The TSA agent pulled me off the security line for a random check. He vigorously rubbed the interior of my carry on with his cloth pad then inserted it into a nearby machine. A red EXPLOSIVE WARNING flashed.
Shit hit the fan.
This was the moment they had trained for. I endured a full body search. A Hanns Scharff-like interrogation by some badass. They confiscated my cell phone and personal dignity.
And they asked repeatedly where I was going. My story remained consistent: “I’m attending a Realtor convention in San Diego.”
It had been years since I attended a California Association of Realtors Expo. Between work-related travel and other commitments, I’ve had to skip some things. To be candid, my past experiences at association events always came up short. They tended to feel a bit too insular in theme and too elementary in content.
But that impression was developed a decade ago and beyond. And while CAR is an association, they have always been more progressive than most. So I chose to go for no other reason than to rekindle important personal relationships, visit with some clients and take in the scene.
My TSA ordeal aside, I’m damn glad I went.
The line of speakers ran a wide gamut. The morning included a wonderful interview led by Raj Qsar from Boutique who spoke with the owner of Saarloos & Sons Winery – a brand built with blood, sweat, tears and a vat-load of passion – and winded down with a vivid and moving talk by Caroline Pinal from Giveback Homes on why corporate social responsibility matters.
Sandwiched between were varied discussions led by people who are no strangers to the real estate stage – Sequel’s Laura Monroe and Century 21 broker Bill Lublin spoke about creating better digital experiences for brokerages. Lisa Fettner from ReferralExchange gave a great talk about harnessing the power of networks to increase profitability, which then dovetailed into a wonderful interview with Keri White from The Agency, Cornelius Jackson from CLJ Realty Group and Crystal Narramore, President of Podley Properties, who each spoke firsthand about the leaps they’ve made as companies leveraging networks.
Sherry Chris, CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, reminded the audience of how to apply core values to business building and rounded out her talk with 10 predictions for real estate in the coming years.
Joel Singer, CAR’s CEO, a man who deserves much credit for what he has done for real estate, led a talk about the Realtor’s value in the consumer journey.
Throughout the day, I sat in the back and listened – something I rarely get to do when I attend events. While news alerts popped up on my phone reminding me of the shitshow taking place on the world stage, I took comfort knowing that this day was…
A good day for real estate
I could not help but take note of the attendees in the room – people from every demographic classification you could list. Boomers. Gen X-ers. Millennials. Men. Women. People representing a variety of backgrounds who all share a common desire.
In tandem, the folks on that stage represented the future of our industry – seasoned CEOs, spirited brokers, enlightened vendors who, on the surface, share little in common, but deep down are united by their passion to make this industry better.
All were involved in a healthy conversation about current affairs, the state of real estate, the consumer, technology, outside influence and trends – something that’s often missing from these events.
Not once was the audience subjected to social media evangelists, un-sagacious marketers riffing endlessly about millennial marketing or naysayers who believe everything born outside of the industry will doom us.
It was refreshing.
The only thing that reminded me I was at an association event was the unavoidable convention center venue. But given the location along San Diego Bay, even that felt special.
Despite the divisive events taking place outside the convention walls, the CAR Expo last week was a meeting of many wonderful minds intent on laying the groundwork for a better real estate industry for the entire state of California. And hopefully beyond.
It was a good day indeed.
[Disclosure: Sequel, Podley Properties, ReferralExchange and Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate are 1000watt clients.]