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September 22nd, 2020

karem gallo with cakeROBERT PIERCE • Leader & Times

 

A local realtor has been named to the 2021 class of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Leadership Academy.

Starting in January 2021, Karem Gallo, who works at Liberal’s Heritage Realty, will be one of 25 realtors taking part in several sessions to help develop, enhance and hone leadership skills and competencies.

“It’s a program of eight sessions we’re going to do online, and there are also in-person sessions,” she said. “It’s a self-paced period over three weeks for the interactive online part, and the in-person meetings are one day.”

The group will be doing a Capstone Project as well. Gallo is unsure of what that project is at this time, but she said the leadership academy will not only provide better leadership skills, but also better education and better interviewing for realtors.

“We’re going to get meet people from throughout the entire nation,” she said. “We’re also going to learn how NAR leads real estate from Washington D.C. and how realtors get to lobby in each of their states with their board of directors. We get to go to the legislative meetings, which I’ve been to before. Next year, we going to go to San Diego for national convention.”

Gallo said January’s first session was initially scheduled to take place in Washington, D.C, but now, it will be a virtual session instead. She said she has already begun communicating with the rest of her class members.

“We’ve already started a group on Facebook,” she said. “We communicate like that. All of us communicate virtually in getting to know each other, and we’ve been hosting Zoom meetings just to get to know each other.”

The 25 realtors were chosen from 200 who applied nationwide, 40 of whom get chosen for interviews, and those numbers are part of a pool of 1.4 million realtors worldwide. There were more than 200 realtors who applied, and only 40 got chosen for interviews. Out of those 40, 25 were chosen for the academy. There are 1.4 million realtors in the whole world, so anybody could’ve applied.

Gallo said she had applied to be part of last year’s class, but she did not get an interview at that time.

“You apply for this, and you have to go to D.C. whenever you have an interview,” she said. “It’s at the legislative meetings. They won’t let you know you’ve been chosen for an interview until the day before the legislative meeting starts. I had so much fun, I got to meet so many people, and I got to hang out with the Kansas Association of Realtors.”

Gallo said she wants to enhance what motivates her as a realtor, or what she referred to as her “why.”

“My ‘why’ is to help people,” she said. “I really like helping people buy a home. Everybody has a ‘why’ for why their doing things. It was really pushed last year to figure out your ‘why’ as a realtor. Why are you doing it? Is it for the money? Is it to help people? Is it just because you want a title?  My ‘why’ is to help people. I don’t do it for the money. I like to help people. It is nice to have your career be your passion and still get paid. It’s nice to put a smile on somebody’s face. I want to enhance my ‘why,’ and I do want to become a better leader. I want to be able to listen to everybody else’s opinions and be open minded, have an open heart.”

Gallo attended a Zoom meeting recently with some of the realtors in this year’s academy class, many of whom have been in real estate for more than a decade.

“I’m barely hitting my fourth year with my Kansas license and a few with my Oklahoma license, so it’s actually pretty neat how I’m able to go and strive for more,” she said. “I love how I get to put Liberal on the map.”

Naturally, Gallo said being part of the NAR academy is a big accomplishment for her.

“Right now, I’m currently in Right Track, which is through the Kansas Association of Realtors, which is another leadership academy,” she said. “I finished LEAD this year, but I’m excited to be able to do something nationwide.  I think that’s so cool.”

Applications for this year’s academy class opened in December 2019, and the deadline for this year was extended to March. Gallo said making the class was particularly special for her because she had been going through a rough patch in her life.

“My father passed away,” she said. “He was my biggest supporter in real estate.”

Gallo said after applying, realtors are notified via e-mail or phone for interviews, and when she was gardening at her home, she missed the initial call from NAR leaders.

“I called back, and they’re like ‘Oh hey this is so-and-so from NAR, and we want to set up an interview for the leadership academy,’” she said.

Gallo said even hearing that message made her cry.

“I had my interview in May, and they said ‘We’ll let you know in July if you make it or not,’” she said. “July came. I didn’t hear anything else. I was like, ‘Well I guess I must not have made it.’”

But in August while attending a church service, Gallo would receive another call.

“I looked at it, and I was like, ‘Well that’s an unknown number,’” she said. “I thought maybe they want to buy a house or something.”

It turns out, though, the call Gallo got was from a number in Rhode Island, which would eventually lead to the news she was part of the NAR class.

“I just put it to the side,” she said. “I just texted them, ‘I can’t talk right now. I’m in mass service, but do I need to help you with anything?’ They were like, ‘This is so-and-so from NARLA.’ My heart sank, but mass was just about to start. I really wanted to run out and go call her back, but I’m like, ‘No, I have to put God first because God delivers.’”

Gallo would eventually run out of the church following mass and call the number back, and after she had gone to pick up her mother for another service, her phone once again went off.

“I answered, and she was like, ‘I just wanted to talk to you. Do you have two seconds to FaceTime?’” she said.

Gallo FaceTimed with the individual, and the two began talking.

“She said ‘I know we said we were going to get back to you in July, but we didn’t. We’ve been so busy, but we’re making phone calls to everybody who didn’t make it. I wanted to FaceTime everybody when we tell them they did make it,’” she said. “I was like, ‘Oh my God,’ and I lost it.”

Gallo said her mother even got to experience hearing she was named to this year’s academy, and the realtor would again begin crying.

“I’m really excited by just the fact it was not my first time I applied, but the second time, and I kept going for it,” she said.

In addition to being a realtor, Gallo is an artist, and earlier this year, she was named as a member of the Kansas Creative Arts Industry Commission. With all of this accomplished by age 29, Gallo said she gets much out of achieving those accomplishments.

“My parents always taught me to go the extra mile,” she said. “I like to do things to better myself. I want to be a mentor to my future daughters, my future children. I want to be a mentor to my niece. I like accomplishing in what drives me towards my passion in art and in real estate.”

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