Inclusive is only one word people may associate with the Young Professionals Network (YPN) at Seattle King County REALTORS® (SKCR). Like counterparts at nearly 400 state and local associations, this member-driven organization is focused on encouraging newer professionals to become involved with governance (policy and advocacy), leadership, education/professional development and community (volunteerism).
By policy, SKCR’s YPN strives to engage members under age 40 in meaningful ways, but there are no age or other exclusions for membership. All who would like to participate are welcomed. Our purpose is to enhance opportunities for professional growth, provide avenues to association leadership, and shape policies that meet the needs of young real estate professionals.
Asked why he joined YPN, Kale Corey, team lead at Elevated Living and a past chair of YPN at the local and state levels, said within the first year of his career he was “yearning to surround myself with like-minded individuals.” Noting the average age of Realtors is 56, Kale believed “there had to be a different way to build a business,” adding, “what better way to do so than by building relationships with people who have the same passion to serve their industry and clients.”
To facilitate the business-building goals of its members, YPN hosts regular networking events. The gatherings may feature a guest speaker or take the form of a roundtable or Q&A session.
In July, for example, the monthly networking brunch at the Washington Athletic Club featured Realtor Harrison Beacher from Coalition Properties Group in the District of Columbia. Speaking from his perspective as this year’s Fair Housing Champion for the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and a member of the DC mayor’s Black Homeownership Strike Force, Beacher spoke about leaning into diversity and inclusion.
Like most members, Hadley Elston, broker at Windermere Real Estate/East, Inc., joined for the opportunities to learn. “I joined to get fresh ideas and perspectives, as well as celebrate the success of other young members of this community.” SKCR’s incoming YPN chair adds, “We’re helping shape the future of this industry, and I wanted to contribute in any way I could.”
YPN isn’t just about professional development for up-and-coming industry professionals. Helping members stay informed about industry news and trends and promoting participation in real estate policy discussions and advocacy — and having fun — are also part of our charge.
Ten years ago, NAR honored our group with a “Network of the Year” award, recognizing excellence in activities that include training, charity events, fundraisers and networking opportunities.
As promised on our Facebook page, we strive to provide members and affiliates with a diverse array of events, ranging from seminars to happy hours, sporting activities, black tie galas and more. We have supported more than a half-dozen local charities. We’ve help recruit volunteers for association committees and SKCR’s annual environmental restoration project, and we mounted a successful campaign for YPN representation on SKCR’s board of directors.
Asked to name one benefit of belonging, Hadley commented, “In an industry that can be isolating, the YPN offers a cooperative space where Realtors can come together, support each other, and learn from one another.”
Meeting other young professionals is a benefit Hadley, who has been in the business for eight years, enjoys. She also says she’s been “delighted to learn about everything SKCR provides to its members, as well the importance of the legislative side of the industry, including RPAC and Legislative Hill Day.”
For Kale, a key benefit has been the relationships. Reflecting on his seven years of involvement he says, “I have built SO many crucial relationships and lifelong friends through this organization. I attribute most of my success in my career to this group.”
Lifelong leadership skills “in all aspects of life along with a desire to continuously serve” are other benefits cited by Kale, who is a founder of the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance. “I think I can speak for everyone in this organization when I say we love this industry and are passionate about building future young leaders and seeing them have a seat at the table.”
As for me, I would add developing a cross-county referral network has been a huge bonus. It is also gratifying to work with SKCR staff in honing our policy statement and furthering the development of an Advisory Council. I believe having members and their guests come early to our networking events and stay after adjournment to continue conversations is a testament to the value they place on YPNs.
As Kale remarked, “The minute I walked into the first meeting I knew I had found my people.”
Seattle King County REALTOR® members and affiliates pay no dues to be part of the Young Professional Network, although there are fees associated with most events. YPN receives an annual budget allocation from SKCR to promote its growth and the development of YPN leadership, such as with assistance to attend Realtor conferences.
REALTOR® Magazine launched the Young Professionals Network in 2006 as an outgrowth of the popular “30 Under 30” feature with the goal to help the younger generation of REALTORS® build a stronger link with the real estate industry and expand networking and business opportunities. The goals continue to be helping young practitioners become more business savvy via networking events, communications with other YPN members, and sharing “tips and tricks.”
Cheyenne Gillooly chairs the Young Professionals Network at Seattle King County REALTORS® and is a SKCR director. She is a broker at Keller Williams Eastside and area director at United Home Group.