Meg White is the former managing editor of REALTOR® Magazine.
It took a former President to install the next NAR president on Thursday.
Chris Polychron, 2015 NAR President, was thrilled that his old pal from Little Rock, Ark. turned up to do the honors in the Great Hall Ballroom of New Orleans’ Morial Convention Center. His friend of more than 30 years happened to be the 42nd President of the United States.
“I love Chris Polychron,” former President Bill Clinton told the audience. “He supported me when I ran for governor. He and [his wife] Janis are really good people.”
Clinton called on real estate professionals to do their part to change the discourse in an increasingly polarized and economically divided society. “We are the best-positioned country in the world for the 21st century. But we have to create an economy where we grow the middle class again. We have to cure the political dysfunction,” he said. “It starts with the way you relate to your community. I believe we cannot rise unless we continue to see [home ownership] as a source of national wealth.”
Fostering trust and community support is crucial to strengthening America’s economy and developing a more cooperative civil society. Clinton, making his fifth appearance at an NAR event, pointed out that choosing a leader with Polychron’s character was a good way for NAR to work toward such goals: “Chris always knew what was important. He always knew what was right. I always knew I could trust him. And I’m glad that you made him your president.”
Polychron, an executive broker with 1st Choice Realty in Hot Springs, Ark. beamed as he shared his sentiments about his longtime alliance with the former President. “He made time for me when he didn’t have time. That, my friends, is what reminds me of what it means to be from Arkansas,” said the 27-year real estate veteran. “I owe my entire life to the relationships I’ve made, one person at a time.”
Polychron, GRI, CRS, noted that 2014 President Steve Brown has excelled at positioning NAR to tackle the major issues facing the industry now: “He put us behind the wheel instead of in the passenger seat.”
The 2015 NAR president offered a glimpse of the year ahead, outlining three major goals of his upcoming presidency: maintaining the position of REALTORS® at the center of the real estate transaction; increased safety standards; and boosting member involvement in the association.
“We will be essential, we will be safer, and above all, we will be heard,” Polychron said. He admitted that the third item might be overly ambitious, but theorized about the huge impact that tripling the approximately 350,000 members who are directly involved in the association could have: “Can you imagine that? The REALTOR® voice could fill any room, anywhere, anytime.”
Polychron has officially begun his one-year presidential term as of Monday, Nov. 10, 2014.