This year’s YPN Advisory Board session at the annual REALTORS® Legislative Meetings was standing room only as board members discussed the strides the network has made in the areas of advocacy, growth, brand, and events.
Before the committee started discussing the Young Professionals Network’s recent accomplishments and upcoming events, NAR President Leslie Rouda Smith and President-elect Kenny Parcell gave short speeches. Both expressed their gratitude and pride in the efforts YPN contributes to the profession and the association and made note that YPN is the bold and bright future of the industry.
The young and young at heart in YPN have strong representation in the association and their presence is felt through advocacy. The YPN board said it is committed to the long-term future of advocacy at the local, state, and national association levels.
They have ongoing efforts to ensure their presence continues to grow, as reported by board member Danny Fredricks of Region 13. The network is already exceeding its advocacy participation goals for 2022.
When it comes to growing local and state YPN presence, Sam Medvene of Region 3 noted that the advisory board wants to empower those in their respective communities with the resources to start local YPN groups.
“We’re focused on fostering grassroots efforts with local and state candidates to start new chapters and reinstate old ones that have been inactive,” he said.
For the first quarter of 2022, the board had a goal of starting 12 new YPNs. They’ve exceeded that goal, having 13 groups officially started and another 13 in the works.
Board Chair Amanda Lott of Region 4 wanted to make it known that NAR believes in the work of YPN so much so that they’ve given the board a travel stipend to help local and state YPN groups with whatever they might be struggling with. Whether it’s events, fundraising, establishing committees, etc., a YPN committee can contact the board to see if a board member might come in to help.
Additionally, the board is taking a proactive approach to visiting local and state YPN groups. As of the meeting on May 2, they’d traveled to eight states to meet with local YPNs. They’ve already solidified plans to visit an additional 13 states and were in conversation with three others to make plans.
“We’re on track to visit half the country in a single year to meet with local chapters,” Lott said.
The board emphasized that resources like NAR grants are available for starting new or revitalizing stagnated YPN committees or groups. A $1,000 grant is available to start a new YPN, and a $500 grant is available for reigniting a group that’s languished.
The grants can be used for a number of purposes, including networking, education, and awareness events. The board emphasized that those aren’t the only uses for the grants though, and encouraged interested REALTORS® who wanted to start a local YPN to submit applications and to get creative.
The board noted that exciting things are coming down the pike where branding is concerned. Jeff Conn of Region 10 told fellow board members and those in the audience that there’s now a video series in which each board member is introduced and speaks about their specific areas of interest. This video series is intended to give YPN as a whole a more intimate introduction to its advisory board members.
There are several other video series in the works that will speak to industry issues and YPN-specific interests. The various series were created to make educational and awareness topics more accessible.
Additionally, the YPN board is in the process of revamping the YPN Start-Up Kit. Lott reported that it’s about 90% complete but still needs some finalization. Right now, the kit is a downloadable PDF available on the YPN website. The board’s vision is to make it more interactive and informative.
In its new slide deck format, the start-up kit will feature video content, graphics, and how-tos.
On everyone’s mind is this year’s YPN Advance meeting, held in Chicago on August 11 and 12. The conference is for all incoming local and state YPN chairs, and it’s one of the most exciting events of the year, Lott stated.
Kate Wright of Region 5 noted that the board receives consistent feedback from attendees that the one-and-a-half-day conference isn’t long enough. Attendees hope to see it extended to a full two-day conference at some point.
After some discussion about time constraints and financials, the board voted to offer an optional half-day extension on the conference for anyone who had the time and budget to attend a full two days, so long as the optional extension was approved by NAR.
This extension would be added to the Friday schedule. The measure will not affect the 2022 event but will go into effect for Advance 2023 if it receives approval from NAR.
On the whole, the overarching message during the advisory board meeting was that YPN is strong and continues to get stronger as outreach and advancements continue on.
Nicole Slaughter Graham is a consulting editor at REALTOR® Magazine and the manager of the YPN Lounge. Connect with her at firstname.lastname@example.org.