Dear fellow HAR members,
Winding down the year, I am pleased to share my reflections on the past year as your 2019 chairman of the HAR International Advisory Group (IAG).
After winning NAR’s prestigious Diamond award for HAR’s international program for 2018-2019, your association’s 25-person IAG set its sights to move the HAR global initiative forward. The question “REALTORS®, what comes to mind when you hear international real estate?” The answers: travel, networking, increasing global visibility, learning new techniques, interacting with different cultures.
The year started out with our HAR Chair Shannon Cobb Evans, along with the leadership of the HAR International Advisory Group, hosting the annual global leaders luncheon for local affiliate real estate organizations, including the local chapters of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP), The Asian American Real Estate Association (AAREA), The Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA), The National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAHREB), FIABCI – the international real estate association, the Houston chapter of the Women’s Council of REALTORS® and the
REALTORS® Land Institute – Texas Chapter. The purpose of this annual luncheon is to meet the new leaders of each group and discover how HAR can best work to assist all members.
January also included some of us going to Dallas for a Global Networking meeting and attending their NAHREP chapter’s gala at Southfork Ranch. Here, new friends were made that followed us throughout the year at numerous events and conventions around the country. In February, we had our first IAG meeting of the year and later in the month some of us attended the AAREA New Year’s Gala which included over 800 guests. The HAR IAG meets four times per year plus hosts quarterly HAR member educational programs.
In early March, the AMPI (AMPI is Mexico’s version of NAR) Manzanillo chapter leader was invited to Houston to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with HAR. Manzanillo is the largest port city in Mexico, and therefore is a good fit with Houston. Shannon Cobb Evans signed the document, and HAR President and CEO Bob Hale was in attendance. Miguel Contreras, AMPI President of the Manzanillo Chapter, and Ana Alicia Lopez Salgado, The National AMPI Executive Director, joined us for the signing celebration. We next took them around the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and the rodeo’s international pavilion as well as on several sightseeing tours of our city. March also saw us hosting the annual HAR International “Around the World in 60 Minutes” lunch and learn session, which was well-attended and had agents learning about international listings in Area 82 of the HAR MLS. The end of March saw us in Austin for the Texas REALTORS® “REALTOR® Day at the Capitol” where, along with thousands of our fellow REALTORS® from across Texas, we visited our state legislators to discuss issues important to the real estate industry and private property owners.
In May I headed to Washington DC for the NAR Legislative Meetings and Expo. I had the chance to visit with Senators and Congressmen/women from both sides of the aisle and discuss current global issues in our industry.
In June, HAR International and the HAR Professional Development department hosted the Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) Institute. This is a 5-day course with 40 hours of continuing education credits that teaches ways to conduct business in various countries around the world. After the Institute ended, we celebrated our new CIPS candidates and attended the yearly HAR citywide CIPS reception. I also attended a reception later in the month for a new EB5 project “At the Allen” near the Federal Reserve Bank in Houston. At the end of June, a small delegation of eight HAR agents representing five brokerages traveled to the country of Belize. HAR is the current ambassador association, appointed by NAR Global, to Belize. We visited the quaint towns of Placencia and San Pedro. The knowledge about the country, its real estate practices and the friends made on this trip were just simply amazing.
In early September, HAR Central hosted “International Day” and we had a full house of agents from around the state of Texas in attendance. This day-long course featured topics helpful to those interested and those already involved in global real estate. I also attended the Texas REALTOR® convention in Fort Worth, and shortly after, flew to San Diego to attend the annual NAHREP convention.
In October, I was invited to join AMPI at their Congress in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. I felt very welcome and have made new friends for life. Thank you, Pablo Vasquez AMPI National president, and President elect Roberto Gaxiola, for inviting me to be a part of your organization. HAR Vice Chair Richard Miranda, thank you for all you have done to build this global alliance between Texas and AMPI!
As I am writing this, San Francisco is the setting for the 2019 NAR REALTORS® Conference & Expo in November. Here we will reconnect with many of our new friends from around the globe and learn the latest in global issues here in the U.S. and abroad.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve the international real estate community as your HAR International Advisory Group Chairman. This has been not only an amazing experience, but also humbling.
Side note: I would like to reach out to everyone on the International Advisory Group to say thank you for your participation throughout the year, for getting us access to
places we normally would not have access too. Thank you, Peggie Pentecost, for the use of your suite to attend an evening rodeo concert at the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo and thank you Susan Annoura for getting us access to the Rodeo’s International Pavilion. Susan Annoura (Past IAG Chair 2018) and Ed Eakin (Future IAG Chair 2020). You guys have been amazing, and I thank you both for your guidance, friendship and support. What a fabulous journey it has been. Finally, thank you to Lori Carper, HAR Director of International, and Mariangie Cabriles, HAR Meetings and Events Coordinator, for all you do to keep the International program at HAR on track and to continue winning global awards every year! I look forward to our new leadership in 2020, IAG Chairman Ed Eakin and Vice Chair Theresa Hughes Hill. You will accomplish great things, I am sure!
2019 HAR International Advisory Group Chairman