7801 Deercreek Club Rd., Jacksonville, FL 32256

Cathy Whatley honored with Florida Realtors’ Spirit of Advocacy Award

Cathy Whatley honored with Florida Realtors’ Spirit of Advocacy Award

NEFAR’s Cathy Whatley, the 1996 president of Florida Realtors and the 2003 president of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), was recognized as the 2023 winner of the Spirit of Advocacy Award during the Florida Realtors’ annual Convention & Trade Expo August 17 at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Fla.

The award honored a member of Florida Realtors who has demonstrated excellence in advocacy within the governmental or political arena at all levels – the local Realtor board, state association, national association, and community – over their lifetime. Monetary donations are not a consideration for the award.

A member of the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors and a third-generation REALTOR®, Whatley, who is the owner/broker of Buck & Buck Real Estate, Inc., has invested more than 54 years in the real estate profession and is a REALTOR® Emeritus. She has long been committed to advocacy and volunteers her time and effort to support?her profession. Over decades, she has inspired and educated her peers on key industry issues and asked for their support. She has also mentored future real estate leaders.

Whatley served as the 1990 president of the Jacksonville Association of Realtors (now known as the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors). She was named NEFAR’s Realtor of the Year twice – in 1986 and 1993 – and received the Presidential Lifetime Service Award, its highest honor, in 2003. She led NEFAR to create programs that encouraged homeownership opportunities and helped promote homeownership education in the community, such as HOME (Home Ownership Made Easy).

Whatley also has served on the board of directors for JEA (formerly the Jacksonville Electric Authority), the eighth largest municipal utility in the U.S.

At the state level, Whatley has not only held every officer position at Florida Realtors® but has served on 274 committees and task forces for the state association.?She was a charter member Florida Realtors’ Honor Society and was named?its Realtor of the Year in 1998. Whatley often has testified before the Florida Legislature and was instrumental in the creation of the state’s Sadowski Trust Fund for affordable housing. She also served several years as a member of Florida’s Commission on Ethics.

Nationally, as president of NAR, she oversaw the deployment of the HOPE Awards, a program for increasing minority homeownership, and hosted the first National Summit for Housing Opportunities. Whatley has testified numerous times before the U.S. Congress on real estate issues. Her work for the Realtors Political Action Committee (RPAC) has been key in ensuring the preservation of the divide between banking and commerce, along with fair reform of the settlement services regulations.

Whatley is a dedicated advocate for private property rights, a strong voice for REALTOR® engagement and investment, and represents the real estate profession at its best.