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.
This week’s interview is with Bill Lublin, CEO of Century 21 Advantage Gold, the 2023 MLS and Data Management Liaison for the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and much more. We chatted about volunteer leadership, continuing education and the city of Philadelphia. Enjoy!
Q1: You are a voracious volunteer amidst local associations, state associations, national association committees, MLSs and venture funds, among other pursuits. Have you always had this service mindset, even before you were the CEO of a successful brokerage?
Bill: Oh, yeah. My first foray into volunteering was as part of a committee at the Greater Philadelphia Association of REALTORS®. It was the “Make America Better Committee Against Graffiti.” We did art contests in urban schools in Philly and provided t-shirts and prizes to kids across the city.
It was very intimidating to me, because I was forging beyond my own local neighborhood association. This was the big one “downtown.” I thought, you know what, I’ll just go down there and try to make things better than they were when I got there.
I like helping people, and I like doing things that move the needle. This country has been really good to my family, and I try to never forget that. I’m the grandchild of immigrants – four grandparents, only one born in New York. The others came from areas that are Poland and Ukraine today.
Q2: You have been a real estate educator since the 1970s and have trained thousands of people to adjust their businesses at the dawn of social media via the Social Media Marketing Institute and NAR’s e-PRO® certification. You have been a vocal proponent of “Raising the Bar” of real estate professionalism in the industry, and you have even taught real estate in the United Arab Emirates! What do you see as some critical factors in the future of real estate education?
Bill: You name it, I’ve done it. Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager (CRB), Seller Representative Specialist (SRS), Certified Real Estate Team Specialist (C-RETS), NAR’s Green Designation and more. With nine designations and certification, and one endorsement (C2EX), I’ve got the real estate equivalent of the EGOT [Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony].
I have taught in London, the RE Institute of Dubai and in Canada. I love teaching in Canada. They are thoughtful about professional development, they are incredibly polite and they love to party.
I really think that real estate professionals, as a group, are generally committed to improving the communities that they are in, and those are the people that want to do things better and right.
I’m always impressed with NAR’s Good Neighbor Awards. We recently had three winners from Pennsylvania, and I was so proud. These are people who do things out of the kindness of their souls that just happen to enrich them personally. I don’t know if there is anything greater than this except perhaps spiritual fulfillment, emotional connection and chocolate.
As for how education affects the future of real estate, I don’t know that there is such a thing as a critical factor. Professional education is a constant. You should want to learn how to do things better and then learn how to do other things and then learn how to do those other things better. When you’re impacting the lives of other people, it’s important to know what you are doing before you do it.
Q3: Philadelphia. Although you are often in other cities across the country and world, you seem to be grounded in the City of Brotherly Love, cheering on all of your sports teams and promoting the local flavors as often as you can. What is so compelling about Philadelphia, has it always been home and will it always be home?
Bill: Philly has always been home. I love its history. I really love the people. We have such an incredibly diverse city. I love that about other places, too, like Toronto and Los Angeles.
In Philadelphia, we represent the roots of this country. I’ve stood in the building where they debated and discussed the Declaration of Independence and thought long and hard about a country that constantly wanted to be better.
I’m a huge history buff. We know that we’re the product of imperialism and colonialism. Even though it hasn’t been a straight line and parts of our population have suffered incredibly, we have always had the promise and dream of going forward. I like that.
Practically, in Philadelphia, we’re close to other cities like New York, Baltimore and Washington, DC. So that’s a plus.
I also have a place in Los Angeles, and I like being there, too. I wouldn’t object to living somewhere else, but I don’t know where that place would be. Maybe the Costa del Sol in the south of Spain or London, UK. It’s tough to choose between climate or culture.
In the final analysis, I think Philly’s pretty good. I’m a very simple guy. As long as I have access to an airport and maybe a little dark chocolate, I’m happy.