Nope, we didn’t go camping on Tuesday, October 2, 2012. Instead, about 100 curious real estate folk showed up the stately Hotel Baker in St. Charles, IL at the first ever statewide REBarCamp. We were promised nothing more than an event where there was no agenda, no speakers, no set time schedule. Huh?
We were assured by the event’s host, IAR’s Young Professional Network, that these REBar Camps really did work out. That we needed to trust the process. That spontaneous would work.
As people signed in at the registration desk they were given cards to list three topics that interested them. The staff — made up of volunteers from IAR, YPN, and local real estate brokerages — quickly categorized and sorted people’s requests. About a dozen topics emerged from this sorting process, group moderators were selected, and we trooped into the Waterfront Room.
NAR YPN representative Rob Reuter gave a very nice introduction about the history of bar camps. Yes, they did originate from groups of people meeting in a bar, but now the “bar” part of the event was reserved for the networking party at the end of the day.
Attendees sorted out in four areas of the hotel, 2 groups in the Waterfront Room and 2 groups out on the patio overlooking the Fox River.
Since I’ll happily talk about anything real estate, I picked a wonderful sunny corner on the patio and participated in whatever topic was discussed in that spot. As it turns out, I got lucky and enjoyed sessions on video and blogging.
Tony Lazzari chatted about his relatively new blog site built by Tribus and the results are impressive. Group participants like Kate Sax from Mainstreet Organzation of Realtors and Justin Letheby from Keller Williams shared their insights into blogging for business in this market.
I helped out with a little session on how agents could think about Realtor.com, Zillow.com and Trulia.com in their business planning. We were fortunate to have Joe Roth from Atlantic and Pacific in our session. Joe was involved in the merger that created what we know today as MRED so his input on IDX and syndication was very interesting.
Popular sessions included iPad/Paperless Agent moderated by Andrea Geller and Future Trends led by Rob Reuter. Attendees were free to move from group to group, and while there were more than a few people who quizzically remarked “this is different”, the spirit of adventure prevailed and a good time was held by all.
After a few hours of expanding our brains we enjoyed a snazzy networking event hosted by Steve DiMarco from Baird&Warner’s Key Mortgage Service. The Rainbow Room was a stunning venue to enjoy libations and appetizers. Several organizations contributed gift cards for a raffle, and one lucky participant, Lorrie Kozlowki won a $500 Apple Store gift card.
It definitely wasn’t camping, but it sure was fun.
A BIG THANK YOU to Event Sponsors IAR Young Professionals Network, Illinois Association of Realtors, Key Mortgage, Guaranteed Rate, Mainstreet Organization of Realtors and the local association RAFV.
Many, many thanks to the Kara Kienzler and Sarah Clayton from IAR who gracefully pulled together this event at the same time that they were getting ready for the annual Illinois Association of Realtors conference over at Pheasant Run. These ladies could organize a moon landing and keep smiling.