We kicked off 2020 with an aggressive vision for a leadership transition, while helping members become more engaged, help their clients and grow their businesses. Three months into the year, the unimaginable happened. A global pandemic. It changed how we worked. It changed our lives. But Illinois REALTORS® adapted with lightning speed to the global pandemic. We smoothly completed the Board and staff management transitions and successfully delivered needed programs and services in three major areas during 2020:

The At-A-Glances visualizes how Illinois REALTORS® tackled the challenges of 2020 in triplicate: Fundamental service delivery, COVID-19 Response and Transition.

Fundamentals Report

Despite an unprecedented shift to engaging members almost entirely online, Illinois REALTORS® reaches thousands of members every day through events, emails and social media interactions. 


Website Page Views in 2020
Opened Emails in 2020
Direct Connections in 2020
Social Media Engagements in 2020

In 2020





*Delivered across all Illinois REALTORS® platforms.
Email engagements are defined by opened emails by members. Website engagement assumes most site visits are by members or those seeking information that would lead them to become a member. The data counts the total number of visits to a site, although a person may visit more than one time in a defined period. Direct connections include calls and emails to the association, visits by the outreach team and contacts with the association’s legal and professional standards programs. 


Illinois REALTORS® continued to break records earning the NAR President’s Cup for the fourth year in a row. The award is earned through achieving ambitious RPAC investment and advocacy goals.

Money raised


Major Investors


President’s Circle



RPAC logo

RPAC Hall of Fame Reaches New Heights

2020 will see 16 NEW Hall of Fame inductees at the $25,000 level and 2 inductees at the $50,000 tier. This is the biggest Hall of Fame class Illinois REALTORS® has ever boasted.


Despite the pandemic and fears about the economy, association membership held steady.

Professional Standards

Ombudsman Program

Ethics Citation Program

Cases resolved to
complainant’s satisfaction



Collected in fines in 2020

Legal Services

Total Legal Department Contacts for 2020

2020 saw the rollout of extensive resources to help brokers understand and adapt to the new Real Estate License Act. 

Page Views:


RELA Video Views:


RELA Podcast Listens:


Total RELA Engagements:


Outreach Team pivots from in-person to online

Presentations in 2020

REALTORS® reached via office presentations

Gideon Blustein
Gideon Blustein
Jim Clayton
Jim Clayton
Central Illinois
Ron Deedrick
Ron Deedrick
Metro East and Southern IL

Each dot on this map represents an office visit by a member of the Illinois REALTORS® Member Outreach Team in the past year. In response to the stay-at-home order, the outreach team pivoted to online presentations sharing critical pandemic information about REALTOR® relief, pandemic guidance and advocacy updates.

Kristie Engerman
Kristie Engerman
Peoria and Bloomington-Normal
Neeley Erickson
Neeley Erickson
Joseph Roth
Joseph Roth
North Shore


RPAC Supported Candidates
in 2020 Races


Win/loss percentage of RPAC Backed Candidates:


Home Rule
Referendums Stopped


Local Sales &
Property Tax Relief
Referendum Passed


Signed up RPMA


# of CFA’s executed in 2020


CFA Participation
Average 2020


Members of the REALTOR® Association of Northwestern Illinois cleaned up after new windows were installed in several Freeport businesses. Another NAR grant is being used to create a painted mural downtown and for benches and plantings to be added to create a public gathering space.

Illinois REALTOR
PAF Grants in 2020

69 grants for

NAR Realtor party
grants in 2020

12 grants for


Through events, emails and social media interactions, Illinois REALTORS® reaches thousands of members every day. Here’s a breakdown of those engagements in 2020.

Total CE Courses

Unique CE Courses Offered Online



Paradigm Shifts with Outstanding Results: Illinois REALTORS® legal and advocacy teams threw down the gauntlet when longstanding relationships with policymakers, built on trust, resulted in REALTORS® being deemed essential in Governor JB Pritzker’s “stay-at-home” executive order. Coupled with remote notarization and aggressive outreach to local governments, REALTORS® were enabled to continue providing professional real estate services to their clients: 

Illinois REALTORS® member and public facing services pivoted, seemingly overnight, to ensure that there would be no gap in critical resources needed by REALTORS® and consumers. This feat could not have been accomplished without the unparalleled and unwavering support of Illinois REALTORS® OperationsTechnology and Marketing Departments.  

  • Operations provided steadfast guidance for staff to operate legally and safely.  
  • The technology team instantly adopted and integrated many new software and hardware infrastructure tools; nobody missed a beat. 
  • Our newly reformed marketing team worked with clockwork precision, setting up a COVID-19 resource page, quickly synthesizing new information into easy-to-understand language and choosing the most appropriate platforms to share each message.  

When pushed to the edge, Illinois REALTORS® united internally, showcasing resilience and strength. The organization reinvented itself to meet unparalleled challenges and ended up with results that would have exceeded expectations absent the COVID-19 crisis.  

COVID-19 Resources Page

From safety protocols to help with unemployment insurance questions to timely market data, Illinois REALTORS® was the beacon, and the last word, when it came to accurate, reliable and actionable information for REALTORS® and consumers navigating industry changes in reaction to COVID-19.

COVID-19 Page Views
COVID-19 Video Views

Covid Breaking News Email Sends


Covid Breaking News Email Opens


Local Govt resources page views


Capitol Conference @ Home

Innovative and fast pivot to holding one of our most engaging annual events, REALTOR® Lobby Day, online. Resulted in some of the most thoughtful and honest engagements between members and their legislators in memory: 

  • 43 recorded online meetings with legislators garnering more than 1,000 views 
  • Legislative Briefing from Julie Sullivan 4,000 views 
  • 29,000 email invitations sent with a 30% open rate 

Lets Talk Real Estate @ Home

Intimate online meetings were hosted by Federal Political Contacts (FPCs) with every member of the Illinois Congressional Delegation. 555 REALTOR® members witnessed new heights of candor, honesty and integrity shared between our FPCs and federal representatives.

Fall Business Meetings

The shift to remote meetings presented an opportunity to open Fall Business Meetings to a much wider audience and create impactful content, shared online and viewable at the members’ convenience. 

Total forum views


RPAC Online Mega Raffle

As we neared years end, RPAC team came up with an engaging and innovative way to hit their stride in the home stretch. The Mega raffle was very successful, raising $41,607Running through the month of October, with live drawings every Friday during that month that was broadcast via social media. 


REEF Pivots to Online – doubles fundraising: The Illinois Real Estate Education Foundation (REEF) relies on donations, many made through fundraisers that run parallel to Illinois REALTORS® annual in-person programming. Rather than chalking up 2020 as a lost year, REEF innovated. Online events, appeals and a brand new scholarship honoring the legacy of CEO Gary Clayton resulted in a record fundraising year. 

REEF Funds Raised

REEF Scholarships Awarded


Organizational Transition: It is an understatement to say that 2020 was a year full of challenges in the context of the COVID-19 crisis. Each Illinois REALTORS® department reinvented itself to exceed members’ fundamental expectations and provide critically needed pandemic support. 

It is truly jaw-dropping then, to recognize that all of this was accomplished, while in the background, Illinois REALTORS® was executing a planned organizational transition, carrying out the board’s strategic vision for 2020. 

New Leadership Takes Shape During a Crisis: Familiar colleagues established themselves, against national competition, as the unmatched best choices to lead Illinois REALTORS® through times both prosperous and perilous.  

Jeffrey T. Baker assumes the duties and responsibilities as CEO: Jeff Baker, Illinois REALTORS® Associate General Counsel, was named Deputy CEO in 2019 with the intent to assume the role of CEO at the end of 2020. The long-planned transition culminated during a year of unprecedented dynamics that could have defeated a less prepared and steady leader.  

Ed Neaves, Illinois REALTORS® Immediate Past President and Search Committee Chair: “His legal, management and extensive political experience together with his knowledge of Springfield and Illinois, as well as, the Association’s culture were paramount factors in his selection. 

Kristen Butcher, Executive Vice President: Named Executive Vice President in 2019, Kristen served as an indispensable source of drive, consistency, and due diligence. In a year of transformation that included a pandemic, Butcher’s unwavering nature held Illinois REALTORS® mission, values and goals solidly in place.  

REALTORS® stand up for Black lives and livelihoods: During Fall Business Meetings, Illinois REALTORS® launched a multi-year, multipronged Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Initiative. With a focus on growing diversity in the industry, conquering unconscious bias and bringing equity and affordability to all, the resources created by the D&I Initiative are unique in that they are intended to be accessible, shareable and adaptable for local association and member use.  


  • Diversity Training Grant: Nearly half of the funds have been awarded for member firms and local associations to conduct trainings with nationally recognized trainers.  
  • Scholarships: Nearly tripled the number of minority scholarships available and 44 awarded in FY2020.  
  • Launch of Co-Branded Diversity Resources for Local Associations to achieve their Diversity & Inclusion goals.  

Marketing Illinois REALTORS® ROI: Beginning in early 2020, Illinois REALTORS® began the process of transitioning its Marketing & Communications team to a more focused effort on brand development and management. “Our Marketing department is the vehicle we use to go to our members with the services we provide them, rather than requiring them to come to us.” – Jeffrey Baker, incoming CEO for the association 

In this vein, Illinois REALTORS® leadership launched a new member platform, ROI. It is an online platform dedicated to serving up timely member benefits and resources in three categories:  

  • Revitalize – our businesses, our communicates, our state 
  • Opportunity – to grow, to learn and to serve 
  • Influence – to advocate for homeowners and private property rights in Illinois 

Nationally Recognized Brand Expert Joins Illinois REALTORS®: After a nationwide recruiting effort, Anthony Hebron, an accomplished private sector marketing specialist, who started his journalism career at the State Journal-Register, was recruited to transform and lead Illinois REALTORS® Marketing & Communications Department.  

Transitions: We are melancholy as we reminisce and remember the countless achievements and ways our departing leaders have shaped the organization and industry.  

After a storied 31-year career, Senior Director of Legislative and Political Affairs Julie Sullivan retired.  

With a sterling reputation among staff and legislators as an expert on the issues, Julie will always be remembered as a tough but constructive negotiator.  

Illinois REALTORS® staff and members will remember her most fondly as a friend and mentor who pulled no punches.  

Len Taylor closes the books on a 32-year career with Illinois REALTORS® as Vice President of Operations.  

Len’s financial management, ethics and candor have benefited the Illinois REALTORS® for generations to come.  

Taylor not only managed the fiscal ship but steered the organization’s data and systems with a focus on adopting technology in ways that allowed the organization to grow quickly while maintaining accuracy.  

Finally, the legacy of retiring CEO Gary Clayton is impossible to capture in limited words.  

In his 33 years at the helm of the Illinois REALTORS® Gary has done more to shape the real estate industry than any other single person.  

Ahead of his time, but with a strong and quiet demeanor, Gary raised up the industry by putting professionalism and advocacy at the forefront. Though he would never boast of it, many of the accomplishments first championed in Illinois became widely adopted models for REALTOR® associations across the Country.  

One financial highlight worth noting upon Gary’s retirement, the Gary Clayton scholarship was created to continue his legacy and within just a few short months was on track to be seeded with nearly $50,000 raised.   


2020 showed us as an industry REALTORS® can adapt with lightning speed to meet market conditions. REALTORS® did not waste a moment on fear or indecision. With the backdrop of advocacy and guidance from their state Association, REALTORS® catapulted toward a year that, despite its many challenges, will end up being many REALTORS® most profitable.  Whatever the future holds, Illinois REALTORS® confidently moves forward with the knowledge that we will be united, strong and resilient.  

The latest Association at a glance