Editor’s note: The National Association of Realtors’ backbone consists of industry movers and shakers — some of whom are paid staff and others volunteers — who help keep the organization pointed in the right direction and striving to meet its goals. This special five-part series takes a look at some noteworthy figures within the trade group. (See Part 1: A leading lobbyist for a powerful lobby; Part 3: Volunteers who call the shots at NAR; Part 4: Tech guru shaped home listings site; and Part 5: NAR committees: The leadership pecking order.)

The National Association of Realtors does not have a cookie cutter profile for who should be on its high-paid executive team. Of the powerful trade group’s top nine managers, one comes from the publishing industry, one was a database specialist, one worked for U.S. Steel Corp., and another served in the banking industry.

With nearly 1.1 million dues-paying members, NAR is among the largest and most powerful trade groups in the country. NAR’s backbone includes a roster of industry “movers and shakers,” some of whom are paid staff, and others lifelong volunteers. These people keep the organization moving forward, meeting its goals and keeping strong one of the most critical industries in the U.S. economy.

Here are the top executives:

Terrence M. “Terry” McDermott
Executive vice president and CEO

Before coming to the association, McDermott was executive vice president and chief executive officer of The American Institute of Architects. The American Institute of Architects is a 65,000-member professional society founded in 1857 to represent the nation’s architects.

McDermott has more than 27 years of experience in the publishing and media profession. Before taking the top post at the American Institute of Architects, McDermott was with Cahners Publishing Co., America’s largest business and special interest magazine publisher, for 24 years. He was Cahners’ president and chief operating officer from 1987-93. McDermott was publisher of Building and Design Construction magazine from 1976 to 1984 and group vice president of the Electronics and Computer Division from 1983-87.

McDermott declined an interview request by Inman News.

R. Scott Brunner, executive vice president for the Mississippi Association of Realtors, and a member of the national association’s Strategic Planning Committee, said McDermott is “a pragmatic, cut-through-the-crap kind of leader who understands that ‘not-for-profit’ is a tax status, not a business philosophy. His leadership has transformed NAR into a well-run, intensely member-focused business and advocacy organization. I want to be Terry when I grow up, but without the Midwestern accent.”

And Barbara Lach, a Realtor with Coldwell Banker King Thompson, Realtors, in Columbus, Ohio, and a member of the association’s Strategic Planning Committee, said, “I must admit that my personal assessment is that the gentleman is certainly knowledgeable, (he) always gives one the impression of confidence and most of all, I have found him to have a sense of not only duty but a sense of humor.

“In the life of a chief executive officer, one might suppose it is sometimes difficult to keep that ‘twinkle in the eye’ but he seems to master it. The success of any organization is dependent upon the integrity, knowledge, and efficiency of the chief executive officer.”

McDermott attended Loyola University, Chicago, and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in organizational development from the National College of Education in Evanston, Ill.

McDermott is vice chairman of the board of the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. He is an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects, the Society of American Military Engineers, and a member of the Urban Land Institute and Lambda Alpha, the land economics society in Washington and Chicago. He is past chairman of the board of the American Architectural Foundation.

He and his wife, Sue Ann, currently reside in Chicago, where the National Association of Realtors is headquartered.

Laurene K. Janik
General counsel

Janik has been with the association since 1977. As general counsel, she is responsible for assuring that the programs, policies and activities of the association are in compliance with the law. She also is responsible for defending the association against legal challenges and initiating litigation to protect and preserve association assets and policies as necessary. She is a frequent speaker at Realtor association meetings across the country, and is well known throughout the organization for helping state and local association presidents and executive officers better understand legal issues and responsibilities.

Janik received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, and she received a Juris Doctor degree from Loyola University of Chicago. She is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, the Bar in Illinois, and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. She is a member of the American Bar Association, the Illinois State Bar Association and the Chicago Bar Association.

She and her husband, James, reside in Glen Ellyn, Ill. They have two daughters, Katherine and Alison.

David A. Lereah
Senior vice president and chief economist

Lereah serves as the association’s spokesman on economic forecasts, interest rates, home sales, mortgage rates, as well as other economic and policy issues and trends affecting the housing markets and real estate industry in the U.S. and abroad. He also directs both the Association’s Research Group and the Regulatory and Industry Relations Group.

He is an expert in the real estate and financial services industries and his career has included tenures with private industry, government and academia. Prior to joining the association, he was chief economist for the Mortgage Bankers Association and acted as the COO with responsibility for the association’s research, business development, industry technology, education, marketing, public affairs and meetings divisions. He also had responsibility for the association’s Research Institute for Housing America; and Societas, an international lending institute. At the same time he served as president and CEO of Lender Technologies Corp. — a wholly owned subsidiary of the MBA that specializes in technology and information solutions for the mortgage lending industry.

Inman Blog: Industry pros give their take on everything from home ownership, foreclosures, mortgages and real estate life to the weather,our economy, and politics. Check in daily to get the scoop.

Lereah was managing principal and chief executive officer of Vantage Financial Group, a consulting company focusing on financial and investment management for the banking and real estate industries. He also was the chief economist of Sovran Bank (predecessor of NationsBank and BankAmerica) in Richmond, Va., and served on the Asset/Liability and Investment Committees for the holding company.

Lereah spent several years as a bank regulator and a financial economist for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. In that capacity, he authored numerous articles on bank management and hedging strategies. He also was a member of the American Bankers Association’s Economic Advisory Counsel. Lereah began his career on the faculties at the University of Virginia and the Graduate School of Management at Rutgers University, where he specialized in banking issues, market information problems and financial market research.

Lereah’s economic and real estate finance commentary is regularly quoted in major news media including the Wall St. Journal, New York Times, Business Week, USA Today, CNN Business News, CNBC, CBS Evening News and C-SPAN. Lereah has also served as an expert witness, testifying on economic and financial services issues before the U.S. Congress. He is a prolific speaker, giving presentations and seminars on economic, real estate and investment issues throughout the U.S. and other countries. He has written numerous articles on finance, investments and real estate, and his recent book, “The Rules for Growing Rich: Making Money in the New Information Economy,” was released by Random House in July 2000.

Lereah serves on a number of boards of directors, including Velao Interactive Solutions Corporation and the National Housing Counsel. Lereah received his bachelor of arts degree in economics and marketing from American University, Washington, D.C., and his doctoral degree in economics from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Va.

He lives with his wife Wendy and three children in Fairfax Station, Va.

Frank J. Sibley
Senior vice president for communications

As the association’s senior vice president for communications, Sibley oversees the association’s public affairs and convention groups and the staff of Realtor Magazine, the association’s monthly membership magazine; Realtor Magazine Online; and four of the association electronic newsletters, entitled Internal News Service.

Sibley’s experience includes 26 years with Cahners Publishing Co., in Des Plaines, Ill., the largest publisher of specialized business publications in the United States. During his tenure at Cahners Publishing, Sibley held numerous positions, including senior vice president and general manager of the Boston division, executive vice president of the magazine division and executive vice president of the direct marketing group. His experience encompasses publishing, marketing and senior level management positions, including acquisitions and launches of new products, magazines and research companies in American markets and abroad. He has directed a large Asian and European sales and editorial staff and has extensive experience in the computer, electronics, hospitality and consumer markets.

Sibley holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration and economics from Northern Illinois University.

He and his wife, Laura, reside in Lake Forest, Ill. They have two children, Christopher, a student at Northwestern University School of Medicine; and Vanessa, a student at Colby College in Waterville, Maine.

Nancy Wilson Smith

Senior vice president, leadership programs and planning

Smith, who has been with the association since 1972, has more than 30 years of association management experience. In her current position in the association’s Chicago headquarters, she oversees the association’s executive offices, international affairs, leadership development, affiliate relations, and strategic planning operations. Additionally, she manages the association’s Real Estate Buyers Agent Council and leadership programs for state and local Realtor association executives. Throughout her long tenure at the association, Smith also has had oversight responsibilities for the association’s human resources, purchasing, warehouse, mailroom, library and computer operations, as well as publications, public affairs and member and board policy.

Under Smith’s direction, the association’s public affairs office initiated a public awareness campaign in 1997, which continues to air more than 2,000 national television and radio spots each year touting the theme “You’ve got a life. We let you live it. We’re Realtors. Real Estate is Our Life.” Smith’s association teams have also created and developed the Realtors Commercial Alliance, the International Consortium of Real Estate Associations, and numerous association executive outreach and communications programs.

Prior to joining the association, Smith managed the rental management division of Trammel Crow Co.’s Coral Gables, Fla., office from 1968-72.

Smith earned a BS degree in education from Northern Illinois University (DeKalb) and master’s degree from Keller Graduate School of Management (Chicago).

She and her husband Phil Smith reside in Indian Head Park, Ill.

Dale A. Stinton
CFO and chief information officer

Stinton, CFO and chief information officer for the National Association of Realtors, has worked for the association for more than 23 years. His areas of responsibility are Information Technology Systems, Information Central, Finance and Tax Management, NRDS, E-Commerce, and Building/Facilities Management.

He is on the Board of Directors of RE FormsNet, the association’s electronic forms business.

He is a Board member of Sentrilock, the association’s new Lockbox business.

He is also co-chairman of the Real Estate Transaction Standards (RETS) Cross Industry Standards Group.

Stinton is a Certified Association Executive (CAE), Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a Certified Management Accountant (CMA). He earned his MBA from DePaul University and a bachelor of science degree from Western Illinois University.

Prior to working for the association, Dale worked for seven years in a variety of accounting, financial, and management capacities at Memorex Corporation and U.S. Steel Corp.

Dale lives with his wife, Maryann, and three children in St. Charles, Ill.

***

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