Five Great Real Estate Staff Leaders Set to Retire


In the next year, five long-serving and dedicated real estate association executive officers (EO) will retire. They are; Susan Pond (Lakelands, Muskoka), Don Richardson (Toronto), Elaine O’Hara (Quinte), Cail MacLean (Durham) and Carol Mallett (Ottawa).

I’ve been fortunate to work with all of them and observe their leadership styles. I’ve identified one characteristic for each individual – see if you can guess who they are.


All EO’s think strategically but as they say, the devil is in the details and this person makes sure that every possible outcome is explored, every little question has been answered. This person’s motto is “No Surprises” which all volunteer leaders love.


I was an EO for nine years and realize the partnership with a President is vital. This EO makes sure that their President is the spokesperson and the one that is visible to the membership. This EO stays in the background and makes sure the President is always portrayed in a positive light. That’s how associations work.


Calm, reflective and patient, this EO never jumps to conclusions or makes snap decisions but asks probing questions and collects all the facts. This style reduces mistakes and protects the board from unwanted risks.


Sometimes it’s difficult to tell the difference between a rumour and a fact. Instead of jumping to conclusions, this staff leader checks out all the sources first. This EO does not follow the herd but hears it from the horse’s mouth and then develops an opinion. Rather than be critical of a perceived problem, this person avoids embarrassment for their board.


Why reinvent the wheel? Coming from a smaller board, this EO observes what other great boards are doing and then adopts their projects, services and events for their board. This saves a lot of money for the board and they get the biggest bang for their buck.

We all owe a tremendous amount of gratitude to these fine EO leaders and I hope you will be able to learn from their great example.

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