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Nearly 200 members attend NEFAR Annual Meeting at Marriott Jacksonville

Nearly 200 members attend NEFAR Annual Meeting at Marriott Jacksonville

When Ben Kjar addressed a room of nearly 200 members of the Northeast Florida Association of REALTORS® during the association’s 2022 Annual Meeting on October 26, he told them they were a powerful, inspirational, and hardworking group with the ability to “change everything.”

Kjar was born with craniofacial sysostosis, Crouzons syndrome, a complex genetic birth disorder that affects a child’s face, skull, and teeth, yet he refused to be a victim of his genetic deformity. By rising above it, he has excelled to become a “victor” athletically, professionally, personally, and financially. He was a NCAA Division 1 Wrestling All-American and has performed as part of the USA wrestling team. He has also made his mark in real estate by flipping nearly 200 properties and compiling a rental portfolio of almost 100 multi-family rentals and three storage unit complexes within the past six years.

“You are known by the next decision you make at your darkest time,” he told the spellbound audience. Then Kjar shared a statement promoted by Tony Robbins, which he said has become his daily mantra: “Now I am the voice. Now I am the voice. I will lead, not follow. I will believe, not doubt. I will create, not destroy. I am a voice for good. I am a force for God. I am a leader. Defy the odds. Set good standards. Step up. Step up. Step up.”

Kjar’s inspirational talk was the perfect capstone to a fulfilling annual meeting where 20 new EDGE™ Professional Society members were recognized, NEFAR President Mark Rosener introduced his leadership team and spoke about a long list of accomplishments the association has attained this year.

EDGE™ members

Recent members of the EDGE™ (Ethics, Diversity, Goals, Excellence) Professional Society were introduced including Scott Nyman of eXp Realty; Christian Oliva of Watson Realty Corp.; Dedee Harper of Harper & Associates Real Estate; Clark LaBlond of The Legends of Real Estate; Marc Jernigan of Slate Real Estate; Diane Cook of Slate Real Estate; Laura Slate of Slate Real Estate; Cliff Baker of Slate Real Estate; Ant Stroud of Navy to Navy Homes; Amanda Feagle of Watson Realty Corp.; Renee Zink of Watson Realty Corp.; Carray Young of Watson Realty Corp.; Duyen Thi My Doan of eXp Realty; Jan Jenkins of Select Home Realty Group; Janna Thomas of EXIT Real Estate Gallery; Wanda McReynolds of Slate Real Estate; Kim Knapp of Coldwell Banker Vanguard (Fleming Island); Rae Laws of Slate Real Estate; Samantha Heflin of Watson Realty Corp.; and Allison Munoz of Bold City Real Estate.

The addition of these 20 new members brings EDGE’s™ membership to 33.

2022 Accomplishments

During his talk about NEFAR’s accomplishments, 2022 President Mark Rosener urged members of the audience to donate to RPAC if they have not yet given and asked them to encourage REALTOR® friends and colleagues to invest this year at a minimum of $25 so NEFAR can receive the coveted Triple Crown Award. NEFAR needs only 245 more investors to complete the participation goal for this year, he said.

Rosener also noted several other accomplishments in his talk including:

  • NEFAR’s annual auction raised more than $126,000 for RPAC.
  • NEFAR’s Candidate Screening Task Force made several endorsements including that of one of their own, REALTOR Leota Wilkinson for Putnam County Commission District 2.
  • Past NEFAR President and Florida Realtors® President Russell Grooms, received Florida Realtors® Spirit of Advocacy Award after being nominated by NEFAR.
  • NEFAR’s RPAC Fun Fest raised $1,725 for the REALTOR® Party Action Committee.
  • Many of NEFAR’s Area Councils also hosted a series of fundraisers for the REALTOR® Party raising a total of $10,266.
  • A large crowd of REALTORS® turned out for a press conference where NEFAR announced its endorsement of Daniel Davis for Jacksonville Mayor.
  • NEFAR recognized its 74 Major Investors in a two-page spread in the Jacksonville Business Journal on October 14 and in Florida Realtors Magazine. The Major Investors will be celebrated at a Cowford Chophouse dinner in December.
  • NEFAR supported Florida’s Hometown Heroes Program where more than 6,800 families have received financial help with their home purchases.
  • NEFAR’s 2022 Installation and Awards Gala was a glittering in-person dinner-dance event at the Marriott Jacksonville in Southpoint. It was the first evening event in many years.
  • NEFAR staff are working with MMSI and realMLS to install an application where new members can apply for membership online.
  • NEFAR donated $100,000 to Florida Realtors® Disaster Relief Fund a few days after Hurricane Ian wreaked havoc in South and Central Florida.
  • Longtime NEFAR member MaliVai Washington, owner of Diamond Life Real Estate, was recognized with NAR’s Good Neighbor Award for his work over 26 years with the MaliVai Washington Youth Foundation.
  • NEFAR’s Community Affairs Task Force organized a ramp-build event for a disabled Southside couple who were unable to access their home.
  • More than 200 REALTORS® and members of the public helped clean-up boat-ramps, beaches, and the St. Johns River shoreline as part of Florida Realtors® Clean-up Florida Waters event in July.
  • More than 50 REALTORS® supported Rethreaded’s effort to assist sex-trafficking survivors by deconstructing leather airline seats so the women can make purses, wallets, and other items to sell.
  • Three prominent Jacksonville businessmen addressed NEFAR members at its Global Business Council’s Global Day in September.
  • The Community Affairs Task Force will be organizing a food drive for Feeding Northeast Florida from November 1-30.
  • In December, NEFAR will host its annual Hunger Fight Pack-a-Thon at the Ramallah American Club. Members are encouraged to register on NEFAR.com.
  • Longtime NEFAR General Counsel Jeff Marks retired in December 2021. Attorney Clyde Marks was hired to take his place.
  • NEFAR hired Taylor Swagel as its new Front Desk Administrator.
  • NEFAR continues to maintain three leased satellite offices – Jacksonville Beach, Orange Park, and Palatka. The St. John’s office at World Golf Village was closed when the lease expired this year.
  • 2020 NEFAR President Ron Harris served as 2022 District 1 Vice President for Florida Realtors®.
  • NEFAR hosted the Florida Realtors® District 1 Conference in April.
  • NEFAR graduated the largest Leadership Academy class in the association’s history. The class also achieved 100 percent RPAC participation.
  • NEFAR’s Global Business Council won NAR’s Gold Achievement Award.
  • NEFAR honored 15 award recipients during its Installation and Awards Gala in January. Among the accolades were three new awards – the Diversity Award, the Global Involvement Award, and the Real Estate Icon award. NEFAR also presented a new Legacy Award in honor of the late Walter Williams.