VOL. 127 | NO. 64 | Monday, April 2, 2012
SPECIAL EMPHASIS: Office & Industrial Real Estate
Kobernus Takes Reins of MAAR Commercial Council
By LESLEY YOUNG
When Aubrie Kobernus goes home at night, she has a new hat to hang by her door. The 33-year-old was recently promoted to director of the Memphis Area Association of Realtors’ Commercial Council.
Aubrie Kobernus is director of governmental affairs for the Memphis Area Association of Realtors and director of the MAAR Commercial Council.
(Photo: Lance Murphey)
“I worked very closely next to (former Commercial Council director Melanie Blakeney), so when she was promoted to executive vice president of MAAR, it was logical I fill in that role,” Kobernus said.
There has been a lot of shuffling around of late at the real estate trade organization, according to Kobernus.
“With the national economy, the real estate industry has declined, so our membership has declined and our staff has declined,” she said. “We all wear multiple hats.”
Kobernus’ other donned hat is director of the organization’s governmental affairs program, a position she has held since 2006.
With Kobernus’ past experience, the governmental affairs chapeau suits her well. While earning her master’s degree in finance and nonprofit management from George Washington University in Washington, Kobernus interned in the government affairs department at a large financial corporation.
Every day she went to Capitol Hill to sit in on hearings concerning the housing and mortgage industry.
“I was there when Hurricane Katrina hit, so I got to hear how it affected the banking sector and how they planned to rebuild,” she said. “I listened to markups on certain bills, and I would report them back to the government affairs staff and brief the head of the mortgage company.”
This experience proved to be invaluable when she returned home to Memphis and joined the team at MAAR.
“It’s important to have an understanding of these issues and how legislation impacts the industry,” she said. “It’s not federal, but the state and local issues. If an ordinance is discussed at City Hall, I will go and listen and we determine if we need to speak with our city councilman, if we want to fight or support it.”
It’s just these type of services offered by MAAR that are reason enough for joining the organization, Kobernus said.
“Political advisory the association does and the main issues we’ve addressed over the years that impact the community, that’s a very important part of what we offer,” she said.
The Commercial Council offers to its members numerous educational opportunities, something no commercial real estate player can do without.
“Every commercial practitioner must get 16 hours of continuing education credit every few years, and it can be hard to fulfill these education credits so specific to commercial real estate,” she said. “We make sure we offer these credits that are not designation credits.”
That’s one reason Kobernus makes sure she stays connected with similar organizations, such as the Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM), the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) and the Women’s Council of Realtors, which offer classes at MAAR.
“A lot of these groups are members on our education committee, and we try to coordinate education opportunities for our members,” she said.
Kobernus and the Commercial Council team also try to coordinate plenty of networking opportunities. They include the upcoming 12th annual Pinnacle Awards ceremony, the recently well-attended Commercial Property Forecast Summit held in February, the annual election party held every August and this year’s second annual golf tournament, which will be held May 24 at Windyke Country Club and benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Mid-South.
Kobernus gets excited talking about the council’s outreach opportunities like the golf tournament and its recent partnership with the Binghampton Development Corp.’s Urban Farms Project.
“The golf tournament is already sold out, and we expect to give away four wishes this year,” she said. “The current president and I share a lot of excitement about reaching out to a community that has given so much to the Commercial Council and the real estate community.”
The multitude of activities keeps the office busy, a positive sign for the Council and the market’s outlook, Kobernus said.
“Everybody in the office is as busy as can be, which is definitely a positive sign,” she said. “I’m optimistic, but we’re still not definitely without our challenges.”
When Kobernus gets home, she doesn’t get to hang her hat and leave her busyness at the office. She switches her two hats for another.
“I have an 18-month-old son,” she said, “and he keeps me very busy.”