Q&A: How California Became a YPN Leader

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Erica Christoffer

Part four in a series featuring the 2018 YPN Network of the Year recipients.

By Erica Christoffer

A year has passed since Krista Knight accepted the state Network of the Year Award at the 2018 REALTORS Conference & Expo in Boston on behalf of the California Association of REALTORS® YPN. It was the fourth time the group received the award in 10 years. Now, in the running once again this year—and just a few days away from the 2019 NOTY announcement—Knight reflects on what it was like to chair one of the most active YPN groups in the country and how they keep their momentum going.

Q. What, in your opinion, are C.A.R. YPN’s strengths? What has made the group so successful?

Knight: C.A.R. YPN has a lot of strengths. For our 2018 Advisory Board, I wanted to make sure everyone had a fundamental understanding of what YPN is, what our goals are within the association, and an understanding of “why we YPN.” That phrase became our theme in 2018 and we used the hashtag #whydoyouYPN so we could spark others to figure out their purpose within YPN, both personally and professionally. The advisory board members who served alongside me were amazing, dynamic, and so powerful—none of the success that we had in 2018 would have been possible without their help.

One of C.A.R. YPN’s best strengths is our outreach. A few years ago, we came up with an awesome outreach system that helps us get in contact with every local association in the state every year to remind them about YPN, what we do, and how their association can benefit. The outreach at the state level to all of the local associations is where the lines of communication begin, allowing the C.A.R. YPN Advisory Board to be a liaison and act as a mentor or advisor to the local chairs and boards as needed.

C.A.R. YPN advocating for real estate in Sacramento.

Another factor in our success has been the creation the state YPN Advisory Board application process, which allowed us to see that more members are interested than ever before, while also learning about members’ strengths, goals, and more. This has helped bring in a more diverse group across the state, with extra support provided to the local YPNs and associations as they want to revamp or create networks.

Q. How has C.A.R. YPN maintained momentum and member participation?

Knight: The group maintains it’s momentum by hosting multiple events at each of the three annual state meetings and by using our Facebook group to promote all of these events. We encourage our advisory board to attend all the local YPN events happening near them for extra support. We also introduced a few awards. We created recognitions for the Month of Giving event that YPN groups across the state participate in each August: Most Creative Marketing, Most Unique Event, and Top Contributor. We also created a few awards to encourage participation and recognize the hard work that is being done by so many YPNers: The C.A.R. YPN Advisory Board MVP, Top YPNer of the Year, and Local Network of the Year.

How to YPN Workshop

We also encourage our crew to involve themselves in other committees besides YPN, contribute to RPAC, and apply for leadership positions. In 2019, half of the 2018 YPN Advisory Board members served in leadership positions at their local associations.

“How to YPN” workshops were a fundamental part of helping local YPN groups create organizational systems they need. Within this collaborative workshop, we provided round table discussions around a few key topics: sponsorships, events, education, and philanthropy. We allowed the participants to determine the other topics based on the needs within their local YPN.

Q. What was your strongest event and why?

Knight: We host the Month of Giving every August, providing an opportunity for all associations to participate in a community giveback event. In 2018, our C.A.R. YPNers had some astonishing statistics: 29 YPN groups participated, 45 events were held throughout the month, more than $173.6 was raised for charity, and over 1,900 people took part in the movement. We saw the best participation when we paired our How to YPN workshops with a Month of Giving event. At the beginning of August, our state advisory board traveled to C.A.R. headquarters in L.A. to host a How to YPN workshop in the afternoon, followed by a networking mixer at a rooftop bar hosted by the Beverly Hills/Greater Los Angeles Association of REALTORS® YPN that raised funds for a local charity of choice. Give your YPNers a reason to educate themselves and network for a good cause, and you’re headed for success.

Q. What advice do you have for other state YPN groups for engaging with their members?

Knight: My advice to other state YPN groups is to “replace yo’ self,” use resources available to you, and don’t forget your ”why.”  You have to replace yo’ self because as an active and involved industry leader, you have more to accomplish than just your involvement in YPN. Use YPN as your starting point to do more with other committees. When it comes to utilizing your resources, start by calling your NAR YPN Advisory Board for a visit and strategize with your fellow YPN committee members. Many of the best ideas, conversations, and events that came up during my tenure as chair stemmed from talking to the ones who came before us. And, don’t forget the reason why you YPN. It will help keep your vision clear and your purpose in focus. Please feel free to reach out to me if your YPN ever needs help strategizing.

Krista Knight has been an agent since 2014, spending most of her career in California. She recently moved to San Antonio, Texas, and joined Becker Properties. 

Erica Christoffer is a contributing editor for REALTOR® Magazine and manager of the YPN Lounge. Connect with her at echristoffer@realtors.org.

Read about the other 2018 Network of the Year recipients:

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