To my fellow Tennessee REALTORS®,

Our theme for 2018 is Crossing The Bridge. When I think of this theme, I’m reminded of a bridge I crossed several years ago: the world’s longest continuous bridge over water, almost 24 miles, stretching across Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana (see photo below).

When you get to the middle of this bridge, you can’t see land in any direction. I have to admit, as I began to drive across, I was intimidated by the bridge’s length and the large body of water flowing beneath, especially after I realized that I couldn’t turn around and go back. There was nothing but water as far as I could see, and the bridge swayed back and forth just a few feet above the lake.

As I was crossing the bridge, my focus shifted from its length and the vast amount of water toward getting to the other side, because that’s where I needed to be. That’s where I wanted to be. There were people depending on me to make it over. And there were benefits to getting there.

As I travel from 2017 into 2018 as your president, I invite you to take this journey with me! I crossed a bridge by becoming the first African-American to hold this office in our organization. I’m honored and humbled by this experience, but it would be even greater if each of us would find a bridge to cross for the first time in 2018. For you, that might mean becoming a first-time RPAC investor, getting involved in leadership, acquiring your broker’s license, serving on a committee, earning a designation, attending an NAR event, becoming a multimillion-dollar producer, or even becoming a major RPAC investor. (I really want to see us reach full RPAC participation this coming year!)

Three keys to Crossing the Bridge are Education, Empowerment and Execution. Education prepares you to cross over; empowerment gives you the confidence to cross; and once you cross, you are prepared to execute your plan.

Tennessee REALTORS® has a bright future and is poised to make great advancements for our members and the communities we serve. This can be greatly enhanced if each of us commits ourselves to Crossing the Bridge to self-improvement, increased involvement in our association, and better service to those we assist each day.

The bridge may appear long and intimidating at first, but with each step the distance will grow shorter and shorter, until the other side comes clearly into view.

As I close, let me remind you that our NAR theme this year is “REALTORS®: Own It!” So remember: Before you can own it, you have to commit yourself to Crossing the Bridge. Let’s do it together!

Thank you,