Today, MRIS is kicking off a new series: In the RESpotlight, where we will be featuring our different MRIS Shareholding Associations on the MRISblog.com. Our first Association is the Greater Baltimore Board of REALTORS® (GBBR) lead by Interim EVP, Carolyn Blanchard Cook. Carolyn met with us and filled us in on all the great things GBBR is currently working on for its members, and its community. She has been with GBBR for 21years, she knows her members and the needs of the community they serve.
“We are here to help our members succeed. We exist to serve our members,” says Carolyn. GBBR identifies what members need to be successful then serves them through programs such as orientation, training and partnerships. One way they achieve this is by working closely with the Society of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals to offer their membership specialized training on how best to serve the Latino Community.
At its core, GBBR is there to serve its members, but they also seek to enhance and improve their local community. For example, GBBR is a sponsor of Adopt-a-Classroom (adoptaclassroom.org), where they help fund school supplies for 21 K-12 Classrooms for Baltimore County Public Schools. “For the 2010-2011 school year, we collected $10,500, making it possible for us to adopt 21 classrooms benefitting more than 600 area students,” says Carolyn. You can see the full list of charities GBBR supports here: http://www.gbbr.org/foundation/.
We asked her to tell us what’s new with GBBR and our favorite story was how they responded to Hurricane Irene. In August, Hurricane Irene swept through town leaving many Baltimore based businesses without power. GBBR was one of the lucky buildings with electricity, so, they opened up their doors for their members and allowed them to come in and conduct “business as usual. We felt so fortunate to have power that we couldn’t wait to share it with our members. Being a resource means being available to everyone at any time and we’ve been doing just that for over 150 years,” elaborates Carolyn.
“We think strategically to help our clients in this industry. Whether we can help with dues or be a resource for tools and training, we want to see our members succeed,” says Carolyn. Baltimore faces similar struggles to many other Associations across the country; foreclosure, short sales and a tight economy. GBBR recognizes this and helps their members by creating payment plans for dues and working closely with the credit union to help with fees. Carolyn continues “we may not have all the answers but we always put our members’ needs first.”
You can find out more about GBBR at GBBR.org
About Carolyn: Carolyn Blanchard Cook has been serving as the Interim Executive Vice President of GBBR since June. Prior to joining GBBR, Carolyn was an attorney engaged in general civil litigation with a focus on family law and corporate matters. She holds a dual Bachelor’s degree from Towson University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Maryland School of Law. She is currently pursuing an MBA and a Masters in Nonprofit Administration through the University of Maryland University College.