How and why did REALTOR® Magazine create YPN, and how has it evolved to where it is today?
In 2006, REALTOR® Magazine sought to build off of the momentum of its popular “30 Under 30” feature (www.realtor.org/30under30), which recognizes rising stars in real estate. With so many young people joining the real estate business, the magazine wanted to help members of the new generation feel a closer tie to the magazine, to each other, and to the greater REALTOR® community.
During the 2006 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in New Orleans, REALTOR® Magazine invited “30 Under 30” honorees and other registered attendees to a networking reception for a fast-paced game of speed networking. The overwhelming response: Attendees wanted more of YPN! We have since held a networking party at every REALTORS® Conference & Expo.
In October 2007, REALTOR® Magazine created the YPN Website (www.realtor.org/YPN) as a way to share articles, resources, and links geared to theyounger audience. We asked our readers to identify themselves by submitting an online form. In less than a year, YPN had nearly 1,500 members participating and counting!
The “YPN Lounge” blog (www.realtor.org/ypnlounge) began in January 2008 as the “online meeting place” for young real estate professionals. About 20 young professionals regularly contribute, ensuring the blog is lively and well read.
YPN events, funded entirely by sponsors, consistently draw hundreds of REALTORS® and are booked to capacity—often requiring a waiting list for those who didn’t RSVP fast enough. Needless to say, the events now have a reputation as the hottest party at REALTOR® conferences. NAR’s 2008 President Dick Gaylord, whiles peaking at a Board of Directors meeting, referred to YPN as one of the most exciting events at the conference!
A team of 7 successful young professionals comprise the first YPN advisory board (http://www.realtor.org/archives/ypnadvisorybios), formed in January 2008. The board meets semiannually, and also communicates via e-mail and conference call. The board recommends YPN educational sessions for conferences, provides insights to NAR leadership when requested, and offers overall direction for YPN activities.
YPN sponsored its first education session at the2008 REALTOR® Midyear Legislative Meetings: “Marketing Strategies That Work,”featuring a panel of Gen Y and Gen X members. The standing-room-only crowd was proof that we should offer sessions at every conference. A YPN-track of suggested sessions for young professionals was offered for the first time at the 2008 REALTOR® Conference & Expo.
In 2008, YPN won a Folio Fame Award for its events and won two awards (Society of National Association Publications, and the American Society of Business Publication Editors) for its online community.
In 2009, YPN began to expand its network with local and state REALTOR® associations who used the YPN model to start their own young professionals network in their area. Local and state REALTOR® associations across the country have started to create their own networks. You can find the growing list of networks here.
In May 2010, NAR’s Board of Directors approved the formation of the YPN Advisory Subcommittee which reports to NAR’s Communications Committee. It currently consists of 12 members serving staggered two year terms.