The Arizona Association of Realtors will have a new chief executive officer as of Dec. 1.
Michelle Lind, who is currently the trade group’s assistant CEO and has served as primary legal advisor for the association since 1999, will replace Tom Farley, who is stepping down after four years as CEO and 15 years at the association overall.
"Michelle is a proven industry leader and respected across the real estate spectrum — from the local to the national level. Her institutional knowledge of AAR, as well as her leadership, industry involvement and member interaction, were critical to the executive committee as it made this decision," Holly Mabery, the trade group’s 2012 president, said in a blog post announcing the decision.
Lind came to the Arizona Association of Realtors 20 years ago as outside legal counsel. She became the trade group’s in-house general counsel in 1999 and later became senior staff liaison to the association’s risk management committee and assistant CEO in 2008.
"Long term, my goal is to maintain a high level of understanding of the trends and developments in both the residential and commercial segments of the real estate industry," Lind told Inman News.
"By doing so, I hope to anticipate challenges and trends impacting the real estate profession, and assist the AAR leadership and staff in developing proactive responses."
Lind said her top priority in the coming year is to ensure the state association’s annual goals and objectives are met, including the development of the Arizona Realtors Business Interface (ARBI). ARBI is an integrated business platform that will provide members with a single point of access to data and services including their MLS, public records, electronic forms, digital signatures, transaction management, and broker back-office support.
Farley has previously said that once the system is up and running, AAR may license it to other associations and MLSs outside the state.
"ARBI is intended to allow Arizona Realtors to monitor and manage their daily business online with one simple, intuitive dashboard," Lind said. She anticipates an initial limited launch in first-quarter 2013.
In 2013, the Arizona association will also continue to offer development programs such as Graduate Realtor Institute (GRI) and "will look for new ways to reach the farthest corners of our state through on-demand learning initiatives and Web-based training," Lind said.
The association, which represents about 39,000 Realtors across Arizona, will keep its current legislative priorities under the continued direction of government affairs vice president Nicole LaSlavic, Lind said.
"The legislative session in Arizona begins on the second Monday of January and there will be 26 new legislative members to educate on real estate issues and our agenda," she said.
"We anticipate a variety of legislative issues including those involving anti-deficiency protections and homeowner’s association statutes."
After stepping down, Farley will continue to work on the association’s behalf as a contract lobbyist.
"He has taken our grassroots advocacy and political lobbying to a new level — and for that I know we are all grateful," Mabery said in a blog post announcing the transition.
"Tom is leaving to pursue an opportunity that he has had; a dream he did not want to pass by," she added.
Farley oversaw the association’s unsuccessful attempt to create a statewide multiple listing service last year. In August 2011, the Arizona Association of Realtors announced that its board had approved a plan to acquire Arizona Regional MLS for $4.75 million as the first step in a process to build a statewide MLS.
But the plan hit a roadblock about a month later when the SouthEast Valley Regional Association of Realtors (SEVRAR) announced that its board of directors had decided not to sell its 25 percent ownership stake in ARMLS.
Farley said at the time that the state association would continue to explore options for moving the deal forward. But when former ARMLS CEO Bob Bemis left that position in February to become Zillow’s vice president of partner relations, he said nothing was imminent.
Lind did not say whether she plans to revive the plan, but said, "If an opportunity arises for AAR to partner with local associations to explore implementing a statewide MLS, I am confident that the AAR leadership would consider the possibilities."
Comments on the trade group’s Facebook page and on the AAR blog congratulated Lind and commended AAR leadership on her selection.
"I am sooo happy – and – proud to have Michelle as our new State leader. There is no one more qualified – and deserving – to take us into the coming years! YAY, Michelle!" wrote Mike Waling, associate broker at Tierra Antigua Realty, in Tucson, Ariz.
"While Tom will be difficult to replace, Michelle is an outstanding selection. She’s crazy smart!" wrote Jay Thompson, formerly broker-owner of Thompson’s Realty in Phoenix. Thompson was hired as director of industry outreach and social media at popular real estate portal Zillow in March. Thompson’s Realty announced a merger with eXp Realty in September.
Last month, paperless transaction management company dotloop announced it had signed an agreement with the Arizona association to provide its members access to dotloop’s platform, which includes form libraries and the ability to review, negotiate, counter and sign deals digitally.
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