February 25, 2018

What it Means to be Named a Realtor of Distinction


Rebecca Donatelli recently wrote a blog that made a point that hits close to home at the Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors®(NETAR).  Rebecca, a top producer in Cleveland, debunked four myths about real estate agents. Her blog was picked and distributed nationwide by the National Association of Realtors® in the online version of the YPB Lounge. It can be found at

Aaron Taylor
2018 NETAR President

There are four myths she confronts in the blog. They include:

  • Real estate agents make buckets of money.
  • Real estate is easy.
  • Real estate agents have flexible schedules and don't have to work a lot to make money.
  • Being a real estate agent doesn’t require any skill. That's the one that hit home due to recent events here at NETAR.

It hit home because NETAR recently recognized some of its members for outstanding efforts and community service. It's an annual part of the Winter NETAR membership meeting and installation of new officers and directors. And by any definition demonstrates the skills and dedication required to be recognized among the best in the real estate profession.

During that ceremony, Joe Johnson and Sonja Fox were named Realtors® Emeritus. To achieve Realtor® Emeritus status an individual must have maintained membership in the National Association of Realtors® for a cumulative period of 40 years. They must also have completed at least one year of service at the state or local association level.

  Karen Randolph received the Realtor® of the Year Award, Maci Ferguson took home the Rookie of the Year Award, and Laura Schnelle received the Mark Keesecker Humanitarian Award. There's a description of the award and what those individuals accomplished on the NETAR website at

Twenty-Eight Realtors® were also named 2017 Realtors® of Distinction to recognize a year's worth of commitment to continuing education, participation in professional functions and their all-important service to their community and community organizations.

When you look at what these individuals did during the year, it doesn't fit the myth that being a real estate agent doesn't require any skill. In fact, it takes a lot of skill and commitment just to keep up with mandated continuing education requirements.

Donatelli pointed out in her blog that being a successful agent requires extensive training, understanding, patience, and education. Check out the NETAR parking lot in Gray on just about any day of the week, and it will be full. Parking spaces are at a premium because Realtors® go beyond state licensing requirements by subscribing to the National Association of Realtors’® (NAR) Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice and committing to their continuing education. That means they’re constantly attending classes, workshops, and seminars when they aren't volunteering at community or professional organizations or taking care of their real estate business.  NETAR hosts many of those training sessions and the folks who were named Realtors® of Distinction were often part of those sessions as students and in some cases, instructors, helping their peers hone their skills.

The 2017 Realtor® of Distinction recipients include: Pam Addington-Wagner, Kristi Bailey, Karrom Boonsue, Stephanie Conner, Sharon Duncan, Maci Ferguson, Colette George, Kay Hale, Diane M.K. Hills, Barbara Hubbs, Eric Kistner, Donna Lampkins, Gwen Lilley, Leann MaHaffey, Jewell McKinney, Sandra Moores, Ginger Nixon, Jeff Orr, Carol Pitts, Pamela Pope, Sheila Postell, Karen Randolph, Cody Rife, Mary Shull, Jan Stapleton, Donna Stone, Connie Strickland and Aaron Taylor. Their photo are on the Realtors® of Distinction page on the NETAR Web site at

"The reality is, real estate has its highs and lows. There are definitely glamorous moments, nice paychecks, and beautiful homes. However, without the hard work, proper training, and passion, those things won’t exist. Real estate is not a get rich quick scheme or “easy” career, hence the large percentage of agents that don’t last more than 5 years," Donatelli wrote.

 Living up to that standard is what the Realtor® of Distinction Award is about.

Aaron Taylor is the 2018 president of the Northeast Tennessee Association of Realtors. The real estate education and trade group is the voice for real estate in the Tri-Cities and has over 1,250 local Realtor® members and almost 100 affiliates.