As the Senior Director of Communications and Media Relations for the Chicago Association of Realtors (CAR), Barbara Matthopoulos is one of the most widely recognized individuals at the association, and for good reason – her position encompasses nothing less than ensuring that all of CAR’s 11,000 members have all the tools they need to succeed, which can include media relations, engaging volunteers for committees and special events, and providing information through CR Magazine, CAR’s website and electronic/social media communication, to say nothing of the association’s award-winning Young Professionals Network.
But though Matthopoulos is a constant presence at the many events that CAR hosts, it may be unclear to some members just how involved her position is in maintaining and further developing CAR’s services, so she told us her typical day at work to offer some perspective:
6:30 a.m. – 7:30 a.m.
Review emails, then scan and review local and national media for business and industry trends to share with our members over the first cup of coffee for the day.
7:30 a.m. – 7:40 a.m.
Field a call from a producer of a national radio show looking to gain insight on Chicago condo pricing. Pitch President Zeke Morris and get him confirmed for the interview later in the day.
7:40 a.m. – 7:45 a.m.
Call CAR Senior Communications Specialist Meredith Morris, and ask her to prep a few relevant market statistics from Communication Coordinator Kali Loader for me to review. From there, we prepare talking points for Morris, who then personalizes them and adds market anecdotes.
Time to get ready to go into the office!
En route to office, a CAR Young Professionals Network member calls me with a lead on a sponsor for an upcoming event. I connect her with our Sponsorship Sales Coordinator, Mary Beth Durkin, and share some ideas to engage the prospect.
9:15 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.
Once at the office, I meet with our Director of Member Care and Professional Standards, Amanda Withrow, on how to connect with brokers about our “Membership Dues and MLS Fees” four payment plan option,
to ensure members have no unplanned service interruption.
9:45 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Meet with the CAR Events Team at a potential site for our Sales Awards event, and compare to other options and bids. Which offers the best audio visual services? Most reasonable valet parking prices? Decisions, decisions!
10:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Return to the office. Review and accept an invitation to visit a broker office meeting in the western suburbs next month and review the final proof of our weekly CAR member newsletter, the REALTOR Connection.
11:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
Meet with Jessica Kern, CAR’s marketing communications manager, on strategies related to our Realtors Real Estate School, staffing and collateral for an upcoming City of Chicago event where we have a booth and our new FastStats statistical data program for members.
11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Run to a lunch meeting in the Gold Coast to meet a major Chicago newspaper reporter on consumer messaging and local trends.
1:00 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.
Quick coffee run before the afternoon continues!
1:15 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.
Meet with our Chief Operations and Finance Officer, Warren Frank, and review financials for events and communications.
1:45 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Catch up with CAR CEO Ginger Downs on association matters, workgroup items and ideas to help get the word out about scholarships offered through the CAR Education Foundation (CAREF).
3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
A quick 30 minutes to return emails, review a press release, respond to an affiliate and review art concepts for our next cover of CR Magazine with CAR’s graphic designer, Jim August.
3:30 p.m. – 3:50 p.m.
While grabbing the third cup of coffee of the day, walk through the office and visit with Director of Professional Development Tina Stepaniak. The topic: our newest pre-licensing campaign, and our new office rewards program offering incentives for brokerages who send us their new licensees-to-be.
3:50 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.
Return the call of a Wall Street Journal reporter I’ve been texting and phone-tagging with throughout the day who is looking for background and sources for a story.
4:15 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Update and approve time sheets, return member calls and get on a brief conference call with Realtor communication directors from across the country on Nationwide Open House.
5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Attend a CAR Member Outreach event for members on the city’s North Side and North Shore.
Call it a night and head out to dinner with the girls!
Even though her typical day might end there, Matthopoulos will take work calls after hours. Her enthusiasm for her position drives her to always be on-call.
“I really love what I do – no two days are alike, as I am always on the go,” she says. “My iPhone rarely leaves my side, as staying plugged in via email, text and calls allows me to handle just about anything, any time.”
Because CAR offers such a wide variety of programs and benefits to its members, Matthopoulos says she is constantly reminded of the value of her work.
“We hear countless stories of how members develop their networks through involvement with CAR,” she says. “Whether it’s a new contact they make at an event or a consumer who reaches out to a REALTOR with questions regarding the housing market from a story we’ve placed in the media, our reach is far and wide.”