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NEFAR’s Global Business Council: A REALTORS® resource for international business

NEFAR’s Global Business Council: A REALTORS® resource for international business

A new energy is sweeping through NEFAR’s Global Business Council.

Although council activities have been hampered a bit over the past two years due to the pandemic, Chairman Angie McKee and Vice Chairman Jonna Faeth have big plans to invigorate the group by working to make it the place to be for REALTORS® interested in international investment in Northeast Florida.

“Global Business Council (GBC) is very much in a rebuilding year. We had a big hit to our council membership due to COVID and the inability to have our meetings in person and do the things we do,” said McKee, who was encouraged by the outcome of the group’s first mixer of the year, when five new members signed up during the gathering at Jax Spice, a new Indian restaurant in Jacksonville Beach on April 21. Recalling a time when the group boasted at least 80 members, McKee said her goal is to regain those membership numbers by offering more activities of particular interest to REALTORS® who are serving international clients.

“The whole point of the Global Business Council is to help you navigate the international world,” said McKee. “There are investors that want to come to our market to invest, and we want to show them that Jacksonville is a good place for them.” The Global Business Council allows REALTORS® to connect with all that, both on a local, state, and national level, she said.

In the coming months, GBC has several exciting events planned. On June 21, it will hold its REALTOR® Party Taste-the-Nations event at NEFAR where it will showcase food from at least 12 different countries. In August, the council hopes to offer a lunch and learn, where it will play host to speakers that will address global topics. And its big annual event, Global Day, is set for September 22, and will feature an “inbound” mission showcasing Jacksonville, JAXPORT, and Northeast Florida as a region of particular interest to foreign investors, particularly those from Asia.

“We did some research and found that 30% of sales transactions in Jacksonville involve people with ties to Asia,” she said. “This is a big market for us, whether it is people looking for a primary home, a secondary home, or an investment home,” McKee said, noting that Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently signed a deal with a Singapore-based shipping line allowing for better connections between several Asian ports and the U.S. East Coast market.

And throughout the year there may be smaller council events to celebrate international holidays such as Bastille Day (July 14), Peruvian Independence Day (July 28-29), and Oktoberfest (September 17-October 3). “Whatever we do, we want it to be culturally different,” she said. “We don’t want to just go to a brewhouse. We want to explore places that have cultural tastes so members can try new foods.”

In past years, NEFAR’s Global Business Council has received NAR’s Gold Global Achievement Award, but this year the group has its sights on earning higher Platinum honors. “We get points for everything we do, and we are working hard to increase our points,” McKee said. “If we do all the activities that we hope to do we should be able to achieve it.”

There is a small $25 yearly fee to join NEFAR’s Global Business Council, and the funds assist the group in organizing its activities. McKee and Faeth are also interested in partnering with NEFAR affiliate members who might like to become annual sponsors, particularly in 2023. Members who are interested in joining the council or becoming a sponsor for one if its events should contact GBC liaison Ciera Smith at CSmith@nefar.com.

“We have a passion for the Global Business Council, and we are excited to begin paving the road this year so we will have an even better year next year,” McKee said, adding that she would eventually like the council to be viewed by NEFAR members as the place for REALTORS® to come and learn how to better relate to clients from other countries through gaining a better understanding of their traditions and cultures. “We want to see Global become a resource for REALTORS® who are involved in international business,” she said.