Are You at the Table or on the Menu?


“If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.”

Yesterday’s experience at NAR’s Habitat for Humanity volunteer build was extremely exciting. Having been a part of volunteer builds before – as a standing member of the Habitat for Humanity NCR land acquisition committee — I was eagerly anticipating tackling such a great cause alongside other industry professionals. Having arrived at the build site amongst another 70+ REALTORS®, roles were quickly established and we were divided into teams. I was part of a small team assigned to build and frame the exterior walls of the home.

Within our newly formed team, we quickly became acquainted with each other and got to work. While on site, discussions surrounding our experiences as REALTORS® were shared. Christopher Paris, of Long Realty Camelback from Phoenix Arizona, was someone who resonated with me most during this experience. Christopher was voted the 2011 REALTOR® of the Year by the Phoenix Association of REALTORS®, and has continued to be extremely involved in his community and career. He mentioned a quote that was once referenced to him: “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.” Within any current business state, having a say means that you will stand up for what is right and have the power to change the status quo if required.

Gaining valuable knowledge regarding community involvement and the importance of a well-established team dynamic was the central theme that I gathered from Habitat’s staff. Working alongside such REALTORS® as Kathy Sanford, Cami Elliott, Laurie Shulock, and of course Christopher, it became evident that their passion and work ethic was on par with what one would expect of a volunteer. Ironically, we all seemed to share the same motives surrounding the build, including the desire to help others and knowing by volunteering our time we made a difference.

I will cherish this experience.

Ian M. Charlebois is the CEO and President/Broker of RE/MAX Citywide Realty Inc., a real estate brokerage whose vision and strategic directions are infused with a commitment to delivering value-added customer service at all stages of the sales experience.

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