News & Information: Orlando REALTOR® magazine - Special Feature

The Choice Is Yours

Friday, August 31, 2012  
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Choosing to participate in ORRA's 2013 Leadership Election is choosing to participate in ORRA's future

Voting Information

Orlando REALTOR® asked each candidate to answer a single question:

What do you believe is the greatest challenge
that ORRA should address during your term?

Here are their responses, reproduced exactly as submitted to Orlando Realtor®:

Position: Chairman-elect (one position available; two candidates)

  • Justin LaManna, Homevest Realty
  • Zola Szerencese, RE/MAX 200 Realty

Justin LaManna, Homevest Realty: If the participatory voting members of our proud Association deem me worthy of Chairman Elect for 2013 that would begin a 3 year commitment to ORRA. I would address the greatest challenges as a 3 year body of work. (Chair -elect, Chair , Past) Working cohesively with the Elected leaders and ORRA staff to resolve all challenges is key to being a successful leader for all 3 years. Our job as elected volunteers is to steer the "ship" into great opportunities and away from troubled waters. We allow our very competent staff to keep our daily operation "ship shape." The biggest challenge is to expand our education activities. Have non Realtors, neighboring Boards members and other RE industry entities taking advantage of our great opportunities. We have a core product that is exceptional and a resource for our Region. Thank You.

Zola Szerencses, RE/MAX 200 Realty: I see two major long term challenges facing our industry. The first relates to a continuing nationwide difficulty in producing a high level of educated, knowledgeable and ethical practitioners who adhere to the highest standards of professionalism in their practice. This will only change when we decide as an industry to raise the bar –time is of the essence as consumer attitude will not wait. The second issue is helping our members keep up with the rapid changes in our industry – the financing mechanisms, changes in government and lending regulations, etc. all contribute to the lowering of consumer confidence in the future and affect the sale of "big ticket” items like homes and cars. Short term, our primary challenge in Central Florida is the reduction of foreclosure inventory in an environment of tightened lending & credit regulations

Position: Vice Chairman (two positions available; two candidates)

  • Cindy Brads, Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate (vice chairman of budget and finance)
  • Jen Dollar, Realty Executives Seminole (vice chairman of strategic planning)

Cindy Brads, Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate: I think that we have an on-going challenge, of involvement by those, other than the same selected few who volunteer their time, to serve our members. We, as volunteers at ORRA, are taxed with making decisions that affect our profession, knowing that we have so many different levels and business strategies of our members. I see ORRA as a resource to our members. We need to be here for them; to assist them and educate them, but, in turn, be cognizant that we are not competing with them by offering services that can be seen as in competition with, any of our members. We strive, and continue to perfect, the ways in which our members want to be educated, communicated with, and represented, in the various arenas that touch on our profession at the local, state, national, and international levels.

Jen Dollar, Realty Executives Seminole: I will focus on increasing ORRA’s membership benefits. The effort to further this goal improves ORRA’s already high level of activity and involvement, and it helps further our place as the voice of Real Estate in Central Florida. I would like to see us explore adding satellite locations. These added locations would offer members the opportunity to take educational courses, as well as providing workspaces for them to conduct business transactions. A majority of our membership does business in more than one county, and quite often the brokerage they work for is not in a convenient location in relation to where they are servicing customers. Creating satellite locations could be a great way to assist our members who face logistical obstacles, and it provides a tangible benefit to all members.

Position: Affiliate Director (one position available; one candidate)

  • Alice Weinberg, Seminole County Property Appraiser

Alice Weinberg, Seminole County Property Appraiser: Economic Climate;educating Realtors, RE Professionals & Consumers how to improve & work together on solutions




Position: Director (four positions available; eight candidates)

  • Abby Barboza, Abbey Road Realty, LLC
  • Dennis Burgess, Legends Realty
  • Michael Demcho, Watson Realty Corp.
  • Len Goffredo, Abbey Road Realty, LLC
  • Dan Lopez, Legends Realty
  • Reese Stewart, RE/MAX Properties, SW
  • Theodora Uniken Venema, Downtown Brokers, LLC
  • Sharon Voss, Watson Realty Corp.

Abby Barboza, Abbey Road Realty:The power of a group is directly related to the union of its members. Therefore, an association is only as strong as the glue that bonds its people together. It is my humble opinion that the greatest challenge ORRA should address in 2013 is member apathy. The changes taking place in our industry require a unified front, which is the most efficient way to face the challenges to come. Our strategic plan should include a grass roots campaign, that taps into the most enthusiastic and energetic personalities, therefore creating an ambassadorship which reaches both active members, not engaged, and inactive members unaware of the value of membership. A movement that builds excitement through relationship building and education.

Dennis Burgess, Legends Realty: Perceptions are one’s reality, and we must address these on two fronts: the public's perceptions and those of fellow ORRA members.

The abundance of real estate websites has so emboldened the public that we must fight harder to prove our worth to them. Though more informed and educated, the public remains inquisitive- and our charge is to have a ready answer should the "Why do I need you?" question arise. If folks feel they can get our product elsewhere, we must use the value of our service to rise above other sources they utilize.

A few members serve ORRA a great deal- while many members don't serve at all. Those of us who have chosen to serve bear the onus of showing others the benefits of service- and of working to change the perceptions of members who may feel that our association itself (or service to it) isn't worthwhile.

Michael Demcho, Watson Realty Corp.In today's world it's tough to focus in on any one thing as our "greatest challenge". It's my belief that the pace of change has accelerated to a point where all of us face a number of challenges each and every day. Our association is no different, but while we have no singular greatest challenge let's talk, in the interest of space on one of the priorities I believe would serve our association well. 1. Professional Standards- I'm hearing more and more agents talking as if they were principles in a transaction and creating adversarial situations where none need to exist. This usually doesn't benefit the customer. I'd like to create online coaching sessions reinforcing the art of positive negotiation. Coaching our membership to positively interact with their fellow practitoners to get the best possible outcome for the Customer.

Len Goffredo, Abbey Road Realty: The biggest challenge facing the association in 2013 is educating its members with the most current course curriculums available. To be clear, "Education matters!” It is a critical building block for development of our members, no matter how long in the profession. Education should be an inclusive and central component of the association’s efforts to protect the public and increase the earning power of its members. Studies have shown that education yields a higher rate of return, than any other investment available. Moreover, it has been proven time and time again, that it is the prerequisite for short and long-term growth. In an ever evolving world, filled with electronic gadgets and search engines, where the Realtor is seldom the sole keeper of the key of information, it is more important than ever to engage and educate.

Dan Lopez, Legends Realty: We’re noticing significant improvement in our local market. However, we’ll also experience an increase in consumer complaints derived from our distressed housing market. Government, groups or individuals will try to diminish our property rights and our ability to make a living in our chosen field. Let’s counter these forces from impeding on our homes, our jobs, our lifestyle and still focus on improving ourselves as an industry. A solution is greater involvement from membership. With over 8,400 members, we’re a force to be reckoned with however, the best defense is a better offense. Let’s focus on helping our members be the best, most knowledgeable real estate professionals in the industry. Quality courses, effective communication and a focused agenda are the elements to a well informed engaged membership and a superior board of Realtors

Reese Stewart, RE/MAX Properties, SW: As a previous Director and Vice Chairman of ORRA I still believe everything that ORRA does should be focused on what is in the "Best Interest” of our members. I believe that our greatest challenge is always going to be not only protecting the property rights of owners of real estate but also that real estate ownership is within the means of anyone who wishes to own real estate. ORRA can better insure this by continually being involved in community relationships, legislative issues (local, state and nationally). Things change daily and I think ORRA needs to stay abreast of these changes and adapt efficiently and effectively. Bottom line is that the more ORRA keeps this in sight the better it is going to be for our members. The end result is more business for the members which equates to our members being profitable.

Theodora Uniken Venema, Downtown Brokers, LLC: Banks in our Real Estate Business operating without a license and without adhering to our Ethics Code




Sharon Voss, Watson Realty Corp.: Keep a positive word out about our ever changing Real Estate market – in other words, we as board members need to help shape a positive future. Maintain a good line of communications between the ORRA Board and it’s membership. A challenge is always trying to get the members involved – bringing in new faces. I’m hoping this coming year with the new agents coming in we might be able to show them the value of being involved. However, I feel the greatest challenges are the Budget constrictions and fluctuating membership. In our economy this will continue to be a problem.. a guessing game. We have been very fortunate to maintain our membership with new members joining every day even with members retiring. I will say one thing – ORRA has a good handle on the budget and has kept up with the ever fluctuating times. Good job!

ORRA Partners
ORRA would like to thank our Partners for their continuing support.
View the full list of ORRA Partners.