GATEWAY PERSPECTIVES: Celebrating 100 Years and Beyond….
Richard Haggerty | October 20, 2016
On Monday, October 17th, the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors, Inc. conducted its Annual Member Day and celebrated its 100th Anniversary at the DoubleTree Hotel in Tarrytown. The day included informative sessions which focused on topics like Google products and memory retention, as well as an ethics class taught by HGAR’s Director of Legal Affairs, Leon Cameron, HGMLS Past President Leah Caro, and HGMLS Director Phil Faranda, which had over 350 attendees. The general session featured keynote speaker Dan Harris, an ABC News correspondent who discussed how an on-air panic attack lead him down a path of self-evaluation. He eventually stumbled upon meditation as a means of balancing the challenges of life and wrote a bestselling book, “10% Happier,” about the experience.
The Annual Meeting is where the actual business of the Association is conducted. Both the 2017 HGAR and HGMLS Leadership Teams where introduced and 2016 HGAR President Marcene Hedayati and 2016 HGMLS President Renee Zurlo presented overviews of the accomplishments of each organization for the year. The Annual Meeting is also where the HGAR Awards are announced, one of the most anticipated events of the year, and the recipients this year could not be more deserving. Roberta Bangs was awarded the “Spirit” Award, John Lease the “Extra Mile” Award, Bonnie Koff the “Stephanie Crispinelli Humanitarian” Award, Nancy and Paul Kennedy the “Albert P. Schatz Legislative Advocacy” Award, JoAnne Murray, the “Affiliate of the Year” Award, and the coveted “Realtor of the Year” award went to Gary Leogrande. Congratulations to all of the recipients.
In a very big surprise HGAR President Marcene Hedayati announced that the entire HGAR staff were recipients of the 2016 “President’s” Award. I can tell you that the staff is very appreciative of this honor which President Hedayati bestowed upon us collectively. I also want to express my gratitude to Gary Connolly and Mary Prenon who did much of the heavy lifting for the event as well as the entire HGAR staff for all of their efforts to make Annual Member Day a success.
The other significant voting item at the Annual Meeting was the proposal to merge with the Manhattan Association of Realtors, which passed unanimously. I’d like to provide some background on the merger.
The largest organized real estate organization in Manhattan is the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), whose membership is composed of commercial building owners as well as commercial and residential real estate licensees. When I first came to work for the then Westchester County Board of Realtors back in 1984 the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) was part of the National Association of Realtors, and all REBNY members were Realtor members. REBNY and NAR severed their relationship back around 1990 (if my memory serves) and at that juncture REBNY members were no longer members of the National Association of Realtors unless they held Realtor membership through some other association.
During the early 2000’s a group of brokers petitioned NAR and were able to launch a new Realtor association in Manhattan which was called the Manhattan Association of Realtors (MANAR). In its hay day MANAR numbered over 600 members. At this juncture MANAR numbers slightly over 100 members. These members are individuals who value Realtor membership and the services provided by the Realtor organization as a whole.
I provide this background because when it was announced that HGAR was in merger discussions with MANAR, some people assumed that included REBNY, which is not the case. MANAR representatives reached out to HGAR earlier this year about the possibilities of a merger because they felt that such a merger created positive synergies and benefits for both organizations. The result of the merger, if approved by NAR, is that HGAR will create a Manhattan Chapter, and Manhattan will be part of the HGAR official jurisdiction which also includes Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, and Orange Counties. I must say that’s some pretty impressive geography! We look forward to working together to expand the services that we offer our Realtor members to help you continue to thrive and grow your businesses.