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by G. Sax, Director of Growth Management, RESO

Welcome to “Three Questions,” an interview series that introduces you to real estate industry professionals, their businesses and how they interact with real estate standards with a goal of humanizing the tech side of the industry, fun included.

RESO is a remote workforce, so when we have one of our two conferences each year, it is an opportunity for us to meet with each other as well. For this special entry in our Three Questions series, I’m using my first-person voice to say it was a privilege to sit with my colleague, RESO COO Suzanne Biegenzahn, to talk about conference planning and standards in real estate and beyond. Enjoy!

Q1: You don’t typically spend a lot of time in front of the cameras or microphones at RESO, and I know that this interview makes you cringe, but hear me out. You are our longest-tenured staffer, our guiding light and a HUGE reason for why our conferences continue to be popular and growing in stature. What does it take to pull off an event of this magnitude, especially amidst pandemics, hotel construction and hurricanes…and why do you keep putting yourself through it?

Suzanne: The way I plan events is that I visualize being there. And I think about everything that you would see, ask or need. And that’s what helps me cover the details. The mood, the light, the atmosphere, the whole user experience. How far will I have to walk? How long is the bar line? What is the customer experience with the hotel and with RESO?

The first RESO conference had 114 attendees in 2014. It was the first time that we ever did hotel catering beyond pizza and beer in a lounge or at the National Association of REALTORS® headquarters in Chicago.

As for why I do it, it is all genuinely for our members. That is why I take a back seat. This is for them, not me. Obviously, I want it to go well and to enjoy it, but my focus is always on their experience.

Q2: We believe that standards matter at RESO, but it’s sometimes hard to explain to people what we do. We can point to other standards bodies like the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) or the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) stamps of approval – or to standards like Bluetooth – but let’s try a personal route. And I promise that there’s a question in here.

You have two children, one of which appears to be a future blue chip college football prospect and another one that recently got a driver’s permit. Football helmet technology and automobile safety are two areas that undergo rigorous standards testing. Do you actively think about that or do you accept that the experts have it under control? And how do you think most members view RESO in that regard?

Suzanne: I do actively think about it! But I also trust endorsements by trusted brands. I think about and check into it, but it helps if something related to youth football is endorsed by, for example, Gatorade or the University of Texas. I know that those brands are paying attention and are invested in the people that participate in youth sports and consume their brands.

RESO is the trusted Bluetooth for real estate technology standards. The leaders and best minds in the industry are behind it, and I’m proud to be a part of that.

Q3: With the RESO Fall Conference generally taking place during the last week of October, when do you start planning the RESO Spring Conference?

Suzanne: November 1, haha! But we actually start as the fall conference is happening, lining up sponsor ideas and registrations.

In recent years, we have been lucky enough to have a lot of new sponsors. This has been so great, because, honestly, we can’t put on the show we want to do without our sponsors.

I know that we have a tendency to gush, but it is hugely, hugely appreciated. We love our sponsors!