By Sherri Butterfield
WRITER AND EDITOR
The ballots have been cast and counted, and five REALTORS® have been elected to serve as members of the 2020–2022 Orange County REALTORS® Board of Directors.
Beginning on Tuesday, May 7, and concluding on Tuesday, May 21, REALTOR® members of Orange County REALTORS® voted to choose five from among ten candidates to fill three-year positions on the 2020–2022 OC REALTORS® Board of Directors. The ten candidates (in alphabetical order by last name) were Cassandra Amos, Olesya Drozdova, Joyce Endo, Christina Fu, Spencer Hoo, Felix Hung, Sherrie LeVan, Chip McAllister, Lori Namazi, and Scott White. Their photos, statements, and bullet-point résumés appeared on pages 19–21 in the May/June issue of OC REALTOR® .
The election results produced a new wave of Directors:
Joyce Endo’s first career was as a registered nurse and unit manager, responsible for managing budgets and mentoring team members regarding patient care. Her introduction to real estate was as a buyer three times and then as a seller four times in fewer than five years. Joyce learned from these experiences that she had a knack for negotiating and pricing—and realized that the critical thinking, communication, and coordination skills she had developed as a nurse might be applicable to real estate!
First licensed as a real estate agent in 2005, Joyce joined Orange County REALTORS® in that same year and has since served on several committees, including Local Government Relations North, Finance, and Political Affairs and Elections. In addition, she is a member of the Orange County Chapter of the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) and was president of the Women’s Council of REALTORS® Coastal-West Orange County Network in 2017.
Three years ago, Joyce sought a position on the Orange County REALTORS® Board of Directors because she believed that her skills in strategic planning and implementation, public relations, communications, marketing, and event planning would make her an asset to the Association. She believes that “professional standards of ethics and practice are crucial” and that, through education, REALTORS® can become equipped with the knowledge they need to better serve their clients—and one another.
Joyce says that “the greatest challenge REALTORS® face today is maintaining the accuracy and reliability of shared information” and that “the Association must make available topnotch education and cutting-edge tools to help its members stay ahead of the curve in a technology-based industry so that they continue to be the most valuable advocates for homeownership and the most valuable resource for clients who are seeking to become homeowners.”
Sherrie LeVan chose real estate as a career because she wanted to manage her time so that she could both earn an income and be a good mom. First licensed in 1997, she has been a member of Orange County REALTORS® for twenty-two years. She is a graduate of the OC REALTORS® Leadership Academy and for three years served as either chair or co-chair of the Independent Broker Alliance (IBA).
Passionate about independent brokers, Sherrie says that she sought a position on the Board of Directors in part because she wanted to strengthen support for the IBA. “And,” she adds, “the REALTOR® profession could use a positive boost.” Sherrie would like to see members of the general public “view our profession as their necessary advocate in purchasing or selling a home.”
Sherrie says that the greatest challenge REALTORS® face today is educating the public to believe that having both buyer’s agents and seller’s agents working together will provide them an equitable transaction with less risk. She explains that the current trend among buyers is to want to work only with listing agents because of a mistaken belief that the price of the home they want to purchase will be reduced if the seller pays only one commission instead of two.
“We as a profession do not do a great job of explaining what we do and why representation is so necessary in our litigious world,” declares Sherrie. She wants OC REALTORS® to work with both C.A.R. and the NAR to formulate marketing campaigns that educate the public about the reasons both parties in a transaction need representation. And she is looking forward to what the Board will accomplish because “making a difference matters.”
First licensed as a real estate agent in 2015, Chip McAllister has been a member of Orange County REALTORS® for four years. He explains that, after winning the CBS Emmy-Award-winning television program The American Race, he and his wife Kim realized they could do anything they wanted if they worked together. Chip explains that Kim had always wanted to be a REALTOR®, that he decided to follow her dream, and that the result was “a perfect match.”
A recent graduate of the OC REALTORS® Leadership Academy, Chip—who describes himself as “an encourager who loves helping people”—is vice chair of the Education Committee. He adds that he wants to help new REALTORS® learn how to deal with clients, how to work comfortably with other agents, how to fill out forms correctly, and how to follow rules to the letter.
Asked to identify the greatest threat to the real estate profession, Chip mentions “discount
groups who are not client minded and don’t provide service.” He says it is important for the
general public to think of REALTORS® as “ethical people who are essential to a real estate
transaction” and wants the local, state and national Associations of REALTORS® to let people
know what REALTORS® have to offer and that they stand ready to help in every way that buyers
and sellers need.
“Kim and I want people to enjoy the process,” he adds.
After September 11, 2001, Lori Namazi was unhappy in her job and did some serious soul-searching. She explains, “I wanted to be in a field where the work really mattered.” Lori had recently married, and she and her husband Ali were blending two families. “Purchasing a home together made our union complete,” she explains, “and gave our daughters the stability we wanted for them.” Then she adds, “I wanted to help others find that same sense of fulfillment.”
Lori became a member of Orange County REALTORS® about ten years ago, after transferring from another Association. She previously served as a Director in an appointed role for one of the large brokers; however, after becoming an independent broker, she wanted an opportunity to be a voice for other independent brokers and successfully sought election to the Board.
Asked to name the biggest threat that REALTORS® face today, Lori replied emphatically, “Fear! Fear is the biggest threat to REALTORS® yesterday, today, and tomorrow. We are constantly bombarded with conflicting information, threats of new companies and new models, plus disruptors and changing technology that may or may not replace us. Those who can quiet the chaos in their ears continue to work during the changing—and challenging—cycles.”
“I have been a proud real estate professional for seventeen years,” adds Lori. “I am an advocate for having agents become familiar with what our local, state, and national Associations provide to us as part of our membership. Now, more than ever, it is important for us to be united to face the challenge of our changing industry. If you want to grow in your business, look beyond the number of transactions you do. Look into ways to stay informed and advocate for our industry. The benefits are worth the investment.”
Fourteen years ago, Scott White decided to change careers. As he describes it, he had been working for a person with no integrity. He wanted to help people without having someone force him to compromise his values. He obtained his real estate license in 2005 and joined Orange County REALTORS® in May of that same year.
Scott, who says that his passion is giving back to others through training and advocacy, has chaired the OC REALTORS® Education Committee, is a trustee for the Political Affairs and Elections Committee, has served for over three years as a facilitator for New REALTOR® Orientations, and has been a mentor to more than twenty-five REALTORS® and OC REALTORS® volunteer leaders. He explains that he sought reelection to the Board of Directors “because being a board member allows me to have a say in the direction of our industry.”
Scott identifies government regulations and disruptors like Amazon, Redfin, and Zillow as the biggest challenge—or threat—that REALTORS® face today and believes that the best way for Orange County REALTORS® to prepare its members to cope with this challenge is to “educate, educate, educate.”