On Tuesday, NAR President Bob Goldberg shared some big news about his staff restructuring. He says, “We’re moving rapidly to bring about organizational realignment, reduce bottlenecks, and drive efficiency. Tuesday, I posted news in The Hub about the consolidation of our marketing, events, and communications teams under Matt Lombardi and the consolidation of our political advocacy and lobbying teams under Bill Malkasian. These two changes take effect immediately. But that’s just the beginning. This is an organization-wide realignment that will:
- Put a new level of focus on member satisfaction
- Introduce a holistic communications and marketing strategy
- Bring more synergy to our political advocacy efforts
- Drive innovation
- Give us greater insight from NAR’s member and consumer data
- Increase nimbleness and speed in our decision making and reaction times
All told, 227 of our employees will be under new leadership. What’s most important about this is the massive culture change underlying the shifts. As talented and hardworking as our staff are, they have been hamstrung to a certain extent by the silo mentality that’s inherent in most corporate structures. Several months ago, we did away with referring to staff “departments” or “divisions,” instead opting to use the words “teams” and “groups.” With this reorganization, we take the next step, creating a matrixed organization centered around meeting your needs.
Effective Feb. 16, here are the groups and leaders of the new NAR.
- LEADERSHIP RESOURCES: Group Leader: Erin Campo
This more focused group will report directly to me and will ensure key leadership groups are fully integrated in our larger vision and goals. This team will manage leadership travel and outreach, facilitate their meetings, and serve as their main points of contact. In addition, the team will act as chief administrators of the association, coordinating with all our new groups to create stronger cohesion in everything we do.
- COMMERCIAL & GLOBAL SERVICES: Group Leader: Janet Branton
Janet’s team remains focused on delivering service and value to our members working in the commercial and global arenas; helping local and state associations strengthen and build membership in these segments; and building and maintaining partnerships with real estate professional organizations around the world. Currently, the team fosters more than 90 allied partnerships in over 70 countries with the goal of ensuring accessible, profitable, and ethical marketplaces for REALTORS® to conduct business.
- FINANCE: Group Leader: John Pierpoint
John’s team serves as good stewards of association finances, overseeing budgeting, tax, audit, financial analysis, and real estate management. In addition, the Finance group will be forming a new area focused on centralized procurement for the association, designed to provide greater efficiency and savings to the entire organization.
- HUMAN RESOURCES: Group Leader: Donna Gland
Our most-valuable asset in delivering outstanding products and services to our members is our staff. We strive to hire not only the best and the brightest-but also those embracing our member-centric approach; that’s the way to move the association forward and drive the innovation that’s critical to members’ success. Donna’s team makes this happen through selective recruiting, ongoing training, a solid employee relations program, and competitive compensation and benefits. We are working to be “the employer of choice,” which we know will translate into exceptional service for our members.
- INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY: Group Leader: Mark Lesswing
The flow of information is vital to modern association management. Mark’s team focuses on staff-facing IT services and supporting, improving, and keeping secure NAR’s enterprise technology infrastructure. These systems serve associations nationwide and include the $1 billion e-commerce network, member information network (NRDS), and RAMCO association management systems. In addition, Mark’s team represents NAR on technical standards organizations inside and outside of the industry including the Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO).
- MARKETING, COMMUNICATIONS & EVENTS: Group Leader: Matt Lombardi
Matt’s group will drive a holistic and integrated marketing/communications strategy that ensures consistent branding, design, and messaging standards for the association. This group will also create, manage, and produce meetings and events to have a consistent look, feel, and production quality. The result will be a focused approach to NAR marketing, communications, and events.
- MEMBER DEVELOPMENT: Group Leader: Marc Gould
Driving an integrated education strategy for NAR’s members, Marc’s group delivers engaging education and professional development programs online and in the classroom. The team creates and maintains our valuable designation and certification programs. Marc will continue to serve as dean of student services for REALTOR® University. In addition, the member development team is taking an innovative approach to NAR’s Leadership Academy and two programs currently in development: NAR’s Commitment to Excellence and the new financial wellness program.
- MEMBER EXPERIENCE: Group Leader: Katie Johnson
As NAR’s General Counsel, Katie continues to lead the legal affairs team in protecting the assets and policies of NAR and its subsidiaries as well providing valuable risk management resources to members and REALTOR® associations. Now, Katie will also oversee NAR’s new member experience team, which will focus on ensuring that all members and REALTOR® associations are highly engaged and satisfied with NAR’s many offerings. This team will leverage the tens of thousands of contacts and interactions NAR staff has with members on a monthly basis through the call center, nar.realtor, the Executive Outreach Program, and NAR’s many committees in order to improve the way members and associations view and interact with NAR. This new group brings together the InfoServices, Association Leadership Development, HR Connection for Associations, and the Association and MLS Governance (formerly Board Policy & Programs) teams.
- POLITICAL ADVOCACY: Group Leader: Bill Malkasian
Most of you know that Bill was previously the long-time AE for the Wisconsin REALTORS®. For the past several years, he has been overseeing our campaign services team. Under his leadership, we’ll generate greater synergy in our advocacy efforts by bringing together our lobbying, fund-raising, and grassroots advocacy teams.
- RESEARCH: Group Leader: Lawrence Yun
Under Lawrence, we’re building centralized research capabilities for NAR. The team will continue to do economic forecasting and conduct research on behalf of NAR across disciplines. In this new structure, our marketing research staff and predictive analytics teams will join Lawrence’s group. This will provide faster data-gathering capability and a deeper understanding of members, their involvement and satisfaction in the association, and factors affecting business success. The application of data scientists with machine learning will also help us better understand consumer decisions about real estate transactions in the growing world of Big Data.
- STRATEGIC BUSINESS, INNOVATION & TECHNOLOGY: Group Leader: Mark Birschbach
This group will seek to drive industry innovation and benefits to members through strategic relationships with a broad range of business and technology players. In addition to Second Century Ventures and the REach® Accelerator program, Mark will take on management responsibilities for the REALTOR® Benefits Program, the Center for REALTOR® Technology, NAR’s top level domains products, and its relationship with Move Inc., operator of realtor.com. Mark will also lead the effort to create and collaborate with a strategic think tank of world class business leaders and innovators to ensure that NAR is at the forefront of emerging technologies and business trends that will lead our association into the future.
Change of this magnitude is not easy, and one of my ongoing concerns has been how to manage and ease the anxiety level of our employees. You’ve heard my philosophy of “leadership in the sunshine.” That’s the approach I’ve taken, communicating frequently with staff and making them an essential part of the change process. They’ve joined me in engaging with members in social media. They’ve shaped the new Executive Outreach and “Day in the Life of a REALTOR®” programs. And they provided valuable input on the organizational study that led to this shift. In other words, our employees are facing a challenging time-but they are 100 percent behind these changes.
With all this sunshine comes new accountability and new responsibility for every member of our team. So I’m working with our HR team to improve the quality of our work life and eliminate rules that no longer make sense. This fall, for example, we relaxed the dress code, and we introduced a new Intranet website to improve internal collaboration. Next, we’ll undertake a comprehensive employee survey to ensure we’re doing all we can to attract and retain world-class talent.
When I became CEO, it was with a strong desire and commitment to make positive change at NAR. I want to thank both the staff and the members for supporting this vision. We are owning it, and as we evolve under this new structure, we are counting on your feedback to keep us moving forward. On behalf of our entire team, we look forward to working with you in 2018.