Illinois REALTORS® support scholarship fundraiser and networking event

REALTORS® Zeke Morris (left) and Dale Taylor were all smiles at the Dearborn REALTIST golf outing.

This week the Dearborn REALTIST® Board held its annual William G. Grey Scholarship golf outing in Tinley Park with the Illinois REALTORS® as sponsors and participants in the day’s events.

Illinois REALTORS® President-Elect Matt Difanis shared his photography talent throughout the day, networked with golfers and had great conversations with Dearborn President Courtney Jones. Difanis and Jones talked about how the Illinois REALTORS® and the Dearborn REALTISTS® can stand together in efforts for a diverse leadership and voice in the industry and increasing black homeownership in Illinois.

See photo gallery below.

Spotlight Series features 4 entrepreneurs at REALTOR Conference & Expo

REALTORS® who attend the presentations of Erin Meyer, Desirée Rogers, Steven Levitt and Kelly McDonald at the REALTOR® Conference & Expo will discover entrepreneurial ideas they can use in building their own businesses.

The four comprise the Spotlight Series at the conference, and they will speak on four consecutive days from Nov. 3-6. Register now to see them.

Meyer, an American author and international business expert, will kick off the series on Nov. 3. She is a senior affiliate professor in the Organizational Behavior Department at INSEAD, a private business school based in Paris. She directs two programs there: Management Sills for International Business and Leading Across Borders and Cultures. She also wrote the book, “The Culture Map: Breaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business,” and is a contributor for the Harvard Business Review.

Rogers appears on Nov. 4. She is a business leader, Chairman of the Chicago Tourism Bureau and former Special Assistant and White House Social Secretary for President Barack Obama. Her work résumé includes: Illinois State Lottery Director; chief marketing officer for Peoples Energy; president of Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas; president of social networking for Allstate; CEO for Johnson Publishing Company; and CEO for Fashion Fair Cosmetics.

Levitt speaks on Nov. 5. The economist and University of Chicago professor is author of the books Freakonomics (2005) and SuperFreakonomics (2009) as well as co-author of the Freakonomics Blog. His books and many of the articles he’s written for media publications apply his knowledge of economics to real-life issues such as gangs, abortion, prostitution, guns, global warming, seat belts and car seats, according to his website.

McDonald is a marketing and advertising expert and appears on Nov. 6. She makes frequent appearances on CNBC,, Sirius XM Radio and contributes articles to Forbes Magazine, BusinessWeek and Fast Company. She’s also written two best-selling books, “How to Market to People Not like You,” (2011) and “Crafting the Customer Experience for People Not Like You” (2013). She is the founder of McDonald Marketing, twice named one of the top ad agencies in the United States and one of the fastest-growing independently owned companies in the U.S. by Inc. Magazine.

REALTORS® can register for one day at the conference or all of it.


Morris speaks about anniversary of Fair Housing Act

Leigh Brown talks to Zeke Morris at the Leadership Summit in Chicago this week (Matt Difanis Photo).

This week at the NAR Leadership Summit in Chicago, Zeke Morris spoke about the upcoming 50 year anniversary of the Title VIII of the Civil Rights Act of 1968 or the Federal Fair Housing Act.

The chair of the NAR Event to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Fair Housing Act reviewed some of the history behind the legislation and gave summit attendees a preview of events that will commemorate the anniversary.

Through Nov. 30, Morris is serving on several NAR committees, including:

  • vice chair of the Large State Forum;
  • immediate past vice chair of the Multicultural Real Estate Leadership Advisory Group; and
  • the forum vice chair of the State Leadership Idea Exchange Council.

He is a former president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® and he serves on numerous Illinois REALTOR® committees, including vice chair of the Housing Opportunity Working Group.


Don Ursin, 1981 Illinois REALTORS® president, dies at 84

Donald J. Ursin, an Illinois REALTORS® president who led the association’s efforts to eliminate the state’s usury laws and who was a fair housing champion, died Monday. He was 84.

Ursin was association president in 1981. His tenure came at a time when national interest rates soared above 15 percent and created a pronounced market slowdown.

Ursin is survived by his wife of 61 years, Joyce, and four children.

Visitation will be 5-8 p.m. Thursday at Leonard Memorial Home at 565 Duane St. in Glen Ellyn, with a memorial service 11 a.m. Friday at Faith Lutheran Church, 41 N. Park Drive, Glen Ellyn. (Details)

At the time of his presidency, statewide usury laws limited the amount of interest a lender could charge on a residential mortgage. As a result, many lenders either would not or could not make loans as interest rates climbed dramatically. The association was instrumental in removing the artificial ceiling on rates, allowing more money to flow into the market for home financing.

Additionally, legislation was passed which allowed pension systems in the state to have broader investment authority, providing additional capital in the real estate market.

“Don Ursin took the helm of Illinois REALTORS® at a particularly challenging time,” said current association president Doug Carpenter. “Under his leadership he made sure that the association did everything it could to help homebuyers and its members in the face of a crushing economic downturn.”

An advocate for fair housing, Ursin served on the boards of a number of housing-related non-profit organizations. He began his real estate career with Baird & Warner and later worked for Coldwell Banker.

Power outage forces closure of Illinois REALTORS® Springfield office on Wednesday

Source: Bigstock

A truck accident has taken down part of the downtown Springfield power grid and is forcing the closure of Illinois REALTORS® offices for the day.

The accident, which occurred just after 8 a.m., may take as long as seven to eight hours to resolve, officials say.

Calls to Illinois REALTORS®’ office will be returned Thursday. Messages can also be sent to