It is that time of the year again when the chief elected officers of REALTOR® organizations across the country look at the past 12 months and ask themselves, what was accomplished, where did the time go and how is our organization better than it was the year before?
My initial response, which I suspect reflects that of many of my peers, was to ask how did the year pass so quickly? Did I accomplish everything on my list? Is Greater Tampa REALTORS® a better organization as a result of my presidency, and are we ready to meet the challenges of 2022?
By any measure, 2021 for GTR was a year of innovation, experimentation, and achievement. As our member brokerages, agent teams and agents themselves struggled to adapt to the pandemic and historic market conditions, we were thankful that GTR could offer support, data and analysis, and practical solutions.
The COVID-19 pandemic affected every aspect of our industry and marketplace. GTR quickly shifted its energies and efforts to ensure programs and services remained relevant, and it helped manage the effects the pandemic had on members, their business and careers.
Every member of the GTR leadership and staff spent significant time and energy working with members and helping them understand the forces, trends, and disruptions affecting their industry and marketplace. Frustration levels grew when ordinary efforts to move forward encountered these forces, and yet GTR adapted.
I want to extend my appreciation to the entire GTR staff who learned to co-exist and collaborate in a remote environment. They did an extraordinary job. GTR CEO Dennis MacDonald is the right person in the right place. The GTR leadership team is proud of Dennis and the GTR staff’s efforts.
The GTR leadership team also rose to the occasion. Implementing our new business plan midst pandemic, resulted in closer working relationships among our directors. We had level-up our knowledge and create a more focused approach to the unique challenges the pandemic presented. This more seasoned leadership team is now fully prepared to exceed the challenges of 2022. It was a privilege and an honor to work with them over the past year. The now famous “hot” market also made the year unique. Our members faced situations, circumstances and client demands never before encountered. By all accounts it appears GTR members handled the characteristics of the “hot” market with flair and professionalism. We can all be proud to be associated with 15,000 committed and motivated real estate professionals.
Our year, and industry, was further challenged by a third force: the organic transitions caused by massive venture capital investment, exploding new technologies, the continuing emergence of the millennial consumer, and the phenomenon of institutional investment for rentals, all of which played a role in changing the nature our market.
Every GTR member brokerage and agent today is in a very different configuration on a new future course. Further, 2022 promises to be yet another unique experience and your GTR organization already is preparing to meet those challenges and exciting opportunities.
The entire GTR community learned a lot about themselves, their market and their consumers in 2021. They were challenged by not one but three distinct forces that might have toppled a lessor group. But GTR persevered, adapted and overcame. I am looking forward to 2022 and the leadership of President-Elect Ruth Bryson who brings to the GTR podium what I believe to be the perfect combination of leadership knowledge, skills and experience. Ride on Ruth – we are all behind you.
The lessons learned by GTR were wonderfully articulated by the following language from a Pew Research Center study released earlier this year.
When pandemics sweep through societies, they upend critical structures, such as health systems and medical treatments, economic life, socioeconomic class structures and race relations, fundamental institutional arrangements, communities and everyday family life. This indeed is what happened in our Tampa Bay marketplace.
Oh, and about those questions I posed at the beginning. I think we had a great year and I believe that your GTR is fully prepared to assist its members to succeed and prosper moving forward. But it did take a village.
ELLIE LAMBERT 2021 President Greater Tampa REALTORS®