Despite the unexpected challenges of a hurricane passing through the day before, hundreds of of the industry’s most influential real estate brokers and agents gathered, on Fri., Nov. 11, for a night of networking, celebration and education at RISMedia’s 26th annual, invitation-only Power Broker Reception & Dinner, which honors the Top 500 brokers in RISMedia’s Annual Power Broker Report & Survey.
The annual recognition of real estate’s “who’s who” carries a longstanding tradition of being a gathering place for the industry’s top performing brokers, and this year’s gala event was no different, as true to form, real estate leaders took planes, trains and automobiles through all sorts of travel complications from Hurricane Nicole, to be in attendance.
“I want to thank all of you, especially our sponsors, for making the extraordinary effort to be with us in the middle of a hurricane and tropical storm,” said John Featherston, founder, president and CEO of RISMedia. He also thanked the Veterans in attendance in honor of Veterans Day, which also fell on the 11th. “Let’s not forget, your dedication and service allows us to live in this wonderful country.”
The atmosphere was lively with an added sense of excitement as RISMedia celebrated not only its 2022 Power Brokers, but also a brand new award – RISMedia’s Real Estate Rookie of the Year, sponsored by Colibri Real Estate – which was the culmination of months of preparation reviewing nominations from around the country that were submitted to RISMedia, and resulting in a stellar lineup of 10 finalists whose 2021 first-year-in-real-estate accomplishments are incredible by any standard.
Following a photo shoot of the evening’s award winners and Rookie of the Year nominees and a networking cocktail reception, Featherston started the evening off with a message of hope about our industry’s future as we navigate through today’s shifting market.
“We are facing a very different environment than we were a year ago, two years ago,” Featherston said. “We’re going to go through some trying times over the next six months, perhaps a year, perhaps 18 months, but you’re not here to survive; you’re here to excel and exceed expectations…We know that the future is bright because you’re providing people with one of the American Dreams, and that is homeownership. Without you, there are millions of people in this country that would not achieve the goal of homeownership.”
Audience members also heard from the National Association of REALTORS 2023 Broker Relations Liaison, Kymber Lovett-Menkiti, president of Keller Williams Capital Properties in the Washington, D.C. and Maryland regions.
“As you know, the work that we do as brokers to support our agents is so important, especially in times of uncertainty. As we move into 2023 we’re going to face continually evolving and dynamic times in this industry. So I strongly encourage us all to look to each other for ways to collaborate and to be resources for each other.”
During the gala, as is tradition, RISMedia presented several awards to recognize individuals who have made significant strides in their careers and communities.
RISMedia’s Rookie of the Year Award. New to the awards presentation this year, RISMedia’s inaugural Real Estate Rookie of the Year Award, sponsored by Colibri Real Estate, was presented by Jennifer Hoff (pictured above left with Rookie of the Year Alex McFadyen, center, and RISMedia’s John Featherston), president of Colibri Real Estate. Hoff introduced the award with an inspirational video highlighting the 10 finalists for the honor and the announcement of the winner.
“Succeeding in real estate is no easy feat; many of you came from different careers and changing careers is very courageous,” Hoff said. “We know that many real estate agents come from hospitality or the healthcare industry or were teachers, and seeing them thrive in their careers is so important to us and at Colibri Real Estate, as educators, we want to be sure they’re set up for a successful future.”
She added, “In our partnerships with hundreds of brokers across the country, we’ve seen the impact that new talent can have on organizations and help them find and train top talent. The finalists here tonight demonstrate just how much these talented agents can accomplish in their first year practicing real estate. We appreciate you and congratulate you. You’re all winners.”
The top Rookie 10 finalists (pictured above from left to right: James Webb, Alex McFadyen, Jessica Gilmore, Anam Hargey, Nicole Dudley, Kelly Sand, Steve Oliveira, and Berto Barrera. Scott Chain and Mark Fontenot could not attend.) closed together a total of 471 transactions totaling $128 million.
The winning Rookie of the Year award was presented to Alex McFadyen, a REALTOR® with Coldwell Banker Advantage in Fayetteville, North Carolina. McFadyen, new to the industry in 2021, completed an incredible 89 transactions totaling $19.5 million in sales volume last year, his first full year in the business.
“I grew up in a home where real estate was a frequent topic of conversation, and I’m fortunate because I always knew that I wanted to follow in those footsteps,” McFadyen said. “I knew real estate would be my career path—and nothing else compares to the feeling of helping others buy and sell homes. And thank you to RISMedia for choosing me as the first-ever Rookie of the Year. I could not be more excited for the future!”
In addition to prizes from Colibri Real Estate, Buffini & Company also awarded McFadyen with a coaching package.
Next up, Rocket Mortgage sponsored the National Homeownership Award—bestowed upon a member of the real estate community who continuously demonstrates extraordinary contributions toward increasing homeownership and building better communities. Marshall O’Keefe, senior director of business development for Rocket Mortgage (pictured above right with Christina Pappas and Featherston), presented the award to Mike Pappas, CEO and president of the Keyes Company in Miami.
“Winning the National Homeownership Award is truly an honor, and not just for me, but for the entire organization—for the people stepping up and doing so much in our community,” said Pappas in a video played at the event. “We are truly grateful and honored to be presented with this award tonight. We believe in giving back to the community, because without that community, we have nothing. May God continue to bless us all as we navigate this changing market.”
Accepting the award on her father’s behalf at the Power Broker Dinner, Christina Pappas, Keyes Company vice president of operations, read her father’s remarks, which said, in part, “We are truly grateful and honored to be presented this award tonight. It’s always amazing to be amongst our peers, to be amongst all the incredible brokers…I know we are not the only ones giving back to the community. We often say, ‘REALTORS(R) are the heart of the community, and that’s truly what we believe.”
In an unexpected and heartfelt surprise during the event, Carl Carter, Jr., (pictured above right with Featherston) founder of the Beverly Carter Foundation, presented RISMedia’s Featherston with an award that honors the media firm’s dedication to the promotion of safety issues in real estate through its online daily news and print publications.
The Beverly Carter Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing real estate agents with safety information and tools, that Carter Jr. founded eight years ago in honor of his late mother who was kidnapped and killed while at a home showing in Arkansas.
“I’m here at NAR and if I have the option to listen to ten of the newest, sexiest topics on social media and how I can get so many followers, versus ten of the latest safety tips, I’m going to go with the first, right?” Carter Jr. said. “And then I think about an organization like RISMedia and the word, ‘integrity.’ And integrity is saying the things that are difficult, the things that are uncomfortable. RISMedia walks a very delicate line of keeping safety in the forefront and in a very genuine, transparent and non-sensationalized way. That’s what leadership looks like.
“And so with that, this pink heart-shaped piece of glass with my mom’s name etched in it, is a representation of my appreciation and the appreciation of everyone at the Beverly Carter Foundation, for John Featherston for his incredible guidance, his care. He’s been a brother, a father, a shoulder to cry on,” Carter Jr. added. “And every single person in his organization is genuine, authentic; they challenge me not just for the content that we try to put out, but to make it better, to make it resonate. To make us ask, how can we raise the bar in an authentic way that inspires people to conduct their business in a way that helps keep them alive.”
Accepting the award, Featherston said, “The tragic loss of your mother affected all of us, but her legacy lives on in all of us that are now keenly aware how precious our lives are and how we need to make sure we’re operating in an environment of safety.
“What you’re doing with the foundation, dedicating your life to helping everyone here and all their sales associates live safely is a testament to your mom and the Beverly Carter Foundation,” Featherston continued. “I thank you for this but most importantly, RISMedia is not John Featherston. RISMedia is made up of a tremendous number of wonderful professionals…dedicated to the industry and they love you and they love your mom and they’re going to help keep her legacy and dream alive. And I can guarantee we’ll be with you shoulder-to-shoulder for many years to come.”
The next award, the Real Estate Leadership Award, sponsored by Buffini & Company, was presented by Amy Somerville, vice president of Professional Development for Buffini & Company. This award is designed to honor an industry visionary who embraces innovation and exercises resilience to blaze new paths to success for real estate professionals and consumers alike. This year, it was presented to Chris Trapani (pictured above left with Featherston), CEO of Christie’s International Real Estate Sereno in Los Gatos, California.
“This leader defines leadership simply as, ‘love’—a word that’s contributed to his undeniable success and the word that most people use to describe him and his incredible impact on leadership,” Somerville said.
“It’s very difficult to fail with the blessings and opportunities and the people around me that I’ve had,” Trapani said in a video highlighting his work. “And my wife of 30 years, Kirsten, she has believed in me more than I’ve believed in myself. It’s never been about a conquest for us, we’re not trying to take over the world of real estate. I just actually believe in what quality real estate people do.”
Accepting the award at the dinner, Trapani added, “I truly share this award with everybody in this room—all the real estate leaders across the country—office managers, department leaders, real estate brokerage firm leaders—there are so many people deserving of this award and I am incredibly humbled and honored. I’ve also been blessed to work for and alongside some of the most phenomenal and exceptional leaders of our era. I want to thank John and the whole RISMedia and Buffini organizations.”
Morgan Carey, founder and CEO of Real Estate Webmasters, introduced the next award presenter for the ‘On the Shoulders of Giants’ award and shared some insights about the shifting market.
“What a challenging bit of circumstances we’ve been facing, and what better metaphor for what we’re going into as flying into the eye of the storm. That’s the market we’re facing. And it’s such an honor to be here with the leaders that are going to help us through. This is the room that will help us through this market,” Carey noted.
The On the Shoulders of Giants award, presented by Josh Bolgren, SVP, Franchise Operations for RE/MAX—was created to recognize individuals whose efforts, works, deeds and character exemplify superior achievements in and for the real estate industry. This year the honor was awarded to real estate coaching legend Judy LaDeur (pictured above with Featherston and Bolgren, right).
“It’s not an exaggeration to say Judy has shaped the lives of literally tens of thousands of brokers in this business,” said Bolgren. “When you’re talking about giants in our industry—people who have lifted others and helped them achieve their goals—you’re talking about leaders like Judy LaDeur.”
“I’m speechless,’ LaDeur said, accepting the award. “And for those of you who know me, you know that never happens. I am so humbled to be receiving this award. I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with the industry and grateful to God I’m blessed with that talent.”
The evening’s keynote speaker was Andy Florance (above left with Featherston), founder and CEO of CoStar, who spoke about the company’s history and what the company’s current and future plans are in the residential real estate space.
“When we first thought about the name of the company…we came up with CoStar to be clear that our mission was to ‘co-star’ in the real estate transaction. We didn’t want to try to use technology to replace the role of the traditional players. We wanted to improve the processes and the tools. So for 37 years, that’s been our founding principle.”
Florance later assured, “I’ve had plenty of time to take a commission; I’ve had plenty of time to do iBuying; I’ve had plenty of time to do a referral fee; I’ve had all sorts of time to do those things that people don’t like and we’ve chosen to never, ever do them.
“We have built a very successful business I believe, that has been agent centric, agent-friendly, and I think part of our success is actually working with the communities and the agents and not trying to displace or disrupt or outsmart the people in the industry,” Florance noted.
Stay tuned for more coverage of RISMedia’s conversation with Florance, as well as coverage of RISMedia’s Power Broker Forum panel.
2022 RISMedia Power Broker & Newsmakers Reception & Dinner Sponsors
Buffini & Company
Colibri Real Estate
Real Estate Webmasters
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate
Elm Street Technology
National Association of REALTORS®
Pillar To Post Home Inspectors
Cinch Home Services
Forbes Global Properties
Home Team Inspection Service
Inside Real Estate
Leading Real Estate Companies of the World
Sherri Johnson Coaching