On July 25, 2016, Young Professionals Network (YPN) members, staff and REALTORS® representing 16 Boards and Associations from across the country attended the inaugural National YPN Summit in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. The Summit was an opportunity for attendees to network and discuss the unique needs of young and new REALTORS® and what the Canadian REALTOR® community can do to help them reach their personal and professional goals.
The morning consisted of a series of 15-minute small group discussions followed by five minutes of sharing with the room at large on topics ranging from how to start a YPN and get buy-in from your Board, Association and membership to how to prepare your YPN members for positions of greater responsibility. Members of CREA’s Board of Directors were on hand to listen to the conversations and share their own experiences getting started in the industry and making the leap onto committees, task forces and boards of directors.
Being the first event of its kind for our members, we wanted to share our three takeaways (which all YPNs can benefit from):
- YPN events tend to be more successful if they tie in professional development.
The most successful YPN events discussed at the Summit combined networking with learning opportunities: workshops, technology demonstrations, mentorship and presentations by local and industry experts. And if CREA’s Board of Directors is any indication, local, provincial and national leadership are more than happy to speak, sit on panels and engage one-on-one with YPNs.
- YPN members want a voice at the decision-making table.
At the roundtable discussions, YPN members reported being interested in seeking leadership opportunities but said they often don’t know where to start. Some suggestions to help expand YPN members’ voice included:
- Providing YPN members facetime with Board and Association leadership and staff;
- Making the application process for leadership positions easy and transparent; and
- Creating dedicated YPN positions on Board or Association committees or task forces or at least allowing them to sit in on meetings.
- “Young” can be inclusive or exclusive depending on how you position it.
Members from almost all YPNs in attendance reported struggling with how to create a network that offers targeted support to specific segments of their membership without being exclusive. The consensus at the Summit was in order to support the young and new REALTORS®, YPNs must engage veteran REALTORS® to facilitate knowledge-sharing and build a united REALTOR® community.
One of our goals at our first Summit was to encourage dialogue and mentorship by offering panels that allowed attendees to “ask a millionaire REALTOR® anything” and by inviting CREA’s Board of Directors to take part in roundtable discussions with YPN members. REALTORS® know all real estate is local but the consensus during these discussions was the importance of applying this concept to your marketing efforts, too. A REALTOR® in a Charlottetown may be more successful with face-to-face networking and referrals as opposed to someone in a more saturated market who may need a consumer relationship management system (CRM) or to invest in advertising.
If you’ve been a part of a YPN in your area, please share your experiences in the Comments below and help us keep these conversations going with the #REALTORypn hashtag on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. If you’re interested in getting involved in a YPN near you, contact your local Board or provincial Association to learn about opportunities in your region.
Stay tuned for more information about our second annual National YPN Summit, which will take place in Banff, Alberta, this January!
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