By Rebecca Donatelli
Fall 2016: I had made it to the end of my first year in the real estate business. It was a solid first year, and I had earned the “Rookie of the Year” title at my brokerage. I was excited about my new venture, but still terrified nonetheless.
I’ll never forget it—I was tapped on the shoulder by a fellow REALTOR® I had recently worked with, who invited me to a YPN happy hour. I didn’t have the faintest idea what YPN was, but I knew what happy hour was, which was good enough for me. When I arrived, I got my glass of wine and began mingling with the other REALTORS® at the event. To be honest, I had no idea what the heck I was doing there. Why was I spending time mingling with my competition when I could be out selling houses? It didn’t make sense, but I continued to chat.
By the end of the evening, the same REALTOR® who invited me to the happy hour asked if I’d be interested in joining the YPN committee. As she began explaining what YPN is, I became more intrigued. “Young” professionals (not in age, but at heart; young in the business) coming together to grow, network, and evolve.
By 2018, my involvement with YPN began to grow. I was selected to serve as the Lake & Geauga Area Association of REALTORS® YPN vice-chair. That same year, I traveled to Chicago for the YPN Leadership Retreat (recently rebranded to YPN Advance), where I was truly inspired. I found myself in a room surrounded by 200 of my fellow YPNers, many of whom are industry leaders, board presidents, and top producers. It was empowering to not only meet them but also to learn from them, hear how they had made a real impact on the real estate industry, and see how their hands-on experience through YPN allowed them to build their business at a rapid pace.
I left feeling so grateful for countless reasons. For one, they were all so willing to share their best practices for growing their businesses as well as their YPN networks. I met past NAR 30 Under 30 honorees who graciously shared their journey into leadership and how they had earned that prestige title, which had been a huge goal of mine since entering the business. The following year, I was honored in the 2019 class of 30 Under 30.
YPN develops true leaders, and I was inspired to become one of them. I was able to develop a voice within the real estate industry, and a loud one at that. Since then, I’ve become a proud RPAC President’s Circle member and the LGAAR 2020 REALTOR® of the Year. I was also recently voted to be LGAAR’s 2021 president-elect, which will make me one of the youngest board presidents since in my association’s 91 years of existence.
When I meet with clients, I am proud to tell them I’ve had an active voice in changing laws to protect their private property rights. I am proud to be a leader within the real estate industry, on the local, state, and national levels—and I owe that to YPN.
Finally, I’ve saved the best for last: YPN has given me a real sense of community. We lift each other up and we help each other grow. Iron sharpening iron, if you will. YPN is comprised of industry leaders and powerful voices who I now proudly know as my family.
To put it simply, YPN has inspired me. I challenge you to get involved to see how YPN will inspire you.
Rebecca Donatelli, C2EX, ABR, SRS, is a residential agent and team lead of The Rebecca Donatelli Team with McDowell Homes Real Estate Services in Cleveland, Ohio. She was honored in REALTOR® Magazine’s 2019 class of 30 Under 30 and has been honored as a top real estate professional in Northeast Ohio by Cleveland Magazine since 2018. She also received the Lake & Geauga Area Association of REALTORS® 2020 REALTOR® of the Year. Rebecca has built a large online presence through social media, specifically Instagram. Follow her @rebeccadonatelli.REALTOR.