The Greater Regional Alliance of REALTORS® Leadership Academy (GRARLA) is a dynamic program of experiences, education, and opportunities that are intended to foster a new generation of Association and real estate industry leaders that are diverse in age, career experience, culture, and gender. The class size is determined by the Candidate Review & Development Committee, but is typically limited to 20 members per year who have shown an interest in:

  • Personal Goal Setting
  • Business Planning
  • Networking
  • Public Speaking Tips and Techniques
  • Real Estate Tools and Technologies
  • Team Building Exercises
  • Association History, Structure & Operations
  • Community Involvement & Activism
  • Economic Development
  • Equal Housing & Cultural Diversity
  • Public Policy & Advocacy
  • Risk Reduction & Legal Updates
  • Leadership & Consensus Building
  • And More!

PROGRAM COMPONENTS AND 2018 EVENT DATES:  Program includes the sessions referenced below, several of which will qualify for continuing education credit.

  • January 30:
    • 12:00 (noon) to 1:00 p.m. – Leadership & Networking Luncheon with GRARLA Class of 2018, GRARLA Alumni, the GRAR Board of Directors, and GRAR Staff; and
    • 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. – The Class of 2018 will remain for an abbreviated Keirsey Temperament Profile (by Julie Rietberg and Pam VanLuven) and special highlights from GRAR’s history (provided by select members of the GRAR Board of Directors).
  • February 21 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 (noon). –  Ted Talk and Discussion and a Team Building Exercise (This session will feature the following special guests:  Ryan Ogle, Mark Brace, and Gene Szpeinski)
  • March 14 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 (noon) – Networking breakfast with the GRAR Board of Directors and then observe the Board’s monthly business meeting.
  • March 28 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. – A focus on legislative advocacy with Rob Campau (Michigan REALTORS CEO), Brad Ward (Michigan REALTORS VP of Public Policy), Doug Merriam (Michigan REALTORS West Michigan Director of Public Policy), and Lisa Lyons (Kent County Clerk and former State Representative).  EVENT SPONSOR:  COMMISSION EXPRESS OF MICHIGAN
  • April 25 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. – NAR At Home With Diversity Certification Course (in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act).  EVENT SPONSOR: A CLOSER LOOK HOME INSPECTION
  • May 30 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. – Economic update from The Right Place (West Michigan’s leading economic development organization).
  • June 27 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. – An interactive discussion re: professionalism in a market where inventory is low, delays are being used to generate buzz, multiple offers and escalation clauses are common, and tensions run high.  EVENT SPONSOR:  PNC BANK
  • July 25 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. – Table Topics Public Speaking Event – Facilitated by Jodi Smith and Pam VanLuven.     EVENT SPONSOR: A CLOSER LOOK HOME INSPECTION      Note:  Participants will also be asked to observe a 1-hour meeting of the BDO Toastmasters Club at any time during the months of August or September.  The Club meets weekly on Wednesdays from 12:00 (noon) to 1:00 p.m. 
  • September 27 – Bus trip to Traverse City for the day to attend the Michigan REALTORS Annual Convention & Expo.  EVENT SPONSOR:  WATERSTONE MORTGAGE
  • October 17 -from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. – Legal Update from Brian Westrin (Michigan REALTORS Director of Legal Affairs).   EVENT SPONSOR: FIRST AMERICAN TITLE
  • November 27- from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. – Tour of Gordon Foods and presentation re: servant leadership. EVENT SPONSOR: FIFTH THIRD BANK
  • December 14- 10:00 a.m. – Graduation ceremony at the Annual Installation & Awards Celebration at Frederik Meijer Gardens.

The GRARLA Class of 2018 will each receive a copy of the book, Hug Your Customers, courtesy of HOME TEAM INSPECTION SERVICES.

GRADUATES:  Those who complete the GRARLA program will:

  • Receive priority placement on GRAR committees and task forces.
  • Receive credit for the equivalent of one year of committee service (to meet eligibility criteria for service on the GRAR Board of Directors and/or the Professional Standards Committee).
  • Receive recognition at the Annual Installation & Awards Breakfast.
  • Receive an engraved award to celebrate the accomplishment.
  • Receive authorization to use the GRARLA logo in marketing materials.
  • Receive recognition (with photo) in the alumni section of the GRARLA webpage.
  • Receive continuing education credits for certain components of the GRARLA curriculum.
  • The GRARLA logo will be added to his/her personal roster page on the GRAR public website (with a click through to an explanation of the program).

APPLICATION, ELIGIBILITY & FEE:  The cost to participate in GRARLA is $495 per person and, while we realize that this is a significant investment, we believe that it is indeed just that… an investment in your career. It is also a great value! The actual cost to partake in a program of this nature that includes the types of sessions referenced above, continuing education credits, materials, bus trip, and refreshments is well over $800 per person.

In order to be eligible to participate in the GRARLA program, applicants may not have been found guilty of a Professional Standards violation within the preceding five year period.

Applications for the Class of 2019 are due by 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 18, 2018.  Please click here to access the application.

ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENTS:  There is a time commitment. 100% attendance is encouraged in order to successfully complete the GRARLA program. We recognize that this is a year-long commitment and unforeseen events may occur; therefore, GRAR Staff has the ability to administratively approve one excused absence. Any additional requests for excused absences must be for extraordinary reasons deemed acceptable by the Candidate Review & Development Committee. This isn’t an attempt to be hard-nosed, rather the Committee is sensitive to the fact that the class size is limited and some applicants may be turned away as a result. Therefore, we want to insure that those who are accepted into the program are fully committed to the curriculum and time requirements.

NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS:  The class size will be approximately 20 total participants per year. At least 15 of the participants must be REALTOR members of GRAR. The Candidate Review & Development Committee is responsible for identifying the members and size of each annual class.  The Committee will be meeting on December 21 to identify the Class of 2019

CLASS OF 2018:  Brenda Bolin, Lacey Connor, Ashley Dane, Sherlynn James, Antonio Holbrook, Rachel Major, Darryl Matthews, Kyle Naumann, Steve Robrahn, Kristin Ruther, Joshua Schaub, David Scheid, Rustin Scott, Brooke Slocum, Paul Spica, Steve Stuckey, Corrin Timmer, Seth Vanderwey, Amy Jo Weller, and Andrea Zoet.


CLASS OF 2017:    Nick Adado, Maria Blackmer, Paul Bunce, Micah Childress, Adam Connor, Amanda DeLong, Laura Featherston, Will Friend, Becca Greenhoe, Teresa Hoffman, Chad Jurgens, Wendy Katerberg, Jessica Lemmon, Dan Moralez, Andrew Norden, Jordan Painter, Scott Sharda, Dan Steffee, Hank Steffes, Lindy Tanis, and Kyle Visser.

CLASS OF 2016:  Brett Beimers, Robert Brown, Alix Criswell, Mollie Dauser, Darren DeFever, Lindsey Dykstra, Michelle Gaudreau, Kendra Havemeier, Jason Jenkins, Jacob Lietaert, Cory Maguire, Melissa Mitchell, Scott Myhre, Joshua Nawrot, Patricia Round, Leslie Ruppel, Heather Rus, Brooke Sines, and Melissa Thompson.

CLASS OF 2015:  Connie Bennett, Brian Clinger, Michael Courtright, Charlene Hammontree, David Jackson, Tina Johnson, Dave Kiel, Diana Meyer, Bryant Mitchell, Zach Newhof, Amalia Nunez-Marin, Beau Otis, Jodi Rogers, Mallory Strotheide, Mike VanderWoude, Rachael Veldkamp, Sheri Volkhardt, Carrie Vos, and Laurie Zokoe.

CLASS OF 2014:  Jim Blehm, Yvette Blehm, Rory Byrne, Patrick Fase, Larissa Frody, Ron Hudson, Jim King, Beth Mans, Wyatt Martin, Cindy Nelson, Jayne Overbeck, Hanna Partlo, Tracie Rich, Susan Stoddard, Craig Stolsonburg, Lisa VanderLoo, Greg Williamson, and Wayne Wu.

CLASS OF 2013:  Melanie Abraham, Bev Boerman, Mark Brace, Robin Decker, Brian DeSmit, Diane Ebbers, Michelle Gordon, George Guyott, Jeanine Herlacher, Susan Kazma, Scot Kellogg, Melissa McDermott, Ingrid Nelson, Adam Paarlberg, Susan Pastoor, Linda Pell, Amy Reedy, Jessica Tucker, Michelle VerMeulen.