In this podcast, join Illinois YPN Advisory Group Chair Connie Vavra as she discusses the March 28 Illinois YPN event at the Illinois REALTORS headquarters in Springfield.

NAR YPN Advisory Board Chair Amanda Lott will offer tips that can help members balance life and work responsibilities.

Tune in for information that could help build your business and learn about other events in Springfield that night, including the YPN Afterparty and celebration of the Illinois REALTOR® of the Year Ed Neaves and all the local REALTORS® of the Year.

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Full Transcript:

Jeremy Goeckner: Hello, and welcome to the IR weekly podcast, keeping you up to date with all of the latest news in the REALTOR® world. I’m Jeremy.

Kelli Jessup: And I’m Kelli. On today’s episode, we are talking about Illinois REALTORS®, young professional networks, upcoming program in Springfield, and what to look forward to from the committee in 2022.

Jeremy Goeckner: That is right Kelli for some of our new listeners or our new REALTORS® who are in the business. Uh, would you like to start by telling us a little bit more about the Young Professionals Network?

Kelli Jessup: Sure. The Young Professionals network or YPN for sure as we’ll call it is one of our committees here at Illinois REALTORS®. We have about 10 REALTOR® or local REALTOR® YPNs around the state, as well as the state and national YPN. And I do want to point out it’s not about being young as an age. YPN is open to all Illinois REALTORS® who are young in the business.

Jeremy Goeckner: Oh yeah. See, that’s actually a good clarification. I like that.

Kelli Jessup: And we kind of like to say that YPN is all about coming together, sharing tips and networking with other career mind professionals to promote growth and help each other succeed in the industry. Something that I’ve heard a few different times when we’ve done past YPN episodes on different topics. Most of them who, you know, have been successful in the business will tell you it’s not about competition, but rather about collaboration in, in the industry. And that’s what YPN is all about: collaborating, sharing, knowledge and networking.

Jeremy Goeckner: Wow. That sounds like a great committee to be a part of. I’m interested and I’m not even a real REALTOR® here or anything, but you know to get involved. So now let’s talk a little bit about the event that you have coming up in conjunction with the Illinois REALTORS® Capitol Conference coming back in person. Tell us a little bit about this event coming up.

Kelli Jessup: Let’s do it, but to help us, welcome our 2022 Chair of Illinois YPN Connie Vavra. Connie is a member of Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS®. She’s a past participant of Illinois REALTORS®, Leadership Development Class, and served on numerous committees at her local association and state association as a licensed real estate broker and designated managing broker. Connie has a strong passion for real estate broker and agent recruitment, training and development. Connie focuses on helping her staff and employees navigate complex market situations skillfully. She is dedicated to advocating for them to ensure they have a safe and empowering environment and access to the best tools and resources to help them achieve their career goals. Welcome to the podcast, Connie.

Jeremy Goeckner: Yeah, Connie.

Connie Vavra: Thank you, Kelli and Jeremy for having me on today. I’m super excited to talk about our upcoming events.

Kelli Jessup: Welcome back too. You’ve been on a episode for YPN before, right?

Connie Vavra: Yeah. I was on the wallflowers episode actually years back. That was a fun one about networking. So, I’m glad to be talking about networking again, because that is a huge part of our industry.

Jeremy Goeckner: Yeah. So this is a returning champion, another returning champion to the podcast. Welcome back, Connie. Why don’t we just get out right there. Go ahead and take it away and tell our listeners about the upcoming YPN program on March 28, just a few weeks away here in Springfield, Illinois at the Illinois REALTORS® headquarters.

Connie Vavra: Yes, we are super excited to be back in person and we are more than thrilled to be hosting our YPN event on March 28. So this will be the day before Capitol Conference. We do have our event set for the 3 o’clock hour, because this is going to be prior to the REALTOR® of the Year Banquet. We’re really excited about our presenter. We’re going to have Amanda Lott from the National Association of REALTORS®. She is the YPN advisory board chair for NAR. She actually has a great topic and it’s achieving the mythical work life balance. We absolutely love that because we were like, it’s so true. It’s a myth. How do you actually step away from your business without necessarily breaking the business? Amanda brings us a wealth of knowledge on how to protect your mental wealth while still boosting your ROIs health. Because we still need to make money in the industry and help our clients get their next chapter done.

Jeremy Goeckner: That’s great. And I love what you just said about that title is just like so inviting. I want to go to that mythical, work-life balance because you’re right, it’s something that seems almost impossible to actually achieve especially for REALTORS® who are always on the move and always constantly moving onto the next thing. Right?

Connie Vavra: Absolutely. It definitely can be very daunting sometimes as a REALTOR®, especially if you are newer to the industry, you know, trying to create that work-life balance. We talk a lot about how sometimes we’re almost a victim to our calendar. Our clients really set our work schedules, but we really do truly have the ability of slating that time for ourselves. Honestly there are times where I have to book myself a lunch break otherwise, I may not get one that day. It’s just the honest truth of our industry. But you know, a lot of us have gotten into that and we’ve, we’ve realized that that’s part of our industry and we’ve really been able to, um, to create that stability. But I think more than ever in the year 2022, we really want to be able to master how we’re creating that work-life balance and just make it a little bit easier for both sides and a little bit easier to kind of manage. So I’m really excited that this has been a forefront. And I’ll tell you, our committee this year is on fire. They have brought us some awesome, awesome ideas. I mean, honestly myself as the chair and my co-chair Ryan Elwell we are just sitting back and we’re like, you guys do it. You guys are awesome. They have just great ideas. So, we’re super excited to have Amanda and we’re super excited to be in person and hopefully we’re going to see everyone there for the day before.

Jeremy Goeckner: Yeah, absolutely. Well, you talk about lunch break scheduling. That’s just me. Like I instinctively just always eat lunch at my desk every day. You’re right. Like it is this important thing. Life is a part of that equation. The work-life balance life does have to be just as important as that. This is going to be great. I can’t wait to see the speaker.

Kelli Jessup: I can second what Connie’s saying about our committee. They just have a lot of great ideas. For our listeners that don’t know, I am the staff liaison along with Kim House for the committee. So I get to listen in on all their ideas. Connie, do you want to touch on how this topic came about because we haven’t really done a topic like this in the past, or at least when, since I’ve been a staff liaison for YPN. Talk about how this is your theme for the year and how the program came about to do with the theme.

Connie Vavra: We actually started circling this topic at the tail end of last committee here. We all identified that this was something that we couldn’t just throw out there and do without passion, we really wanted to make sure that we executed it for our membership body and really made that message strong, so we decided to table it for the 2022 year. It’s been something where a lot of committee members have been feeling in their own personal business. We do have a great array of brokers that sit on our advisory board, anywhere from commercial to being a designated managing broker for companies to property management, maternity leaves. We’ve got a great array. And so, just looking at our advisory board and seeing how some of them are having that challenge of creating that work-life balance and feeling good about it and not necessarily feeling like they’re missing opportunities in business or in life.

Connie Vavra: So, for the first time I think ever, we actually have year theme for the Illinois REALTORS®, Young Professionals Network and it is increasing your ROIs health while increasing your mental wealth. So, a little play on those words, you know, let’s increase our business health per se, you know, also increase our mental wealth. So, make our mental mindfulness, richer and healthier in its everyday capacity. I’m super excited to be having that as a theme. This is going to give our membership body, I think, a precursor to what they should expect from their Illinois REALTORS® Advisory Board this year. Our Capitol Conference event is just the tip of the iceberg of what we have in store for the year. We’ve got a virtual event that we’ll be doing later on in the season. And then of course, we’ve got our Fall Business Meetings that we are going to definitely be bringing the show to as well. And this is all going to be centered around creating that work-life balance, increasing your, you know, your business, creating your agency, but then also being able to step back and not break your business, right? Take a break, but not breaking the business. It’s going to be awesome.

Jeremy Goeckner: Yeah, that is such an important part. The mental aspect of that, especially coming off the last two years that we have the mental strain on not even just professionals, but just individuals, families, friends, like everything. I love that you’re zoning in on that part of your theme as well, that there is people have gone through a lot of mental stuff this last couple of years, and it’s important to keep that in perspective.

Connie Vavra: Absolutely. It’s been really interesting that you bring that up because you know, a lot of our advisory members, we do a lot of personality tests and it really tells you how you kind of operate as a person, but I don’t think a lot of us really realized how dependent we were on those interactions with our membership with other REALTORS®, with our clients. And so, like you said, I mean the last two years have been just very mentally draining, I think for everybody in one way or another. There have been many people who I’ve identified that they didn’t necessarily know that they thrived off that per that people-to-people connection, but when they weren’t able to have it, they were quickly realizing that they felt isolated or alone, or they didn’t have that support system.

Connie Vavra: Getting our members to understand that they’re not alone in that thought process. I’ll be the first one to say that I’m more naturally an introvert, but there is something to be said about having that personal connection and I do feed off other people’s energies. And there’s a lot of times where I don’t want to network. I’d rather be home, you know, Netflix and chill. But honestly like not having the ability to do that for two years, I did start to see a mental effect on me. I would rather be Netflix and chilling a lot of times, but clearly that’s not entirely what I need all the time. Members need to know that they’re not alone in that thought process. How can we overcome those mental objections and get ourselves back out there, put ourselves back into those networking opportunities, back in front of our clients and our members and be vulnerable again. I’s a lot to take in. I think it’s going to be a really great year and we’re going to have some really great information for our members to use.

Jeremy Goeckner: Absolutely.

Kelli Jessup: Yeah. I’m excited for it.

Jeremy Goeckner: I’m getting hyped.

Kelli Jessup: Everyone can benefit from. I think we’ve covered pretty much everything for the event. It is happening the day before Capitol Conference on March 28. So come down to Springfield the day before.

Jeremy Goeckner: Come down to Springfield. We rule down here.

Kelli Jessup: So, before we wrap it up, is there anything else, um, you want our listeners to know about the upcoming event taking place or Capitol Conference or anything like that?

Connie Vavra: Well, if you are still on the fence about whether you should come to Capitol Conference. I’m going to tell you right now that you should most definitely come to Capitol Conference and most definitely make the drive down the day before. We do have some hotel blocks. This event is going to be before the REALTOR® the Year Banquet, which I know a lot of our members that are going to Capitol Conference will be there the day before for the REALTOR® the Year Banquet. So please come a little bit early and come see us. We are going to be at the Illinois REALTORS® headquarters starting at 3 p.m. until 4:30. So, we’ll make sure you get out in time for the REALTOR® of the Year Banquet. If you can’t make it beforehand and you are coming in on Monday evening, please at least come see us for the REALTOR® of the Year after party, which will be at Celtic mist, which is just across the street from the Abraham Lincoln Hotel.

Connie Vavra: We definitely know how to throw an after party so I’d love to see you all there. I don’t know if staff’s OK with this or not, but I’m going to tell y’all we have a big surprise, a big reveal that we’re going to be dropping, um, at our event. I know I’m super excited for this. I know I’m excited about a lot of things, but you want to be one of the people that knows what’s going on at three o’clock that day, March 28, at Illinois REALTORS® headquarters building. Be there or be square.

Jeremy Goeckner: I’m just saying guys, we’ve got an amazing topic. We’ve got an after party at a bar and we got a big surprise. There is nothing left to say there. Connie, just thank you so much for joining us this week. This was such a fun conversation. We cannot wait for the program in a couple of weeks and to see you right down here in person in Springfield. So thank you again so much for coming on the IR weekly.

Connie Vavra: Thank you for having me. See you in Springfield.

Jeremy Goeckner: That is right. Register for Capitol Conference and plan to come the day before you can go to to register, and you will also find the YPN event and registration link.

Kelli Jessup: And that’s it for this week’s IR podcast. Thank you all for listening and as always give us a rating and review on your podcast app of choice. And if you want any more content, simply search for Illinois REALTORS® on your favorite social media app, we’ll see you next week.