Following his first week with Illinois REALTORS®, Executive Vice President Luke Bell revealed information about his family life, experience, his interests and what he looks forward to in Illinois. He joins our association after 10 years with Kansas REALTORS®, where his last position was vice president of governmental affairs/general counsel.
Where did you grow up?
Bell: I grew up the youngest of four children on a family farm near a small town named Medicine Lodge, Kansas. Growing up on a farm, there was never a shortage of things to be done, but I also learned to appreciate and enjoy the outdoors. Growing up in the Midwest was a privilege and there is nowhere else that I would rather live and raise my children.
What are your interests/passions?
Bell: In the rare moments when I am not attending my kids’ activities and sporting events, I enjoy being outdoors and spending time with my dog child – Maverick the Labrador Retriever. My morning walks are one of the best parts of my day as the fresh air, exercise and ability to clear my head are perfect beginnings to the day.
I am also a huge fan of history and am looking forward to exploring all of the unique historical opportunities around the Springfield area. Although I have read quite a bit about President Lincoln, there is so much more to learn and I am excited to get started.
What excites you about REALTOR® associations?
Bell: I love working with REALTORS® for many reasons, but two things stand out. First, REALTORS® are entrepreneurs and business owners who are passionate about growing their businesses. That passion rubs off on everyone who works with them. This constantly motivates you to improve and keeps you from becoming content or stagnant.
Second, REALTORS® are very in tune with their communities. No other industry organizations have the same intense focus on advocacy and political involvement as REALTOR® associations. REALTORS® are unique in their recognition of government’s huge role in our industry and their ability to help their customers.
How did your association experience prepare you for this assignment?
Bell: In my 10 years with the Kansas REALTORS®, I was heavily involved in running a wide variety of the programs for our members. In addition to serving as the lobbyist and running our political involvement programs, I also drafted statewide contracts and forms, enforced the REALTOR® Code of Ethics and assisted with association governance. These activities provided me with a broad background on the key programs that benefit our members.
What are the biggest differences/similarities between the two associations?
Bell: Remarkably, I have noticed many similarities between the Kansas and Illinois associations. The organizational culture is the same and both associations work in highly-competitive environments where the continuous improvement of relevant programs and services are critical to our members.
On the other hand, the biggest difference is the scale of resources available to REALTORS® in a larger association such as Illinois’. While I have only scratched the surface in my short time here, I have been very impressed with the programs and staff here as well as the opportunity this creates for better and more innovative programs and services.