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2021 Real Estate Awards Honoree: Dionna Hall

Dionna Hall is the CEO of the Broward, Palm Beaches and St. Lucie Realtors® and BeachesMLS with 36,000,000 members and 39,000 subscribers, respectively. Hall’s MLS possesses over $22 billion in listing inventory and her Association is the third largest local Realtor® Association in the U.S. She oversees 80 staff in eight offices spanning 125 miles of Florida Coastline. Her MLS and Association credit her with numerous accomplishments, including facilitating their last two mergers, one which was the largest Association merger in the National Association of Realtors history; rebuilding their MLS, implementation of localized subscriber service in a megaregion to better serve brokers and agents and tripling the company’s size. Dionna is currently the 2021 Chair of the National Association of Realtors MLS Executives, serves on the Council of MLS’s (CMLS) Board of Directors and the National Association of Realtors Association Executive Committee, as well as other industry groups. Hall was recently named for the 4th year to Swanepoel’s Power 200 list, a ranking of top 200 real estate professionals in the country.

Favorite Quote: “If it is easy, you are not reaching far enough.”

Fun Fact: My family helps put on the largest Oktoberfest in Florida.

What challenges have you faced in your career, and how did you overcome them? One of the largest challenges I have faced is effectively and cohesively bringing together two companies and their staff after the merger between the Palm Beaches and Greater Fort Lauderdale Realtors Association. My previous organization was known in Florida for our cultural attitude that fosters positive relationships and collaboration. Staff professionals have been with the organization for years/decades, including myself. I had to ensure that the 25 staff members we gained through the merger not only exhibited the best customer service for our members, but they felt and believed in that vision. It took a lot of hands-on mentoring with every staff member we gained from the merger. They had to see and understand me, that I would work even harder than they were for this and willing to put in the time and sacrifice. Every day I drove over three hours to be in the same office as these staff members. Running a team like this took motivation through a lot of difficult times and hard work on my and the staff team’s part. We currently have 80 staff, eight offices, a Corporate Board, MLS Board, five Regional Boards and are running 30 committees and 27 task forces to keep our finger on the pulse of our subscribers and members. Absolute dedication is needed by my large team to successfully accomplish our goal of being the Association and MLS of attraction.

What has been the most monumental moment of your career thus far? Uniting a fractured Association and MLS marketplace to deliver better service to realtors by cutting red tape, reducing fees and giving more access to real estate data, which ultimately benefits the consumer.

What inspired you to make Real Estate a career? The real estate industry affects all aspects of our local and national economy and homeownership is a vital piece of pursuing the American Dream. It is inspiring and exciting to work in this industry to help preserve homeownership, protect property rights and ensure the future of the real estate profession. Real estate is more than just selling or buying a home. It’s the foundation of building healthy and thriving communities and creating an avenue for families to grow together. I love being a part of that!

When in 2020 did you realize that something major was happening in South Florida Real Estate? When the pandemic arrived, there was an immediate shift in the Real Estate industry. Our Association was forced to kick into high gear to help members thrive in their business during an economy shutting down. First, effective lobbying of the government to keep Real Estate an essential service was the first key to continuing Real Estate at an optimal level. Next, we had to help our members transact in this new environment. That took enacting a suite of products that allowed a realtor to complete a transaction virtually, such as virtual tours, online transaction management, and e-sign programs—communicating and enacting this suite of products that allowed Realtors® to complete a transaction virtually. We recognized the demand from consumers for realtors to provide a streamlined virtual service, so our MLS team created a virtual open house field in the MLS. This field was the catalyst for the future programs we put in place. Once we had our members comfortable with the virtual open house field and how to use it, we created a substantial Virtual Open House Week in our marketplace. This allowed our members to show consumers that Realtors® could safely show and close homes virtually. It also helped prove to the government that we were good partners keeping everyone safe while essential. We introduced another communication tool in our weekly virtual town halls, so our realtors had the most up-to-date information straight from the decision-makers. Information ranged from unemployment to loan availability to cutting the red tape that was hamstringing our industry. We also kicked up our virtual training to help members use this new technology (such as virtual tours, online transaction management, e-sign program). We did this live so members could ask questions and dig deep into the issues they were having. Finally, there were constantly breaking news updates, and our members expressed frustration keeping track of the local, state, and national updates, so we created a micro-website to ensure members had up-to-date information and access to needed resources. Our web traffic tripled!

Who was your most helpful mentor in the business? Every year I have the opportunity and pleasure of working with a new association president. Each one inspires and challenges me to grow as they help lead and guide our membership. They have all become my mentors and help remind me of who the member is and how best to serve them. This partnership with my president has instilled tremendous value in my career. 

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky

Editor-in-Chief

BIOGRAPHY

Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.