By Bill Gottfried, CIPS
Once again HAR’s International Advisory Group (IAG) has taken top honors for 2015 in being awarded the National Association of REALTORS® Global Achievement Program Platinum Award for pushing the envelope in global real estate education and networking opportunities for our HAR Members. The Platinum Award is the highest level of recognition bestowed on state and local associations and this year’s award is in keeping with the HAR’s International program tradition of being at “the top of the game” in global real estate.
IAG’s success this year would not have been possible without the strong support of our ace HAR team of Lori Carper, CIPS, HAR’s Director of International Programs and Aracely Arrazolo, HAR’s Meetings Coordinator. We were honored this year to have four HAR Chairmen, former, current, and incoming, on our IAG Team, including Wayne Stroman, Margie Dorrance, Nancy Furst, and Mario Arriaga. We thank these outstanding HAR Leaders for their support and guidance this year. We would like to salute our outstanding 2015 IAG members, representing 24 countries and 15 languages, who tirelessly worked to ensure our success this year.
2015 International Advisory Group Members
2015 Vice Chair/2016 Chair
2016 Vice Chair/2017 Chair
Former IAG Chairs
Honaray Advisory Board Members
Advisory Board Members
Teri Leigh Thompson
Highlights of our 2015 Year
At IAG’s opening year meeting in January, we discussed the importance of real estate investors from the “Big 5”, the countries from which the majority of investments are flowing into Houston: Mexico, China, India, Canada, and the U.K. In addition, we had an outstanding presentation in January entitled “Commercial Development in Houston” by Mario Arriaga, 2015 HAR Chairman elect.
Wayne Stroman, former IAG chairman, and Nathan Goble, HAR’s Manager of MLS Quality Assurance, gave an excellent presentation on the history and utilization of MLS International Area 82 at our February meeting. Our goal is to develop HAR MLS Area 82 as the “global real estate portal of choice” for the real estate industry. We supported the Ronald McDonald House by serving dinner to families from all over the world residing there in February, a very important program helping those in need.
In March, Ambassador Juan Sosa, former Panamanian Ambassador to the U.S., and currently Panama’s Consul General in Houston, brought a delegation from Panama to HAR and provided us with an outstanding review of real estate investment opportunities in Panama. In addition, the IAG hosted an outstanding Feng Shui Class in March.
In April, our IAG Members attended the Astros Home Opener at Minute Maid Park, a great time was had by all.
Nelly Mitford organized an outstanding presentation by The Woodlands Corporation in May, held at the Woodlands Real Estate Center, with the top executives from The Woodlands Corporation and Howard Hughes Corporation presenting an overview of residential and commercial investment opportunities, including investment opportunities for international investors.
Margie Dorrance provided an outstanding presentation at our June meeting on real estate investment opportunities in Canada and information on U.S.-Canada cross border real estate investment cooperation. Canada is an increasingly important investor demographic for Houston.
In July, IAG Members were invited to a Texas Land Brokers Network Luncheon at Constellation Field in Sugar Land organized by Minor Taylor. Dan Hatfield, former TAR Chairman, was the guest speaker. Also in July, IAG Members were invited to a luncheon hosted by the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) Houston Chapter at The Granduca Hotel.
At our July meeting, Rabih Chamseddine gave an excellent presentation on financing real estate investments for international buyers and investors who are increasingly active in Houston and across Texas.
Richard Miranda taught another outstanding CIPS Institute at HAR in September, the CIPS Designation is the “Gold Standard” for REALTORS® and brokers who are active in international real estate.
In October, several of our IAG Members volunteered at Bo’s Place in Houston where we were able to help and support children and families in need, a very worthwhile cause.
The IAG will be in excellent hands in 2016 with Lori Carper’s and Aracely Arrazolo’s very capable hands on the steering wheel and with Cathy Trevino, 2016 IAG Chair, and Nelly Mitford, 2016 IAG Vice Chair, providing outstanding leadership and guidance.
Thank you for the opportunity to be helpful and supportive to the IAG this year, I am very appreciative.