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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Aug. 10, 201709:14 AM EST

Realtors urged to seek balance, find a strategy

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Women’s Council of Realtors State President Gina Arvin says to separate the ‘rocks’ from the ‘sand’ in you life.
by: Maggie FitzRoy Contributing Writer

Within a period of two years, Gina Arvin adopted a baby, helped her mother recover from heart surgery, took over her mother’s role as broker at the family real estate agency, dealt with the sudden death of her brother, helped her father recover from quadruple bypass surgery, completed 120 real estate transactions, took over as March of Dimes advocacy chair — and became Women’s Council of Realtors state president.

She happily accepted the Women’s Council president role, despite her already overwhelmingly busy schedule, because the networking organization is one of “the rocks” in her life, she told members July 14 at a District 1 meeting in St. Augustine. 

The luncheon meeting’s theme was “it’s all about balance.” And creating balance is the Women’s Council theme of the year, which Arvin said is a challenge for many Realtors, especially women. 

When she asked how many in the room work seven days a week, most raised their hands.

“Don’t do that,” she said. 

Arvin’s PowerPoint presentation featured advice on how to prioritize one’s life personally and professionally, which she introduced with a game.

Each table was given a deck of cards and a few minutes to build the tallest structure they could with it as a team.

The challenge was getting the cards to stay up long enough for a judge to go around the room and declare the tallest structure the winner. Few cards stayed up long.

“It’s all about strategy,” Arvin explained. When she tried to build a card tower at home, she said she failed. Then, after Googling, she found an instructional video that taught her a technique that worked. 

“If you have a clear strategy,” she said, “balance is not hard to achieve.” 

She advised figuring out which things in one’s life are “rocks” and which are “sand” in order to make sure the important things get attention first.

“For me,” she said, “rocks are friends, family, productive business and volunteering.” Sand items are cleaning the house, doing laundry, paying bills and non-skilled paperwork.

She produced a jar of rocks and a jar of sand and asked a volunteer to pour the sand into the jar of rocks.

“Fill your jar with rocks first,” she said, “and pour the sand in around them.” If there is not enough space for all the sand, hand some of the the sand items over to others to deal with.

Women’s Council of Realtors District 1 includes the Jacksonville, Flagler County and Gainesville regions.

The organization’s motto is: “We are a network of successful Realtors, advancing women as professionals and leaders in business, the industry and the communities we serve.”

Meeting attendees recited the motto aloud together, then after lunch were treated to a motivational talk about balance by keynote speaker Vera Jones. 

Syracuse University Hall of Fame basketball player Vera Jones told the Realtors to slow down and appreciate each moment.

An award-winning television and radio broadcaster and Syracuse University Hall of Fame basketball player, Jones outlined 10 rules of life that she learned from her mother:

Believe someone is always watching — have faith that everything will be all right.

 Stay close to family — we need each other.

Trust that you are stronger than you think — sometimes you have to go through tough times to learn that.

  • Seek new perspectives — sometimes that requires sticking out your neck.
  • Exercise every day — but don’t forget to breathe.
  • Protect your insides — especially your heart.
  • Know when it’s time to be still — some things are just out of your control.
  • See the good and be the good — that keeps love, hope and joy alive.
  • Slow down — live to appreciate each momentν Appreciate diversity — everyone is different and we can all learn from each other.   

Her speech was packed with humor and received a standing ovation. 

Audrey Lackie, a Realtor with Legends of Real Estate in Jacksonville Beach, said many Realtors don’t see the benefit of being a member of the Women’s Council, because they don’t understand networking.

Only a small percentage of Northeast Florida Association of Realtors members join, but those who do benefit greatly, said Lackie, a past state president. 

Members learn from each other and do business with each other by referring customers from other areas, she said. She always tries to send referrals to agents who also are Women’s Council members.

The organization, despite its name, does not discriminate. Quite a few men attended the luncheon and also are members. 

“Our mission is about empowering women,” Lackie said. “And the men who are members have the same belief.”

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