PRESIDENT'S CORNER: Setting Our Priorities for 2023

PRESIDENT'S CORNER: Setting Our Priorities for 2023
Tony D’Anzica, HGAR 2023 President

I begin my year as the President of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors by looking back and being grateful for our achievements and for the obstacles that we’ve overcome over the past several years. But in doing so, I often wonder whether our members know about our successes, realize how they benefited, or even know what our mission is as a trade association?

As a real estate trade association, our fundamental purpose is to influence public policy in a direction favorable to our members and our industry. Our own mission statement provides that our fundamental goal is to “create opportunities for members to grow their businesses.”

Over the last few years, we navigated our way through the COVID pandemic, lobbied hard to ensure that our members qualified for COVID unemployment benefits during the pandemic, and achieved the Global Ambassador Association of the Year and Platinum awards—two of the National Association of Realtors’ top global honors. In the wake of the George Floyd murder, our Board of Directors engaged in a long, yet heartfelt discussions about race and equality resulting in an amendment to our bylaws creating a permanent Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) standing committee. A DEI committee at large was also created, a DEI Director was hired, and a Leadership Accelerator Program was launched to discover and train future leaders from all backgrounds.

From a legislative perspective, HGAR successfully lobbied against “Good Cause Eviction,” won the battle to enact co-op transparency legislation in Westchester County, and reached 105% of our RPAC goals in 2022. Those are just a select few of our achievements in a nutshell.

Our collaborative efforts have brought together Realtor associations from the entire tri-state region to develop and present innovative programming and events. From our annual Global Real Estate summits to our first ever DEI Summit in 2022, HGAR leads with ideas and through collaboration. Collaboration has allowed us to build close relationships with our Realtor partners throughout New York State, New Jersey, Connecticut as well as Canada, Portugal and beyond.

Each year builds on the success of previous years. For my part, I will continue to lead through collaboration and build on the partnerships we have created around our region and around the world. Our top priority in 2023 will be to complete our nationwide search for a permanent CEO to replace Richard Haggerty, who recently assumed the post of CEO of OneKey MLS. In the first quarter of this year, we will roll out a brand-new website that will transform how we communicate and share information with our members. We are already working to reimagine our annual Member Day to create a new experience in a bigger and better venue.

We are also completely redeveloping our County Day experience. This year, every one of our six counties will enjoy a new County Day experience that will be both informative and fun. Whether it is networking, exploring commercial real estate or local economic development and legislative issues and initiatives, HGAR aims to bring the member experience to you locally.

Additionally, I have already initiated two Presidential Advisory Groups (PAG). The first PAG will explore the options we have regarding the future of the commercial building that HGAR acquired as a result of the Bronx merger and to identify the best way to deploy this valuable asset in light of our needs as a thriving and growing association. The second PAG will assess how we deliver our newspaper, Real Estate in Depth. This PAG will be charged with conducting a survey of our members, studying the impact of the newspaper on our operations, and ensuring that our members continue to receive ALL the news and content that they expect in the most effective way possible.

Neither the last nor the least of my 2023 initiatives, I intend to challenge each of our members to begin a discussion about environmental sustainability. A recent study found that most leading investors strongly agree that “green strategies can drive higher occupancy, higher rents, higher tenant retention and overall higher value.” While this all comes at a higher cost, the benefits of greening our buildings go beyond the financial to ensuring a more sustainable built environment that leads to better air quality and better health.

New laws, like Local Law 97 in NYC, and proposed legislation in NYS, will impact everything from how we build homes to whether natural gas can be used as a fuel. Therefore, I invite you to join me as HGAR launches its committee on sustainability because these laws WILL impact your business and your clients. As real estate professionals, we must learn, adapt and be a part of this conversation.

As I look forward to 2023, I look back to our members. Through recessions and pandemics our industry and our association have always come back bigger, better and stronger—thanks to the resiliency and strength of our members, our staff and our leadership team. At more than 14,000 members strong, I am humbled to lead one of the largest Realtor associations in the United States. I am even prouder to be a member of an association that has always demonstrated its willingness to lead during the easy times and the hard ones. Let’s work together to make 2023 the best it can be!

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