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article imageOp-Ed: Realtor Association bestows honor of 'Realtor Emeritus' Special

By Jonathan Farrell     Mar 26, 2014 in Business
San Mateo - An industry most impacted by the digital revolution and the age of the Internet is Real Estate. in less than 20 years The Internet or World Wide Web has taken something local and pushed it global.
“The Internet has changed many things about the real estate industry,” said Susan Griffith, who this past December of 2013 was awarded by the San Mateo County Association of Realtors the honor of “Realtor Emeritus.” There were 10 other realtors honored with Griffith for the award.
Less than 20 years ago, to view the inventory of a real estate company, a customer had to go directly to that company. Now, listings of all kinds can be viewed online via computer at the press of a button. Griffith remembers those days, some very well. Yet she is also pleased about the many current changes made, because of technology. This is one reason why the honor was very special to her.
Susan Griffith was awarded the Realtor Emeritus on Dec. 6  2013 by the National Association of Realt...
Susan Griffith was awarded the Realtor Emeritus on Dec. 6, 2013 by the National Association of Realtors.
Courtesy of Susan Griffith
“It was a pleasant surprise,” said Griffith, as Emeritus Awards were presented on behalf of the National Association of Realtors on Dec. 6 at the Hotel Sofitel in Redwood City. The Emeritus, along with other leadership awards and honors of distinction were given at the San Mateo County Association of Realtors annual Leadership, Honors and Board Members Installation Luncheon for 2014.
Realtor Frank Vento of Pescadero received the  Community Service Award  from the San Mateo County As...
Realtor Frank Vento of Pescadero received the "Community Service Award" from the San Mateo County Association of Realtors for his dedication to youth related causes and housing needs and issues in the community where he lives. Pescadero is a seaside community along the SF Peninsula of San Mateo County of over 600 residents.
Courtesy of the San Mateo County Association of Realtors
She laughed as she noted that she and the others are the longest active Realtors still “working in the trenches.” The ‘Realtor Emeritus' distinction not only commends an individual Realtor's track record but it also notes the years of dedicated service. "You have to have been a Realtor and a member of a Realtor association like ours for 40 years," said Steve Blanton, CEO of the San Mateo County Association of Realtors.
And at the national level, "any person who has held membership in the National Association as a REALTOR®, REALTOR-ASSOCIATE®, or a combination of both, for a cumulative period of 40 years in one or more Associations of REALTORS® is eligible," said Mary Glick, information coordinator for the National Association of Realtors, in Chicago, IL. Of course, the distinguished honor also requires that a Realtor being awarded has a license, current and active with no blemishes or penalties, due to neglect or unethical practices.
South San Francisco City Council member Mark Addiego received the Homeowner Hero Award on behalf of ...
South San Francisco City Council member Mark Addiego received the Homeowner Hero Award on behalf of the entire South San Francisco City Council for their efforts at championing property rights of homeowners.
Courtesy of The San Mateo County Association of Realtors
"When a Realtor receives an honor like this, the privilege is that all future membership association dues are waived," said Blanton. “That’s nice,” said Griffith. Those fellow SAMCAR members honored with the Emeritus along with Griffith are: Janet Castellino, Arline Dixon, Gloria Foster, Ronald Gable, Lynn King, Richard Le Doux, William Mahar, Shirley Olea, Edie Switzer and Patricia Peterson.
Similarly, those SAMCAR members honored by the California Association of Realtors for 25 years of service were awarded Life-Time Membership. They are: Beth Anderson, Richard Bagley, James Chin, Viven Cuneo, Lynn King, Ronald Martin, Billy Oliver, Al Russell, and Stan Sliverstein. Whether 25 or 40 years in the industry, to be able to consistently reach a variable threshold of sales and business contracts and to build a career on just that is an accomplishment.
Toni Burrows of Hisco/CRES Home Warrenty was named  Affiliate of the Year for 2013 by the San Mateo ...
Toni Burrows of Hisco/CRES Home Warrenty was named "Affiliate of the Year for 2013 by the San Mateo County Association of Realtors for her dedication to helping the realtors of San Mateo County.
Courtesy of San Mateo County Association of Realtors
Gary Thomas, 2014 Immediate Past President of the National Association of Realtors® sent his thoughts to this reporter when asked to make comment. “A career in real estate offers individuals the flexibility and freedom to set their own pace and income goals.” “Profits, he noted are often directly linked to efforts; so agents can choose to work as much or as little as they want.” “It all depends on their aspirations. There is really no limit on how far hard-working, motivated men and women can advance in this field,” Thomas said.
Seen here with SAMCAR Director Anne Oliva  President of Signature Realty and Mortgage  Robert Pedro ...
Seen here with SAMCAR Director Anne Oliva, President of Signature Realty and Mortgage, Robert Pedro was the SAMCAR recipient of the 2013 "Realtor of The Year" award
Courtesy of San Mateo County Association of Realtors
Real estate agents who reach a high level of success make valuable contributions not only to the lives of their clients, but also to other related businesses.” “New home owners will need to furnish their home, maintain their yard, replace old appliances, etc., bringing in new business to multiple markets in the area.” Pointing out all the vital contacts and connections a real estate agent makes on behalf of a client or listing, Thomas said, “a successful Realtor® means a successful community.”
Griffith agreed as she said, “I think that with an association of realtors, be it at the local or national level, it helps keep things cohesive.” “An association serves a very good purpose as it provides not only a sense of governance but also a sense of order and ethics.” “Sometimes, realtors because they work independently can seem like renegades and rebels.”
She spoke candidly for a few moments while taking a break from being out on tour meeting with clients and showing properties. “I am still in real estate because I enjoy it, in fact, I love it,” she said.
Griffith sees the value in helping people make one of the most important decisions of their life, “where they want to live and what type of house they want,” she said. “My husband Tom encouragement me to go into real estate,” she said. “That was back in 1972.” Griffith laughed when she said, “I got into real estate because when Tom and I first got married, we needed to find a house.”
Both of them native to San Francisco, she explained. “Tom and I grew up in San Francisco, both our families were from the City and so it was expected that we would set roots in the City.” “Well, with all the in-laws and various situations that newlyweds find themselves in, I said to Tom, ‘San Francisco just isn’t big enough! We need space between your folks and mine.’ So, Tom and I went looking for a house along the Peninsula.”
The new SAMCAR Board of Directors for 2014 taking the oath of office.
The new SAMCAR Board of Directors for 2014 taking the oath of office.
Courtesy of the San Mateo County Association of Realtors
Not pleased with what their realtor was selecting and showing them, Tom encouraged Griffith to look on her own for their new house. Well, the rest as the saying goes is history. And speaking of history, Griffith noted that back in the early 1970’s, very few women were working in real estate. “There were real estate companies that would not even hire women,” she said. “It seems hard to believe now, but that was how it was back then.”
“I remember when I first started in the business, I had to stand in the back of the conference room against the wall during sales meetings,” she said. "No women were allowed to have sales floor time," she said. “And, when I was pregnant with my first child, I was required to wear a raincoat or an over coat when meeting with clients or attending sales meetings.” “It can get pretty warm wearing an overcoat in summer, she said, especially along the Peninsula.”
Yet, Griffith noted that as the decade moved along things changed as society was changing. More women entered the work-force and real estate really was for some women a good fit. The real estate industry is perhaps one of the few where a woman as a mom, can spend time with the kids and be at work at the same time.
Setting one’s pace and being able to manage many things is possible while working in real estate. “I still get a kick out of working in real estate, the flexibility, the people you meet it all makes for an interesting day,” she said. “My husband Tom also established himself in real estate. But he preferred to work in commercial real estate." “Residential real estate made Tom crazy," Griffith noted. “It was too emotional, he said. Yet, I understand the emotions,” said Griffith, it is where a family is going to live.”
Griffith is grateful for the career she has and even when a market goes up and then goes down, “an experienced Realtor knows how to manage,” she said. “One thing many people today don’t understand, especially with regards to the Internet is real estate is still a people business. Sure you can do lots of things on line. "It is a marvel how contracts and information go back and forth within minutes" she said. "But, still it is about meeting with the people, viewing and showing the property and most of all, being there when things can get difficult or very complicated."
Since the death of her husband Tom, son Charles Griffith and his wife Jane have formed Griffith Partners. "I am very fortunate to have my mom as a mentor, said son Charles Griffith. In just two years he reached "Top Producer" status with McGuire Real Estate. "I've got great support, with my mom, and my wife, he said. "All together we have decades of experience," he said. "Mom with her years of residential home sales experience, and then me and my wife with years of experience in Investment management, banking and underwriting," he added.
Joining forces with the expertise of Charles and Jane, Griffith Partners at McGuire Real Estate is well prepared to manage the challenges of real estate sales and business in the 21st Century. While like his mom, Charles understands the people connection, he is pleased to incorporate the high-tech aspects. "Making use of the new user-friendly technology and tools like 'Docu-sign' said Charles, makes the work more efficient and moves the process along faster." "Our aim is to help make the experience for our clients a positive and affirming one," he said.
Looking towards the future with son Charles and daughter-in-law Jane at her side, Griffith sees more good things ahead, even if at times the economy can seem uncertain. Realtors at any level of the industry often have to do much of the work on their own, like a "Lone Ranger." Yet, team work is vital."This is why I think having an association of realtors is very important, said Griffith, they not only help each other, negotiate and help keep things on track, they are also there to help the customer too." "I am very honored to be a part of this industry,” she said.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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