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by G. Sax, Head of Communications, RESO

Nicole Jensen and Greg Sax.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. The goal of the series is to humanize the tech side of the industry, fun included.

This week’s interview is with Nicole Jensen, CEO of realMLS in Jacksonville, Florida. We talked about taking as long as you need to find where you belong, brand identity and, uh, Three Questions. Enjoy!

Q1: You have made stops in Palm Springs and Indianapolis on your way to Jacksonville, but a huge portion of your career – nearly 20 years – was spent with the REALTORS® Association of Lincoln and Midlands MLS in Nebraska. Career paths are obviously different for everyone, but yours has been particularly interesting in terms of varying longevity at positions and geographic time jumps. What advice might you offer to someone wanting to pursue a career in REALTOR® association or MLS leadership? 

Nicole: Keep going until you find your place and your position. I learned valuable lessons at every stop. For each location and role, I learned so many different things that have led me to where I am today.

In the end, I consider myself to have found a great place with amazing people, a wonderful location and the right environment to thrive. I love my Board of Directors, and I believe the feeling is mutual.

When I arrived at realMLS, I helped foster a change in the board’s leadership role and direction. I can’t hand-pick my bosses, of course, but I can encourage like-minded people to become MLS volunteers and to join our MLS leadership programs.

I can encourage them to become more aware of RESO and CMLS, to participate in governance, to be aware of our strategic plan, to know our goals as an organization and to help achieve them.

We provide a choice at realMLS for their volunteer leadership journey, and I believe the importance of our MLS leaders now resonates with our subscribers.

Q2: The name of your organization, realMLS, is fascinating in several ways. It continues a modern tradition of leaning away from geographic names in favor of a brand word. Starting with a lowercase letter is the antithesis of the ALL CAPS brand of REALTORS®, and it makes one ask what a “real” MLS is. Do you think much about your brand name or does this question simply annoy you? 

Nicole: I use it throughout everything we produce: realLeader is our leadership program, realLearner is our education program, realDeal is our email newsletter and so on.

You caught on to something. The idea behind it is not just “real” for real estate but “real” vs. fake. We provide truth and transparency. We’re also realLY good at what we do.

RESO (G. Sax): RealLY? That’s too far, haha!

Nicole: Whatever, man. It’s all true!

Listen, I inherited the realMLS name, as they had just rebranded from NEFMLS, also known as I’m thrilled to move on from that name, so I realLY leaned into the realMLS name.

Q3: You once said that you would never sit for a Three Questions. What made you change your mind?

Nicole: It was a joke, but you didn’t ask me before everyone else, so you needed to be punished.

In all seriousness, I’m sitting here talking to you now, because I think Three Questions is a great feature that is needed in our industry.

Adding humanity to all the tech and data that we do – it matters.

It’s short and sweet, and I always learn something new about the people I interact with and do business with that I did not know all that well.

RESO (G. Sax): For saying nice things and for being willing to answer these questions, Nicole, we made you our 100th entry in the series!

So thank you! And thanks to everyone that has answered what are sometimes silly questions. Cheers to the next 100!


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