Realtors with military experience give back - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

Realtors with military experience give back

April 4th, 2019 development
Realtors with military experience give back

By COLLEEN SPARKS, Managing Editor

Veterans, nonprofit activists and other East Valley movers and shakers used to taking charge on the battlefield and in their communities are expanding their leadership after participating in a Realtors association program.
A class of 12 people graduated from the SouthEast Valley Regional Association of Realtors’ leadership development program on April 4 in Chandler.
They met every week from January to early April to learn about building their communities and becoming better leaders and Realtors.
Interested candidates have to apply and undergo an extensive review process. They must have been a SEVRAR member for the past 18 months in good standing and have been a Realtor for at least that amount of time.
At SEVRAR’s office on East Northrop Boulevard in Chandler, they polished their public speaking skills and tackled group projects.
Most recently, they prepared, packaged and gathered stress balls, inspirational bookmarks, crossword puzzles, tumblers and other items to fill boxes with gifts and delivered them to veterans at the Arizona State Veteran Home – Phoenix on March 21.
Sarah Lossing, of Chandler, a Realtor with Platinum Living Realty, enjoyed gaining leadership skills and getting to know other Realtors in the program.
“I see a lot of avenues to participate in our community and have been in different charitable organizations but just never had that official training in leadership,” the four-year Realtor said.
“One of the biggest things is being able to communicate with people,” she added. “We learned about a lot of different personality traits.”
She said she is glad the group decided to help patients in the veterans home as her father is a Korean War veteran.
The community project was also close to the hearts of three leadership program students who had served in the military – Bruce Bouldin, Dave Rosenfeld and Angela Tauscher.
Tauscher of Queen Creek, a Realtor at West USA Realty’s Chandler office, served in the Army Reserve for six years and said she is glad the boxes were donated to the skilled-nursing care center that serves Arizona veterans and their spouses since the family members of military members sacrifice a lot.
“I think my family deserves more of a thank you than I do,” Tauscher said. “The fact that this community project is not just about the vets, it’s about the veterans and their families, for me is a big deal. It’s hard on the families.”
A married mother of a 19-year-old daughter, Justice; a 16-year-old son, Payton; and a 15-year-old son, Ethan; she is in her third year as a Realtor and previously owned a landscaping business.
Tauscher was deployed during Operation Enduring Freedom hours from her home in the United States for about six months, leaving her then 6-month-old child, who she was breastfeeding, and her 3-year-old behind.
She was a medical supply sergeant and said she was “living in limbo” during her deployment, expecting to go to Iraq, though that did not happen.
Tauscher said after taking the leadership program, she wants to serve on a Rotary Club board and on one of SEVRAR’s committees. She has volunteered as a Queen Creek Chamber of Commerce ambassador. Tauscher is also a chapter director consultant for BNI Absolute Business Builders.
“It’s been fun getting to know other Realtors outside of my brokerage,” Tauscher said. “I really wanted to know more about the back of different departments, who does what; how could I possibly volunteer and serve. It’s paycheck of the heart. It’s a huge commitment, but I know it’s for the better of the industry.”
She said the leadership program group is diverse.
“I think some of the biggest eye openers for me are how we’re all in the same industry but we think so differently,” Tauscher said. “There’s a thousand different ways a transaction can be run. Sometimes being in real estate can be a lonely field.”
Rosenfeld, of Gilbert, a Realtor with RE/MAX Alliance Group, retired from the Army after 22 years.
He is in his second year as a Realtor and had also sold tactical equipment to the military and federal government before getting into the real estate industry.
The former paratrooper said it was good being surrounded by others who wanted to be “achievers” in the leadership program.
“They all want to better help their clients,” he said. “The greatest takeaway here is we are all so different. I have to be cognizant that we’re all leaders.”
Rosenfeld is president of his homeowners association and vice-chairman of SEVRAR’s Community Outreach Committee.
He said the leadership program members had different ideas about what organization to help and he is glad someone recommended helping veterans.
Rosenfeld said some of the veterans at the home use wheelchairs and walkers and have had limbs amputated.
“The biggest thing these guys want is somebody to talk to,” he said. “When somebody new walks in, it’s uplifting.”
The leadership group not only delivered the boxes to the patients at the veterans home but also participated in karaoke and visited with them for a while.
Bouldin, of Casa Grande, an associate broker for HomeSmart, has worked in real estate for 31 years and served in the Marine Corps for four years. His father had served in the military and his two sons are in the military.
“It’s kind of who you are,” Bouldin said. “We subscribe to the fact that freedom’s not free.”
He also volunteers as a public information officer for FEMA and the American Red Cross and previously helped wounded warriors through a program in another state.
Bouldin said the leadership program helped him.
“It has given me some contacts that I probably wouldn’t have had,” he said. “It’s given me insight to things that happen behind the scenes. I think that sometimes to get ahead you have to stop what you’re doing and help those around you. It just can’t all be about you. In management, you have to step back and become more humble.”
Melissa Al-Rifai, of Gilbert, a loan officer for Bell Bank Mortgage in Chandler, said the group project was one of her favorite activities in the program.
“A lot of the folks in this class are type A personalities,” she said. “In the past, I’ve worked on a team where I’ve naturally evolved as a leader. I’ve learned to not be that person and identify people’s strengths.”
She said she is glad the group helped the veterans as she is happy to help “anybody in need.” Al-Rifai said she found the idea for “sunshine boxes” designed to “bring smiles to people’s faces” from someone out of state.
T.J. Maxx donated the shoeboxes, a member of the leadership team spraypainted them and everyone in the group contributed something, she said.
Duane Washkowiak, of Tempe, SEVRAR vice-president and a broker and partner with Realty Executives, started the leadership program SEVRAR offers in 2004. He had graduated from the Tempe Leadership Program years ago.
“I felt that that gave me a little bit of insight to the city and how it worked as a resident of Tempe, and I felt that type of program would lend itself well to helping Realtors understand the communities that they serve,” Washkowiak said, adding:
“I modeled some of the (SEVRAR) classes after things I learned in the Tempe Leadership Program.”
He said the SEVRAR program helps participants become better at public speaking and get a “better understanding of the community and how the community serves its citizens.”
“We basically set up a round robin of visits for Realtors with different entities that serve the community,” Washkowiak said. “We expect the people that go through to give back to the communities they serve. I think it’s very important for them if they want to be successful.”
A panel reviews applications people submit to try to get in the program and asks applicants what they hope to gain from the classes, he said. This year 17 people applied for the leadership program.
“There’s a group project involved with every class,” Washkowiak said. “The whole idea is to have something that would have a lasting effect. It’s all about growing as a leader, how do you take those things that you learn and turn them into actions that will have results.”
SEVRAR advocates for homeowners with the leadership program and its members get “clued in to the big picture,” he said.
“The bottom line is no one pays us to represent homeowners, but we feel that it’s good for all people to support the home-buying industry because it’s where families spend most of their time,” Washkowiak said.
“Those people are much more engaged in the processes and have a better understanding of what it means to be a Realtor,” Washkowiak said. “It’s not just about selling real estate, it’s about building clients for life and building relationships, being part of the community.”