, talent and energy to prepare and serve dinner to approximately 30 families that night. Where is the international connection you might ask? More than half of the families residing there short-term come from outside the United States.

We hosted two collaborative lunch sessions with the Houston Council of FIABCI (the international real estate federation headquartered in France) and one of our favorite advisory group members hosted a fabulous Galveston beach party in July.

COLLABORATION WITH OTHER ORGANIZATIONS
Leaders of the advisory group attended the Asian American Real Estate Association (AAREA) New Year Gala in February, a fun-filled event of festivities, entertainment and networking with fellow REALTORS®.

Several members became involved with the Houston World Affairs Council (WAC.) WAC was developed to promote a better understanding of the world, and since Houston is such an international city, we wanted to inspire the HAR membership to think of real estate beyond the physical boundaries of our city.

We are longstanding members of the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP), an organization that helps us understand the growth and development of the Greater Houston area so we can better serve our relocation specialists and global REALTOR® members. Several members had an opportunity to attend and network with others within the GHP organization during their annual international event in late August.

GUEST SPEAKER PROGRAM
We had the pleasure of inviting guest speakers to our meetings. Among them was Melissa King of the Houston Consular Ball, Cari Broderson of the GHP, and esteemed HAR member Beth Wolff, Mitch Creekmore of Stewart International, Missouri City Councilman and commercial REALTOR® Danny Nguyen; the Harris County Tax Assessor, The Honorable Don Sumner; and Houston-based International Tax Attorney Allan Tiller.

MISCELLANEOUS
We updated the HAR International PowerPoint presentation, which is used by our members at other REALTOR® networking events to show what the HAR International program is all about. Some of our committee members donated their time and talents to design and produce an international trifold flyer to distribute at such events. Others have spent time and effort getting involved with NAR’s Diversity Grant discussions.

PLATINUM STATUS
And most recently we discovered–and our entire membership can be proud of this– that HAR’s International program was awarded Platinum Level Status in the 2011 Global Business Council Achievement Program. Only four of the nation’s almost 90 Councils received this recognition.

In summary, 2011 has been a rich and rewarding year and we look forward to 2012. We still have more work to do to help our membership “Think Globally, Work Locally.”

Richard P. Miranda, MBA, CIPS, TRC
Keller Williams Realty Broker Associate
KW Commercial Managing Director

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