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Walking in Their Shoes: A Venezuelan Expat’s Humanitarian Feat

This article appeared in The Christian Science Monitor on April 4, 2019.

What can a former citizen do from afar for others trapped in a troubled homeland? In this case, organize an effort to meet a basic human need.

FRAMINGHAM, MASS. – Norman Canaie noticed that some of his students at a public high school in Caracas, Venezuela, came barefoot – if they came at all. So last year, Mr. Canaie handed out armloads of donated shoes to his pupils most in need. He made sure to save a pair of white Nikes for a student who had dropped out, ashamed of his tattered sneakers.

The new pair brought the student back to class.

“The children were overwhelmed with the shoes,” says the English teacher in a phone interview. “They’re always asking me if there are more shoes coming.”

Martha Convers arranged the shoes’ 2,000-plus-mile journey from suburban Framingham. Besides working as a real estate agent and Zumba instructor, she has a special side gig: Shoes for Venezuela

Since moving from Venezuela to the United States in 2004, Ms. Convers has watched her country devolve into political chaos. But she repurposed her despair. She started the volunteer donation campaign in November 2017 and estimates she’s shipped at least 3,000 pairs of shoes to the country. Recipients include schools, nursing homes, churches, and nonprofits. With food and other necessities scarce, receiving a pair of shoes can seem like a luxury, Ms. Convers says. 

The political upheaval

Venezuela’s contested president, Nicolás Maduro, continues to crack down on international aid. This has heightened a standoff between Mr. Maduro and legislative...

Power Brokers: Training to Win

ERA Key President and COO Cheryl Eidinger-Taylor was among the Power Brokers quoted and profiled by RISMedia in its 2019 Power Broker Report.

In real estate, accountability is a prerequisite for success. No one embraces it with more passion than Power Brokers, who empower their leaders and managers with pioneering—and often, proprietary—training.

In fact, according to RISMedia’s 2019 Power Broker Report, one of the top two areas of investment for Power Brokers is training, with coaching, education, goal-setting—even mindset—forging a path for productivity.

It’s inspiring, motivating…and the hallmark of a high-ranker.

Growing Your Own: Power Brokers Sound Off

“We offer Lunchtime Learning Tuesdays and Tech Talk Thursdays. Friday Morning Power Hour is a weekly meeting with guest speakers on timely topics. This, along with our online academy, Institute, powered by Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, helps us continually evolve and stay at the forefront. We have weekly WIG (Wildly Important Goal) calls with our entire support team where each person offers something that will enhance the experience for our team and clients.”

– Ken Baris, President, Jordan Baris, Inc., REALTORS®

“We have a program called FIRE (Foundations in Real Estate) that runs one day a week for five weeks, and it’s a full day of covering what you don’t learn in licensing school.”

– Cheryl Eidinger-Taylor, CEO/President, ERA Key Realty Services (HUNT Real Estate Corporation ERA, No. 34 in transactions) ...

Worcester Office Donations Help Sick Children

The Worcester office of ERA Key Realty Services last week delivered 44 hand-made blankets and a collection of stuffed animals to sick children in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at the UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester.

ERA Key’s Spencer office initially became involved when Spencer agent Donna Flannery was made aware of the need for blankets through her daughter, Kayleen Sauvageau, who is a nurse in the unit. The Worcester office joined in the efforts.

Pictured, left to right, are three staff members from the UMass Medical Center; ERA Key agents Denise Foley, Angela Mann and Chris Reilly, who led the efforts for the Worcester office; Sue Hudson, a client and friend of Chris Reilly; ERA Key agents Barry Latham and Irene Caruso; Odimar Batista, a mortgage consultant with HUNT Mortgage, and a UMass staff member.

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Power Brokers: As Competition Heats Up, Dollars Go to Growth

ERA Key President and COO Cheryl Eidinger-Taylor was among the Power Brokers quoted and profiled by RISMedia in its 2019 Power Broker Report.

Faced with overlapping pressures this year, Power Brokers are approaching business with a combination of fortitude, grit and wariness.

According to RISMedia’s 2019 Power Broker Report, 59 percent of Power Brokers have a “cautiously optimistic” outlook—an increase from 52 percent in 2018, and driven by economic uncertainty. As capital flows into the industry and options proliferate, the agent and consumer experience remain priorities, with Power Brokers adapting these areas to compete and, ultimately, win.

With confidence levels shifting, they are leaning into two primary strategies: expansion through mergers and new offices (the No. 5 area of expenditure for Power Brokers); and recruitment (No. 1). Notably, 45 percent of Power Brokers are focused on new offices this year.

A Careful Eye on the Future: Power Brokers Sound Off 

“[Focus on] strategic planning, accountability, being consumer-centric and being completely dedicated to the success of each of your agents and in a way that provides the greatest value to the consumers and clients we serve.”

– Gino Blefari, CEO, HomeServices of America, No. 1 in transactions 

“A ‘healthier’ inventory and days on market will reward those brokers and agents with sound business...