Birmingham Real Estate: You've Got Options: December 2010

Changing of the Guard..."There is NO Rescue Team on the Horizon!" Realtors in West Michigan Challenged to Move Our Profession Forward.

Lola is a veteran ActiveRain member and although she does not post as often as she used to, when she does post something, I always find it to be compelling. Her post below is not of the ordinary variety, but I thought it well worth acknowledging as she takes on this new role for the new year.  Click the link below if you would like to offer Lola your congratulations.

Congrats to Lola.



This morning, the Grand Rapids Association of Realtors® installed new leadership during the Awards & Installation Breakfast.  I was installed as the Association President.  It is an honor to serve alongside so many exceptional individuals.  After the installation, I gave a speech to the members.  Here's the text:

GRAR Installation & Awards Ceremony 2010
Good Morning Ladies & Gentlemen,
Lola Audu - 2011 Grand Rapids Association of Realtors® PresidentIt is truly an honor to be with you today and accept the challenge and responsibility of the position of President of the Grand Rapids Association of Realtors®  It is a responsibility I take seriously and will do my best to fulfill in a manner which benefits the good of the Association and its members.  I would like to offer a word of Thanks to Cathy and Pat for their participation in this program.  These women have blazed a noble and courageous path as past Presidents of this Association and for their service at the State and National level.  It is a privilege to have them here and an honor to follow in their footsteps.
I'd also like to thank the GRAR Staff and the Board of Directors.  Serving during this period of time has entailed personal sacrifice of time and energy.  It has been honor to serve with these men and women who have given of themselves, their wisdom and their talent.  I look forward to serving our members alongside the new Board of Directors who are joining us at the table next year.   To our officers...this year I've learned about the power of brevity through the focus of John Postma's leadership, the wisdom of experience through the service of Tom Paarlberg and the importance of not taking things too seriously by the fun-loving spirit of Ed Hansen.
I am incredibly grateful for the presence of members of my family here to witness this Celebration.  I'm so thankful for the example and love of my Mother, affectionately known to many as Mom Comfort whose faith and guiding principles have been a bedrock from which I've learned to grow and thrive.  She is one of the most loving persons I know and her practical example of dedication and courage continue to inspire my journey on a daily basis.  And lastly, I'm so grateful for a loving partner in my husband Clement.  Your support and encouragement are treasures which I cherish deeply.
A few weeks ago, I was going through some old journal entries when I stumbled upon a notation that I had made at the end of February 1996.  I had been in the business for less than 10 months and was then employed by Art Sturgis at the Century 21 office on Plainfield.  I was in the office when the secretary indicated I had a phone call.  I answered it only to find that a deal was falling apart and the client could no longer purchase the home.  Over the next 3-4 hours, I got a phone call approximately once every 30 minutes and watched 7 transactions tank in one single day!  Talk about been unnerved!  It's the sort of situation that is a serious challenge to a seasoned agent, but to a new agent it could have been fatal!
Over the next 24 hours, I did a lot of soul searching.  Was this a profession that I wanted to be in?  All that work, all that effort...and now nothing?  I was tempted to throw in the towel, to call it quits.  That night during a time of meditation and prayer, I had a serious talk with myself and God.  I made a decision which I wrote down that with God's help, I would make it.  I was not going to quit.  You know, looking back I don't even remember what those 7 transactions that tanked were all about, but I do remember the decision I made to move forward IN SPITE of, not because of the situation that raged around me.
I believe that we are at a point of decision as an Association and an industry today.  For many in this room, that may be a personal crisis or a challenging year in the business.  Our industry has been sailing in stormy waters for several years.  Buffeted by a flagging economy, rising unemployment, shrinking credit options and significant loss of equity for our clients as house prices have plummeted.  As we talk to our clients, we find that many of them are also facing the challenge of making a decision.  Over the past few years, the foreclosure and distress sale crisis had forced many families in West Michigan to make decisions that have wrecked havoc in their lives or been the result of having to deal with dire economic circumstances.
However, I've found that life often grants us the grace of it's most important lessons through showing us WHO we are through the manner in which we make decisions.  There's a part in all of us that dreads the darkness of the valley. Just like the development of the pearl requires the oyster to go through a time of hardship and irritation to produce something of tremendous value, we often go through difficulties to enable us to gain wisdom, experience and more.

For in those low places, we are vulnerable and feel helpless.  We crave mountaintop experiences from which we seemingly rise above circumstances and triumph.  But I think that neither the despair of the valley or the triumph of the mountain give us an accurate picture of who we are or better said...who we are becoming.  Rather, what these moments do is reveal what we're made of. Valley experiences are rich in nutrients, because everything from the mountain eventually washes down and provides fertile soil.  The Valley experience reveals the courage of our convictions and the strength of our resolve and determination.  Our unwillingness to dig deep or to wallow in self-pity is a waste of deeply enriching experience.  

This year, your Board of Directors will be studying a book entitled, 'The Thin Book of Naming Elephants'.  It's a book which chronicles the lessons learned by NASA through the horrible tragedy of the Challenger Disaster.  It is a challenge to look at, grapple with and tackle difficult questions and issues in a practical and thorough manner.  In the valley, we have a number of choices, but two are worth noting...we can choose to simply get dirty and pitiful, or we can become resourceful farmers who grow a fruitful harvest which in time will yield a bountiful return.

Mountain top experiences are no less challenging, although we may perceive them as more beneficial.  The thing about mountain tops is that the air is thin.  And people on mountains are prone to becoming lightheaded.  They may even fall off.  Success is wonderful, but it's what we DO in our success that reveals more about who we are than the fact that we are successful.  The truth is the term 'MY SUCCESS' is really inaccurate.  Is anything really ONLY the result of your own effort or hard work.  Think about it?  Are we not all indebted in some fashion to our life experiences and opportunities?  Parents and teachers who cared for us, friends and family who have supported us, clients who have chosen to use our services, mentors who have trained us?  Our success is really a result of their investment in our lives as much as it is a testimony to our efforts.
Failing to understand the true nature of the success of a mountain top experience has the ability to make us more prone to making fatal errors and miscalculating the implications of our choices.  At the mountain top of high sales volumes, we often chose to focus on self promotion rather than self-improvement.  We often failed to invest in training and technology and missed some opportunities to create important strategic alignments.  As a result, during this storm, our industry has suffered.  


Next year, we will be launching 4 New Initiatives at the Board to address the issues. The saying goes...if it's going to be, it's up to me!  There is no rescue crew on the horizon which will guarantee us safe passage through these stormy waters.  All of us will need to do the hard work and roll up our sleeves to deal with the task of re-inventing our industry and profession in a way that serves our future!  We have to broaden our thinking and understand that we are a part of a global framework, but our greatest impact is in finding solutions that work for us locally.


The Broker Relations Taskforce will be tasked with the vital task of attending to the health and well-being of our Broker Community.  Our Brokers are our first line of defense.  Building a strong, profitable Broker community supports an environment which allows agents to be trained and supported.  Broker education and professional development has often been neglected.  Brokers are the core business building block of our community and your association will continue it's efforts to ensure that this important cornerstone in our real estate industry is given the tools necessary to weather the storm intact.
Ensuring that our Association remains financially healthy and takes full advantage of emerging opportunities for collaboration and cooperation will be the task of the Economic Enhancement Taskforce.  This talented group of individuals comprised of several of our most experienced leaders will study opportunities for regional and international alliances.  Today, we live in a global village.  Grand Rapids is poised on the threshold of many exciting ventures.  The real estate industry is big business.  Our voice needs to be a vital part of the discussion about emerging issues which will shape the landscape for decades to come.  In addition, we need to explore our current financial framework at the local level to ensure that we are utilizing our resources and investing them in the best way possible.
The Next Generation Leadership Taskforce and The Social Media Technology Taskforce will deal with the issues of developing a Leadership Track for emerging leaders for our profession.  It is not only important to train leaders, but we must also give our members the tools to support their ability to be competitive in the professional setting that today's consumers demand.  The launch of the Consumer Centric website will afford us a unique opportunity to reach out to consumers.  This past year we also launched the Strategic Relations Matrix, a powerful initiative in which over 140 Members of our real estate community are actively engaging at various levels organizations and individuals throughout the Grand Rapids metropolitan area.  Through actively collaborating and sharing, we can extend our influence and service in tangible ways.


It is said, that there is only one sea in the world in which no life grows.  It is known as the Dead Sea.  Although I have never visited this sea, those who have tell me it is beautiful; in fact crystal clear.  But, it does not contain active life forms...just minerals, the decaying fossils of life forms.  Everything that lives, need to give and exchange in order to thrive.  We stand at a threshold of opportunity.  We can choose to actively engage and transform our environment.  We must not give in to the temptation to become fossilized replicas of the vibrant community we once were.
We are here and must continue to make a difference!  Today, I'm challenging ALL of us to a greater level of service!  How can we serve our community beyond the practical limits of our profession.  Realtors® have always given of themselves.  Today's Good Neighbor Award winner is proof of the many ways in which members of our community reach out on a daily basis. And so often, we are not aware of what members of our community are doing on a day to day basis.  Agents who serve meals at God's kitchen, volunteer in local schools and churches, coach and mentor kids, deliver meals to the elderly or sick...  This year, we will be launching an initiative called 50,000 Points of Light!  Imagine...50,000 HOURS of services gifted by the members of the Grand Rapids Association of Realtors® to our local West Michigan Community!  We can do this!  If 1,000 members or roughly half of our membership simply gave 5 hours per month in service, we could easily top 60,000!  The Next Generation Leadership Taskforce will have the task of energizing us and coordinating our recording to make this a tangible reality!


An ancient fishermen’s tale recounts the story of 3 men who fished all night and caught nothing.  Tired, drained and exhausted, they watched the sun rise slowly from their little dingy and prepared to head back to shore.  It was then they heard the voice, an unidentified person from the shore calling out to them, asking if they’d caught anything during the night.  Obviously discouraged, they admitted they had not.  But, were surprised by what this man did next.  He asked them to cast their nets on the other side of the boat.  What?  He could have said, ‘you went fishing on the wrong day, or you’re on the wrong part of the lake, but no…just shift a little.  Shift 3 feet.  To their credit they did.  The rest is history.  The catch was so large, the boat began to sink!  From this story we can learn something about the limits of experience.  Many in this room are experienced veterans who have been leaders in our industry.  For some, you may just be starting.  But, crisis demand that we rise above.  That we go beyond the limits of our experience.  That we be willing to SHIFT a little.   

We're in a race, a race we must win.  A race we can win.  Let's lean into the curve and take strength from the momentum of positive motion.  Together, we can make it.  Together we are capable of doing more than we ever imagined.  I sincerely look forward to running this stretch of the race with you!  Thank you for the opportunity to serve!



Lola Audu, CRS, GRI e-Pro ~ Audu Real Estate

Lola Audu, is the Designated Broker & Owner of Audu Real Estate.  Our company specializes in helping people buy and sell homes in the greater Grand Rapids, West Michigan area.  We've had the privilege of helping hundreds of clients succeed in their goals of purchasing and selling property including demonstrated success in the negotiation of Short Sale Transactions. You can contact us via e-mail @ or by phone at 616-791-0511. 

Twitter feed for Lola Audu     Auduhomes on Facebook     Lola Audu's photostream on Flickr 


Origin of BDAMB from Bham (The Back Door Ambassador Series)

BDAMB Gains Access Through Front Door

Charita Cadenhead, Your Metropolitan Birmingham, Alabama Real Estate Broker of Choice

Got a question about Metropolitan Birmingham real estate? Just ask Charita. Need a good Realtor(R) to help you find a new home or sell the one you already own?  Just shoot me an email.  In need of a rental property?  Subscribe to be notified whenever we list a new or home for sale.

Charita H. Cadenhead, Realtor®
Keller Williams Realty Metro North
Gardendale, AL 35071
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Comment balloon 0 commentsCharita Cadenhead • December 30 2010 01:16PM
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