As he wraps up his one-year term as CREB® president, Tom Westcott reflects on the challenges and changes that made for a memorable 2018.
CREB®Now: What highlights and challenges stand out from your year as president?
Westcott: We were involved in a lot of exciting stuff, both in Alberta and across the country.
The bylaw change amendments in Ottawa this spring at the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) AGM, which was rolled out as the “I say yes” campaign, gave members a choice. This put us in position to collaborate with other boards and really changed how boards work together, both around our province and across the country.
As for challenges, I’d say educating members about my role was a big one. When you become president, people think you wave a magic wand and fix all the problems, but that’s not how it works.
Also, a lot of people don’t understand who does what in the organized real estate landscape. Between the regulator (Real Estate Council of Alberta), provincial association (Alberta Real Estate Association) and national organization (CREA), there are some things CREB® has control over and others where we can only provide input. There are so many acronyms involved that it can be hard for the membership to figure out everyone’s role.
CREB®Now: What were your key takeaways from the role?
“Having success in this role is not just about saying the right thing, but doing the right thing.”
Westcott: Being president is a lot like being an agent. Having success in this role is not just about saying the right thing, but doing the right thing. Fortunately, the job is all about teamwork. I had a lot of help in that regard, so I didn’t have everything on my shoulders.
CREB®Now: Do you have any advice for incoming president Sarah Johnston?
Westcott: She doesn’t need any. Sarah has been involved as president-elect for the last year and has a good head on her shoulders. She’ll do a great job.
CREB®Now: What did it mean to serve as president during CREB®’s milestone 75th year?
Westcott: It was quite an experience, because we tried to weave the anniversary theme into everything we did. Each event had a reference to it, culminating in the Diamond Gala in late spring where we combined many smaller events into one big gathering. What helps people bond in any industry is meeting face-to-face, which is rare in the digital age.
CREB®Now: How does CREB®’s staying power speak to the important role the organization plays in Calgary real estate?
Westcott: Our role extends far beyond the city limits. Early on, CREB® helped a number of other boards get established throughout Canada. We have state-of-the art departments that are well respected, and many of them, such as IT, are approached for advice by their counterparts in different provinces. We often have visitors from other cities coming to tour our building, talk to our people and see how we do things. CREB® is not just important for Calgary and Alberta, but for real estate across the country, and that’s something that should make us all feel proud.