As chief executive officer of Illinois REALTORS®, Jeffrey Baker is at the helm of one of the largest and most influential trade groups in the state. It is 50,000 REALTOR® members strong. Under his guidance, the association provides education through its own real estate school and ethics and legal training, and it advocates at every level of government on behalf of brokers, homeowners, landlords, renters and businesses.
“We are the strongest voice for REALTORS® in the state on policies that make their businesses better and on housing stability for the millions of homeowners and renters in Illinois,” says Baker.
Part of Illinois REALTORS®’ mission is to work for its members to have stronger brokerages, which results in stronger communities. The real estate industry is one of the largest contributors to the state’s economy, and this held even truer this past year. “I am grateful every day for the opportunity to help lead an organization whose purpose is to fight for access to the American dream for everyone and to contribute to housing stability throughout the state,” Baker shares.
Throughout 2020, tens of thousands of Illinois REALTORS® looked to him for guidance on how to navigate working through the COVID-19 pandemic. Under his leadership, Illinois REALTORS® responded rapidly to the pandemic to protect not just its employees and their families throughout the state, but the real estate market and the state’s economy.
“Once we knew the industry could continue to operate, we spent several months providing daily guidance to all involved in the real estate industry, giving assistance on everything from best practices for safe open houses to instructions on how to apply for PPP or unemployment benefits,” says Baker. “By mid-summer 2020, we had begun transitioning to providing them with guidance on how to revitalize their businesses and communities.”
His team’s effort and sacrifice to protect one another while protecting the state’s largest economic sector during the pandemic is Baker’s proudest accomplishment in the past year. He most looks forward every day to spending time with his three children.