It is hard to believe that only nine years ago 140 real estate professionals got together in Savannah, Ga., for the first IAMC Professional Forum. I was one of those curious souls in attendance. My approach to this new organization was one of caution. I was so cautious I had refused to join until I had the opportunity to see what the group was all about. While in Savannah, I met two members that were card-carrying evangelists for IAMC. In an effort to protect the innocent, I will call them "David" and "Becky."
David and Becky had very high energy levels, and they certainly went out of their way to make sure that I met everyone and learned all I could about IAMC. I can say without a doubt it was my experience with these two that sold me on becoming a member of the organization. You see, not once in four days did they take the time to sell me on their own companies. They were both sales professionals but, during that week, they were only selling IAMC. That was my introduction to this organization's core values.
Around IAMC's third year, I lost my job in Chicago. Several IAMC members kept in touch with me during those months of unemployment. One in particular (I will refer to him as "Pat"), called me on a weekly basis. You see, Pat knew what I was going through; he wanted to make sure I did not get too down and disconnected. The summer of 2004 proved to me that IAMC has a membership that takes personal connections beyond the normal business level.
My next story takes us to the IAMC Forum in San Diego. I had been inactive with the organization for a few years but now I was settled into a new position and ready to get re-engaged. I ended up sharing an evening dinner with an IAMC board member. Let's see … for now we will call him "Charles." Charles and I covered a lot of topics that evening, and one of them was to create a roadmap for me to get more involved in IAMC. Looking back, I am certain that I had no idea that evening was going to lead me to the chairperson position. But it did, and I would not be chair today without that mentoring session with Charles.
Why am I telling you these stories? They are just a few examples of the thousands of occasions when an IAMC member listened to a problem, shared knowledge, introduced business contacts and/or served as a mentor to a fellow member. I have definitely added to my professional development by becoming an engaged member of IAMC.
As I wrap up my term as IAMC Chair, I need to come up with some new personal goals. One of them must be to give back to this organization. I know that I am going to get back to working on a few committees. After all, that is where the good ideas come from. Maybe I will reach out to our newer members with the hope that I can mentor them in their profession and their broader careers.
So now I pass the Chairman gavel to Mert Livingstone for the 10th year of IAMC. Mert, I know you will have a great year. You have 548 members ready to get engaged. I am proud to be one of them.Doyle Shea