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Because of Women's Council of Realtors, some of Rory Dubin's best friends in Jacksonville work at companies outside his own. In fact, he met his wife, Janna Thomas, through the council. Dubin serves as WCR president this year.
Jax Daily Record Saturday, Jan. 10, 201512:00 PM EST

Dubin builds friendships with competitors through Women's Council of Realtors

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by: Carole Hawkins

Referrals, education and not just for women.

The Women’s Council of Realtors has been one of the most effective organizations Rory Dubin has found to build a real estate business.

A broker/associate for EXIT Real Estate Gallery, Dubin takes over as WCR Jacksonville’s president in 2015. If he seems a natural fit, it’s because he’s done it before.

Dubin joined WCR in Venice 10 years ago, just after entering real estate. He was running for a state representative seat. The local WCR chapter encouraged him to become a member and endorsed his candidacy.

Dubin was edged in his primary by a well-financed opponent, but he easily won another office. The Venice WCR a few months later made him its membership vice chairman. Within a year, he was the group’s president.

Founded in the 1950s, WCR originally promoted women in real estate but today, 10 percent of its members are men.

Over the years, Dubin stayed in WCR for the relationships it brought him.

State and national meetings connect members across broad geographies. WCR members also have a strong allegiance to their group’s online referral database. It’s one of the largest real estate referral networks in all of the United States, Dubin said.

“If someone tells me they need a Realtor in Idaho or in California or Michigan or somewhere, the first thing I’m going to do is see who the local women’s council member is. I always do that,” he said.

Realtors seek referral business because it lowers their marketing costs. About half of Dubin’s referral business comes from WCR.

Dubin also found that professionalism runs high among WCR members. WCR promotes that through its educational designation, PMN, which teaches networking, business development and leadership and requires Realtors to do a number of referral-based sales.

“I consider those courses to be some of the best ones I’ve ever taken in real estate,” Dubin said.

As president this year, Dubin said he’ll focus on building members’ businesses through the speakers and topics selected for WCR’s monthly business lunch.

“I want our programs to be relevant and timely, but most importantly, to increase profitability,” he said.

Dubin entered real estate after working as manager of his family’s citrus groves, a total of 1,300 acres across Southwest and Central Florida.

He liked the sales part of the job — representing the family’s crops to Tropicana and Sun-

kist — but otherwise, was mostly interacting with crews at citrus processing plants.

”It’s very sheltered. You’re not with the public that much,” he said.

In the mid-2000s, when a citrus canker started wiping out groves, Dubin consolidated and sold much of the family’s holdings. The land sales and 1031 tax exchanges he was involved in as an owner led Dubin to consider a career in commercial real estate.

A people person who was involved with the local chamber, volunteer groups and political campaigns, the new career stuck. He joined WCR within a year of entering real estate.

Realtors from different brands don’t always trust each other and can act competitively in their day-to-day business, Dubin said. Once they join WCR, people become more open.

“I feel much more comfortable doing business when I know the person on the other side of that table is a Woman’s Council member. It really doesn’t matter what company they’re from,” Dubin said. “My best friends in Jacksonville are Realtors from other companies.”

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