Leadership Academy

For questions about this program, please contact Marqué Bressler (614) 498-1016.

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2016-17 Leadership Academy Class

The Columbus REALTORS® Leadership Academy aligns with the association's commitment to strengthening central Ohio’s real estate community by building highly skilled leaders within the industry and community. The Academy curriculum consists of nine sessions, seven of which are intensely focused full-day programs designed to help students develop their expertise in business, public speaking, leadership, government, outreach and, of course, the real estate industry. Selection announcement. Graduation announcement. Program photos. More information on the Leadership Academy.

Leadership Academy Class of 2016-2017

Kelly Abbott, HER, Realtors®

Licensed since 2007, Kelly is a longtime Canal Winchester and Bloom Carroll resident. She is a successful agent, team leader (Kelly Abbott & The “A” Team) and satellite office owner in Canal Winchester concentrating in the areas of residential, commercial, short sales, and relocation. In Canal Winchester, she is a member of the Canal Connection, the CW Labor Day Committee, former director of the Peggy Woods Scholarship Pageant, and CWJRD commissioner and coach, a current BCAB cheerleading coach, and a member of the Lithopolis United Methodist Church. She is actively involved in supporting Canal Winchester and Bloom Carroll sports programs as well as other charitable organizations in her community such as Courage, Conquer and Cure. She is currently a Partner Agent, as well as a member of the HER President’s Club and Double Diamond Award Recipient.

"The Leadership Academy has been an amazing experience that I would highly recommend to other agents. It is filled with excitement, soul searching experiences, new opportunities, and more!"

Patti Betts, e-Merge Real Estate

A resident of Millersport and Pickerington/Reynoldsburg businesswoman, Patti has been a residential real estate agent since 1989. She has earned several company awards as well as the Columbus REALTORS® Ten Million Dollar Club award, is a member of the Tri-County Area Realty Association and volunteers for Ovarian Cancer Alliance of Ohio, Lifeline of Ohio and Organ donor awareness. Patti is also a very active volunteer for the Baltimore United Methodist Church.

"Leadership Academy was more than what it takes to be a great Leader.  It was about being a good citizen, a team player, understanding our roles, utilizing the resources available and volunteering not only for our Realtor organizations but first and foremost help folks/organizations that truly need us."

Karleya Chard, Cutler Real Estate

Licensed since 2013, Karleya is an Upper Arlington resident and businesswoman whose team (The Chard Group) focuses on residential real estate and investment. She is a member of the Northwest Area Realty Association, REALTOR® Care Day Committee, Young Professionals Network (YPN), Thrive Moms, Delta Gamma House Corps, and First Community Church. Karleya also volunteers with the Community Shelter Board and Meals on Wheels.

"This academy has allowed me to meet the very best in class and it is such a privilege to be able to say I know Realtors® who both paved the way and those that are out there protecting and promoting our industry for the future. I walk away with a better understanding of the real estate industry in general, the Greater Columbus area, the resources available to me, and more confident in my career path and in my community involvement. When assessing what I learned from the academy sessions I simultaneously think, “what didn’t I learn?” along with “wow, this highlighted how much is left to learn!”

Jennifer Courtright, Keller Williams Consultants Realty

Licensed since 2012, Jennifer specializes in residential real estate, is a property manager, and rental property investor. A long time Central Ohio resident, currently residing in Marysville, she is a member of the Young Professionals Network (YPN) and volunteers at Marysville Grace Church. As an animal lover, Jennifer has also volunteered for RescuedOhio, Cause for Paws, the Capital Area Humane Society, and served as Director of Home Visits for Happy Tails of Central Ohio.

"Leadership Academy was a wonderful experience. It opened my eyes to a whole different world and motivated me to want to excel in my career and spread my wings. This journey taught me that there is more to this industry than selling houses. We can be leaders and difference makers in our community!"

Joan Defenbaugh, Keller Williams Capital Partners

Licensed since 2007, Joan is a lifelong Columbus resident whose team in Worthington focuses on residential real estate and working with investors. She holds the e-Pro Technology Certified designation, is a Technology Ambassador for her company and a networking member of COREE (Central Ohio Real Estate Entrepreneurs). Joan is also a DotCertified trainer and serves on the Finance Committee for Keller Williams Capital Partners. She is a member of the Candace's Crusaders team and participates in the annual Breakthrough for Brain Tumors 5K. (American Brain Tumor Association).

"I learned about myself more than I anticipated, connected with passionate people, and best of all… there is a NEW Best Class!  LA Academy Class of 2016-17."

Lisa Gibbs, HER, Realtors®

A New Albany resident and successful businesswoman with HER's The Raines Group, Lisa was licensed in 2002 and specializes in residential real estate. She has earned the RELl Re-Marketing Specialist, Certified Negotiation Expert, Professional Property Stager, Certified New Homes Sales Professional, and Military Relocation Professional designations. Lisa is also the 2016 president of the New Albany Realty Association and a volunteer with the New Albany Woman's Network.

"Leadership Academy prepares you for life. This was an excellent way to improve my personal skills, expand my mind and gave me an opportunity to explore this amazing community. This is one training experience you never regret signing up for or forget what you have learned."

David Gill, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Calhoon Co.

Licensed since 2012, David is a South Side resident and Columbus businessman specializing in residential real estate. He has earned the Columbus REALTORS® One Million Dollar Club award, and has served on the association’s REALTORS® Foundation Board and Affordable Housing Committees, and as 2016 Co-Chair of its REALTOR® Care Day Committee. David is also a member of Sigma Nu fraternity,  Homeport's Army of 1000, the Hilliard Area Realty Association, 2016 President of the Grandview chapter of AmSpirit Business Connections, and volunteers for Lifecare Alliance (Meals on Wheels), Mid-Ohio Food Bank, and the Furniture Bank of Central Ohio.

"Leadership Academy is an incredible experience that will truly challenge you, and I’d recommend it to any of my other Realtor friends out there. You’ll learn so much about this great city we live in … and a few things about yourself as well.

Fran Link, HER, Realtors®

A Columbus resident and Westerville area businesswoman, Fran has been licensed since 1998, and specializes in residential real estate. She is a member of Columbus REALTORS® One Million Dollar Club, has served on the Association’s Affordable Housing and REALTOR® Care Day committees, and is a recipient of the Floyd Wickham Bronze Award. Fran has served as assistant chair of Lenoir Enrichment Group that helped send kids to summer camp and as director of Triedstone Hope Outreach, an organization established to make life-changing differences in the lives of youth, adults and families in Columbus.

"Learning experience you won’t forget."

Misty Linn, Core Ohio

Licensed since 2006, Misty both lives and works in the downtown Columbus area. She is a member of OTENA (Old Town East) and the Midtown Area Real Estate Association, for which she served as President in 2009. Misty has also served on the Columbus REALTORS® Government Affairs, Grievance, and Professional Standards committees.

"Columbus Realtors® Leadership Academy not only provided an opportunity to grow in my professional role, but also strengthened my personal leadership skills. Growing and learning even more about this city that I already love was an amazing experience!"

Dee Nutter, Keller Williams Capital Partners

A Worthington resident and businesswoman, Dee has been selling residential real estate since 2003.She has earned the designations of Certified Sales Professional and Certified Professional Property Stager Realtor Consultant. She serves on the Agent Leadership Council for her company and has been a volunteer for Bishop Watterson Alumni, Bishop Watterson Athletic Association, and St. Brigid of Kildare School. Dee is also an active member  of St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church.

"Leadership Academy was an amazing and fulfilling experience."

Ted Oatts, Broker/Owner, Worthington Realty

Ted is a Worthington businessman and resident specializing in residential and commercial real estate since 1974. He has served on many committees and as a director for the Columbus REALTORS® and Ohio Association of REALTORS®, and is the 2016 Columbus REALTORS® secretary. He holds the National Association of REALTORS® Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) and the OAR Graduate REALTORS® Institute (GRI) designations and is e-PRO certified. Ted is also a recipient of OAR’s REALTOR® of the Year Award and its Distinguished Service Award. He is currently serving a three-year term as president of the Ohio Baptist Foundation, and is a former president of the Commercial Real Estate Exchangers (CREE) and of the Independent Brokers Association (IBA). Ted just completed a three-year term (2013-2015) on the Worthington Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, is a founding Lifetime Member of Wedgewood Golf and Country Club, and has served as a member of the Choir/Special Music and Personnel Committee at Dublin Baptist Church.

"The best days of Leadership Academy for me were the Crucial Conversations training and Media training sessions. Curriculum included being prepared, staying focused on your message, being succinct – critical components to better communication. Thinking about the facts, listening, finding common ground – good keys to resolving problems. Thank you, Columbus Realtors for your investment in future leaders!     "

Rob Riddle, New Albany Realty

A resident and businessman in New Albany, Rob has been licensed since 2012 and specializes in residential real estate. He is a board member for the New Albany Walking Classic and volunteers for New Albany Presbyterian Church. Rob also serves on the Scholarship Committee for the New Albany Realty Association, the New Member Committee for Rotary International, and is on the National Board of Directors for the University of Kentucky Alumni Club.

"The relationships you build with your classmates and Columbus Realtors staff is invaluable. The time commitment is a significant sacrifice to your business. Be sure that you have the staff and systems in place to allow you to give up a full day every month. "

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