Who Is Real Estate’s Person of the Year?

By Brian Summerfield, Online Editor, REALTOR® Magazine

A lot of year-end retrospectives have come out in the past couple of weeks, and two of the more notable ones for the real estate industry were Inman News’ annual 100 Most Influential List and Time Magazine’s Person of the Year.

In the first case, Inman highlighted the most prominent, persuasive figures in real estate. NAR was well represented, with CEO Dale Stinton, 2010 President Vicki Cox Golder, Chief Lobbyist Jerry Giovaniello, Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, Chief Technology Officer Mark Lesswing, and Social Media Manager Todd Carpenter making the list.

In the second, Time selected Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who reportedly narrowly edged out Julian Assange, the founder of another Internet phenomenon, Wikileaks. No doubt, Zuckerberg’s had a momentous year: The 26 year old is worth nearly $7 billion, and his network topped half a billion members this year. Also, Zuckerberg was the protagonist — no, that’s not the right word — the central figure in one of the most popular and important films of the year.

Now, I haven’t seen that movie, I don’t have a profile on Facebook, and everything I’ve heard about Zuckerberg suggests I would probably prefer getting pushed down a long flight of stairs and getting kicked in the ribs several times after I hit the bottom to spending a minute talking with him. In other words, I have no motivation to give the guy more publicity than he’s already getting. But I have to think that with all the practitioners flocking on to Facebook to expand their sphere of influence, buy advertising, and build fan pages for their businesses or communities, he belonged on the Inman list too.

But his omission got me thinking: Who was the most transformational/influential/important person for the real estate business this year? I (grudgingly) admit Zuckerberg would be a strong choice, as would Stinton, Houston Association of REALTORS® CEO Bob Hale, and FHA Commissioner David Stevens.

I’d like to get your thoughts on this: Who would you pick as the person of the year in real estate? Why? (Update: I’ve added a poll below for those who prefer voting to commenting.)


Brian Summerfield

Brian Summerfield is Manager of Business Development and Outreach for NAR Commercial and Global Services. He can be reached at bsummerfield@realtors.org.

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