Illinois REALTORS® 2021 President Sue Miller recognized REALTORS® Tommy Choi, Matt Difanis, Lutalo McGee, Michael D. Oldenettel, Mike Scobey, Ginger Sreenan and Rebecca Thomson with Presidential Medallions Thursday at the Board of Directors meeting, concluding the Fall Business Meetings. 

Outgoing presidents annually award the medallions to people who make significant contributions to the association and the real estate industry. 

Tommy Choi 

Tommy Choi photoChicago REALTOR® Tommy Choi of Keller Williams ONEChicago was recognized with a Presidential Medallion for serving as the National Association of REALTORS®’ (NAR) 2021 Vice President of Association Affairs.  

“Tommy has served in one of the highest posts with NAR and has represented our state so well. Tommy has been an advocate for the entire state not just this past year but in the years immediately preceding this year when he served as an advisor to then-incoming President Charlie Oppler. What many will never know is the number of times that Tommy has gone to bat for our state, has promoted our state and all its members and all the time that Tommy has devoted to making sure that Illinois’ reputation on the national stage is glowing. Thank you Tommy for all you have done for us,” Miller said.

A member of the Illinois REALTORS® Board of Directors, Choi has served on numerous committees and working groups since 2012. He was the chair of the 2020 Strategic Planning Committee and the State Legislative Contact for Rep. Greg Harris of Chicago. In 2014, he was part of the Illinois REALTORS® Leadership Development Class. He is a Golden R, President’s Circle and RPAC Hall of Fame member. 

He has served as a NAR director for five years and is a past chair of the NAR Young Professionals Network Advisory Board. He is a former president for the Chicago Association of REALTORS® (CAR) and a member of its current board of directors. 

Matt Difanis 

Matt Difanis Presidential Medallion photoChampaign REALTOR® Matt Difanis was recognized with a Presidential Medallion for his work as Chair of the NAR Professional Standards Interpretations and Procedures Advisory Board. 

Based on the recommendation of the advisory board, NAR’s Board of Directors added to Article 10 of the Code of Ethics to prohibit harassing speech, hate speech, epithets or slurs toward people in all federally protected classes as well as gender identity and sexual orientation. It is the most significant anti-discrimination change to the Code of Ethics in decades and means that discriminatory hate speech by REALTORS®—even outside of work—is sanctionable under the Code.

Difanis, a managing broker/owner with RE/MAX Realty Associates in Champaign, was 2018 president of Illinois REALTORS® and has served on both the state and NAR boards of directors. He has been Chair of the Finance and Strategic Planning committees, as well as the Public Policy and Government Affairs Member Involvement Group and the Governance Task Force. He is a Golden R President’s Circle and RPAC Hall of Fame member.   

Difanis served as president of the Champaign County Association of REALTORS® and was the organization’s REALTOR® of the Year in 2013. He was the recipient of the Titan award from the Chicago Association of REALTORS® Industry Partners in 2018, recognizing his work to promote diversity. In 2020, he chaired the NAR Professional Standards Committee. 

Lutalo McGee 

Lutalo McGee Presidential Medallion photoLutalo McGee, the owner and managing broker for Ani Real Estate in Chicago, was recognized with a Presidential Medallion for his work as Chair of the Illinois REALTORS® Discriminatory Appraisals Task Force. 

In December, we created our Discriminatory Appraisals Task Force and set it out with two primary goals. The first was to find immediate ways that we could help our members who are faced with this intolerable conduct right here, right now. By spring of this past year, our task force was able to produce a guide for all REALTORS® who are faced with discrimination in the appraisal process,” said Miller. “The second was the long-term goal of developing practical and policy solutions that will help us eradicate this problem once and for all. It has been less than a year but our Task Force has come through and we are currently in the process of taking policy solutions that address appraisal reform, licensing reform and discipline reform and preparing them for presentations to both state and federal officials involved in this conversation. Our Task Force’s progress in such a short period of time is nothing short of spectacular and it wouldn’t have been possible without Lutalo McGee.

McGee has been a member of CAR, Illinois REALTORS® and NAR for 16 years. McGee was named the 2019 CAR Managing Broker of the Year and awarded the 2020 CAR Community Service Award. He serves on CAR’s Education Foundation Board, the 77 Diversity Committee and the CAR Board of Directors. He is an Emerald R RPAC investor. 

Michael D. Oldenettel 

Michael Oldenettel Presidential Medallion photoREALTOR® Michael D. Oldenettel, of The Real Estate Group Inc., in Springfield, received his medallion for his role as 2021 Region 7 Vice President.  

Speaking of the National Association, we cannot speak of contributions without recognizing one of our most experienced, talented and selfless members – a man who never says no to this state or its leaders and a man who also shows us every day his dedication to you and the association over himself. This person is on his second tour through his local leadership, is one of our most cherished past presidents and continues to this very day to give back at every opportunity. It is my pleasure to honor his service today – please join me in congratulating and thanking, Mr. Michael Oldenettel,” Miller said.

Oldenettel was the 2013 Illinois REALTORS® president and the 2018 Illinois REALTOR® of the Year. He chaired the Illinois REALTORS® Professional Standards, Strategic Planning and Finance committees. He has served on the Illinois REALTORS® Board of Directors, as a dean of the REALTOR® Institute and as president of the Illinois Real Estate Educational Foundation (REEF).  

He’s served on the National Association of REALTORS® Board of Directors and twice was president of his local REALTOR® association. He is a member of the Illinois Real Estate Administration and Disciplinary Board. He is a Golden R President’s Circle and RPAC Hall of Fame member, too.

Mike Scobey

Mike Scobey Presidential Medallion photoMike Scobey, Director of Local Advocacy for Illinois REALTORS®, received his medallion for his 32 years of service to the state association. He will be retiring at the end of the year.

“Mike has dedicated over three decades to this association and to fighting for us, its members. He is responsible for helping to shape our advocacy programming and making it the success that it is today. He has been a successful tactician, bringing our association one policy win after another, whether it was in lobbying a local governmental body or advocating on a ballot issue,” Miller said.

“For 32 years, he has served us every day. For 32 years, he has put our interests first. And now, after 32 years, he will be retiring and beginning a new phase in his life. We regret that the association is losing an incredible teammate but I know I speak for members and staff alike when I say we are truly happy for him and pray for endless joy and happiness for him in whatever comes next.”

Ginger Sreenan 

Ginger Sreenan Presidential Medallion photoRockford-area REALTOR® Ginger Sreenan received her medallion for serving as an interim association executive for the REALTOR® Association for Northwestern Illinois (RANWIL) during the second half of 2019 through the first half of 2021. 

While many of you saw the news earlier this year of the merger of the Rockford Areas Association of REALTORS® and the REALTOR® Association of North West Illinois, what some of you may not have known are the amazing lengths that Ginger Sreenan went to, to care for RANWIL and its members right up until that merger became effective. Ginger is a broker just like the rest of us but she agreed to give of herself temporarily to serve RANWIL and see it to its next phase. What was supposed to be just one year, turned into multiple years, hours and hours of driving and many more hours in the office, responding to and caring for her fellow RANWIL members. Ginger, you are an amazing example of a selfless member whose dedication we have all benefited from,” said Miller.

Sreenan, a broker with Pioneer Real Estate Services in Rockford, has been a REALTOR® since 1994. She’s been active in REALTOR® association business for many years on the local, state and national levels. She’s a past president of Rockford Area REALTORS® and for the Rockford chapter of the Women’s Council of REALTORS®. She is a current member of Illinois REALTORS® Board of Directors, is the State Legislative Contact for Sen. Steve Stadelman of Rockford, is a former Federal Political Coordinator and is a Sterling R and President’s Circle member for RPAC. She served on many committees over the years, including the Illinois Bicentennial Task Force and the Ethics Citation Panel.

Rebecca Thomson 

Rebecca Thomson Presidential Medallion photoChicago REALTOR® Rebecca Thomson was recognized with a Presidential Medallion for her work as Illinois REALTORS® Special Committee Board Liaison. 

“The Board Liaison is asked to attend as many of the special committee meetings as they possibly can, to evaluate the leadership of those committees, to offer general leadership guidance to those committees and then most importantly, to relay information to the Executive Committee – essentially serving as their eyes and ears. Not only did she attend the meetings, but she gave encouragement, advice and guidance to the committee leaders and came back to the Executive Committee with precisely the type and amount of information that was needed in order to evaluate committee members’ progress,” said Miller. “Rebecca, you exceeded our expectations.”

Thomson, of Coldwell Banker Realty in Chicago, has been active on the local, state and national REALTOR association levels as well as the Women’s Council of REALTORS® in Chicago. As a member of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® (CAR), she has served on its board of directors, several committees and as its 2017-18 president. With Illinois REALTORS® she’s worked on numerous committees, including twice as chair of the YPN Advisory Group and twice on its board of directors. With NAR, she serves on its board, as vice chair of its Strategic Thinking Forum and the Strategic Thinking Forum. In the past, she’s been on the NAR national executive committee and chaired the 2017 NAR convention in Chicago. Thomson is a Golden R, President’s Circle and RPAC Hall of Fame member and serves as the State Legislative Contact to Rep. Ann Williams of Chicago.