Her work on local, state and national committees is about bringing positive changes to the industry.
Name a local, state or national real estate committee and there is a likelihood that Diane Cook has been a part of it by serving as a board member or attending meetings.
That is one of the reasons the Northeast Florida Association of Realtors named Cook as its 2018 Realtor of the Year at the organization’s “Sharing the Journey” installation of officers and awards gala Jan. 17 at the Jacksonville Marriott.
“Our winner certainly fits the bill of involvement, with a history of service to NEFAR, Florida Realtors, the National Association of Realtors and the Women’s Council of Realtors,” NEFAR CEO Glenn East said during the event, before listing many of Cook’s accomplishments and announcing her name.
Her list of extensive contributions includes serving on both the NEFAR and Florida Association of Realtors boards of directors and on NEFAR’s strategic planning, forms, RPAC and candidate screening task forces, as well as the legislative committee.
That’s just a small portion of the positions she has held.
Not long after she chose real estate as a second career about 12 years ago, Cook decided she wanted to become involved and help bring about positive changes in the industry.
“People will ask me all the time, ‘Why do you do all of that?’” she said, referring to the many committees she serves. “The reason I do it is I believe that this industry and the value that we provide can be so much better. I think we can be respected much more.”
Cook, 57, said she feels as though some people look at real estate agents in the same light as used car salesmen, and that some brokers and real estate agencies worry too much about how many agents they have instead of focusing on fewer, but more educated, Realtors.
She said the industry could be made better if all real estate agents realized that they essentially are running their own businesses when they get their license because they have to market themselves as being trustworthy.
It all comes down to providing superior customer service to every client, she said.
Before becoming a Realtor, Cook studied business at Auburn University and moved to Jacksonville in 1983 to work in the mortgage banking field. She learned the software side of the business and became a trainer, traveling around the country to teach others how to use the computer programs.
After deciding to try real estate, Cook obtained her license in 2006 and worked for one year with a Coldwell Banker real estate agency before moving to Exit Real Estate Gallery in 2007, where she has been since.
Along with being named the Realtor of the Year, Cook also accepted the position as secretary of the NEFAR board for 2019.
She said even though she knew she had been nominated for the award, it still came as a shock when her name was called.
“I didn’t expect it and I’m very honored to have received it,” she said.