Reflections from the Chair: Costa Poulopoulos Looks Back on the Year that Was

With my time as Chair winding down, I can’t help but reflect on what was certainly a year to remember. I’m reminded of a famous Greek proverb from one of the world’s most famous philosophers, Plato:

“There are two things a person should never be angry at, what they can help, and what they cannot.”

Certainly, heading into my year as Chair and having to navigate the waters of a global pandemic was definitely not what I expected would be on my plate. There’s no rule book, no game plan for what to do when your whole life, including the profession you’ve loved being a part of for decades, is uprooted.

And there’s no sense in getting mad at the cards we were dealt—COVID-19 became a part of our lives and it was up to us to make the most of what ended up being the challenge of our lives.

I won’t look back on my year as Chair and think of the “what ifs,” because, honestly, I’m proud of how we were able to persevere as an entire industry; in uncertain times, REALTORS® could act as a beacon of light and a voice of reason for Canadians on the move.

While I could lament for long hours about how I missed out on travelling the country, having face-to-face conversations with fellow members and enjoying authentic engagement with you all, I’ll look back one day and take pride in the accomplishments we did achieve.

There were so many victories that didn’t make headlines. Like how some of our more seasoned REALTORS® were able to embrace technology and learn how to conduct business virtually, something that may have seemed too daunting of a task in 2019, but turned into a way of life in 2020. Or how we doubled down on increasing diversity and opportunities to those who may have previously felt sidelined and threw inclusion into the spotlight to create a true mosaic of Canada at the CREA table. Or how we were able to make sure REALTORS® were deemed essential and had access to government support programs they needed to get through the pandemic.

All this to say, I’m so impressed with the resilience of REALTORS®. Look how far we’ve come in a year’s time. National home sales continue to break records month after month, and it’s not that long ago the future didn’t look so bright as it was riddled with uncertainty when our economy came to a halt. Sure, we could have all been angry and fearful of what lied ahead, but instead we forged through.

As I look toward my own future, I’m ready to pass along what I’ve learned to the future Board of Directors and, more importantly, I’m ready to spend more quality time with my wife, Mary, our adult children, and my grandkids. Yes, we’re all REALTORS®, but we’re also all people, too, and it’s important to remember to take time to stay connected to those who mean the most to us.

Thank you to everyone who reached out, offered advice, provided knowledge and gave criticism along the way. Every email, phone call and text message received helped me grow as Chair, as a REALTOR® and as a person, and my hope is that the next leaders at CREA can continue this momentum we have.

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