From the Board table

The Board of Directors were back in the board room in September after a busy summer; here’s what happened:

  • The Board discussed skills required for the 2016 Board of Directors to help the Nomination Committee recruit candidates for election.
  • A report was received and a recommendation passed making broker load training optional. Training will still be available, but no longer mandatory. The rationale behind this decision was the increased technical competency of our members and the ease of loading in the new Matrix system.
  • The volunteers were selected for the Honorary Life Task Force.
  • The Board considered the implementation of IDX, and agreed to move forward with implementation as soon as practicable, following the full roll out of
    Matrix. The decision to make the IDX opt-out was made to strengthen the quality of the product. Members will have ample opportunity to find out
    more prior to the service going live.
  • The Board considered bylaw changes that would impact the composition of the Board of Directors.  The recommendations were referred back to the
    Governance Committee for more research.

From the Board Table

The Board of Directors had their first meeting of 2015 on January 27.  Here’s what was discussed:

  • The strategic priorities for the next three years (as determined at the annual planning session) were reviewed and refined. These items form the basis of the Board and Operational work and prioritize the goals of the Association.
  • The member-submitted questions about the Regionalization initiative were discussed and the Board provided input to staff about additional questions that they would like to see addressed.
  • The committee placements for the Board and Standing committees were made and approved, save for the Audit and Nomination committees. The Board will be reviewing the mandate and composition of these two committees and volunteers will be appointed in April.
  • The voting delegates for CREA and OREA were appointed.
  • The Home Price Index was considered and, given the positive feedback from members who attended two focus groups and a drastic reduction in the cost to implement, the Board voted to move forward with implementation.

Meet your 2015 Board of Directors

DBDonna Bacher, President
Donna joined RAHB in 1983 and is a Broker with Royal LePage State Realty. Donna has served as Chair of the Finance and Communications/Government Relations committees and the Joint (RAHB/HDAA) Rental Licensing Task Force. She has also served on various other RAHB committees.

Donna served as a director for the Ontario Goat Breeders Association and as a Founding Members’ Association Rep to the Toronto Livestock Land Development Board from 2001-2003. She is an avid fundraiser for various charities and a volunteer for Big Brothers/Big Sisters annual bowl-a-thon. Donna holds a Canadian Private Pilots license and has completed her Canadian Commercial Pilots written exam.


KAKim Alvarez, President-Elect
Kim is a Salesperson with Royal LePage Burloak Real Estate Services and has been a member of RAHB since 2009. In serving members, Kim believes strongly in innovation, fiscal responsibility, thorough analysis, transparency, effective communication, equal opportunity and accountability. Her key strengths are her strategic, critical thinking and communication skills.

Prior to real estate, Kim earned her MBA with a marketing specialization and a B.A. in Political Science. She has taken additional courses in Financial Planning, Architectural Technology and Pure Mathematics. She has worked in a variety of industries including management consulting.

Kim believes in building community.  She is a member of the Burlington Chamber of Commerce, proud supporter of the Burlington Performing Arts Centre and assists various charities.  Family, friends, travel, and music balance out her life.


LPLou Piriano, Vice President
Lou is Broker of Record of L. Piriano Real Estate. He first joined RAHB in 1973; he was elected a director in November 2013, served on the Finance and Audit committees last year and previously chaired the Technology Task Force and served on a number of RAHB committees. He is looking forward to chairing the MLS® committee in 2015 and serving as RAHB’s representative on the Governors’ Group of the Regional MLS® system.

Lou is in his fifth decade in the real estate profession and believes it is critical to prepare our organization for the rapid oncoming changes in the next few years. Lou sees serving the members one at a time as a great opportunity to ensure all members are heard equally; he hopes that by offering his knowledge and experience, both members and he can achieve personal and professional growth.  Although Lou has a keen interest in and keeps updated on new technological tools, he notes that some aspects of brokerage really haven’t changed that much over time. It’s still a people business. Lou’s main interests lie in his family (which includes his dogs), playing hockey and squash and donating time and money to animal rescue organizations.


TMTim Mattioli, Immediate Past President
Tim has been member of the Association since 1987 and is a Salesperson with RE/MAX Escarpment Realty Inc.  Tim has served on many association committees, and chaired the Finance, MLS®, Nomination and Government Relations committees as well as the RCC and Home Ownership Affordability Partnership (HOAP).   As Chair of the RCC, Tim was appointed to the RAHB Board of Directors in 2009, and was then elected to the Board in 2010.

Volunteering is important to Tim; he realized that it is important to give back and found that helping others becomes addictive. He believes the association will only be as strong as the people who step up to keep it moving forward. Tim enjoys spending time with his three grown sons, grandson and granddaugher. He has tried sky diving and whitewater rafting and is an avid motorcyclist, touring around North America with friends.


AFAAnn Forbes Arndt
Ann is a Past President of RAHB and is returning to the Board for a second round. She has been a member of the association since 1990 and is a Broker with Homelife Macro Realty Inc. She has served as Chair of Finance and the Member Area Representation committees, as a member of numerous RAHB committees and task forces and on OREA and RECO committees. Ann was named RAHB Volunteer of the Year in 2005.

Ann is a member of the Coaching Association of Canada and the Ontario Coaches Association, and has a Level 3 in the National Coaching Certification program.



GHGary Herron
Gary has been a RAHB member since 1993 and is a Broker at Coldwell Banker Pinnacle Real Estate.  Gary is no stranger to the RAHB Board of Directors; he served on the Board from 2003-2007 and was President in 2006.  He has also served as Chair of the Election, Finance, Executive and Professional Standards committees and as a member on many other RAHB Committees.

Gary became a director again because he felt it is important “to give back to the association that has been so good” to him. He also sees there will be significant changes to the real estate industry over the next several years and wants to be part of it.  Gary has a passion for cooking and fishing, and laments he doesn’t do as much of either as he would like.


PHPeter Holgate
Peter joined RAHB in 2012 and is the Area Manager/Broker at Right at Home Realty Inc. He was a Director of the Georgian Triangle Association of REALTORS® and chaired the Professional Development committee of that association. Peter is a “Fellow of the Real Estate Institute of Canada “ and holds many other distinguished accreditations. Peter is also a 25 year member of TREB and has served several years on the ethics committee, and a two-year member of OMDREB.

Peter is a motorcycle enthusiast and prides himself on being involved with motorcycle charity fund raising events for a woman’s shelter, the Sick Children’s Hospital and the REALTORS Care® Foundation. With over 30 years in the business Peter feels it’s time to give back and being a director of the board enables Peter to do just that.


JLJack Loft
Jack has been a RAHB member since 2004 and is a Broker at RE/MAX Escarpment Realty Inc.  He has served on RAHB’s Professional Standards Committee for five years.

Jack is a retired police officer and loves the outdoors.  He golfs, hikes, cycles, fishes and camps and is an avid reader and traveller.



SMSean Morrison
Sean has been a member of RAHB since 2006 and is a Salesperson with Royal LePage State Realty.  During his time with RAHB, he has chaired the MLS® and Joint MLS® Committees, was appointed RAHB’s representative to the Regional MLS® System Governors’ Group and served on various RAHB committees.

In addition to his work in real estate, Sean also volunteers with the Rotary Club of Burlington and serves on the board of directors of R.A.S.A.R, a local charity. Giving back to the community and to the real estate industry is important to him. Sean has a sincere desire to help improve two-way communication with the membership, explore and expand on new ideas brought forward and help empower every REALTOR® in RAHB. Outside the office, Sean loves sports and has been involved with rugby most of his adult life, having played for 18 years on five teams in three countries.


DNDave Nichols
Dave is a Salesperson with Royal LePageBurloak Real Estate Services and has been a RAHB member since 2007.  He has served on the Professional Standards Committee, MLS® & IT Committee and Statistics Subcommittee.

Dave volunteers with RAHB to help makeour association the best it can be. He feels his time volunteering with RAHB gives him a better understanding of how RAHB serves its members.  Dave thinks that our community is a great place to live but enjoys traveling to other parts of Canada and the world.  Dave also enjoys canoeing and camping and has had the privilege of canoeing the South Nahanni River on two different occasions.


GPGloria Payton
Gloria, a Broker with Century 21 Heritage Group Ltd, is another of our Directors who has previously served on the Board (1995-2000). In her 29 years of membership, Gloria has chaired the Arbitration Committee and Sales Division and has been part of almost every RAHB committee.  She has also served on numerous task forces and ad hoc committees and chaired the RECO and Agency task forces.

Gloria has especially enjoyed teaching the RAHB New Members’ Orientation course for over 16 years. She feels that we are “arguably one of the finest boards in all of Canada” and is proud to call our association home.


HVHeidi Van Der Marel
Heidi has been a RAHB member since 2007 and is a Broker with M. Marel Real Estate Inc. Heidi is a member of the Regional Commercial Council and is Chair of the RCC for 2015.

Heidi likes to spend her free time with her family – her husband and two little girls, ages 4 and 1, and the newest addition who was expected to arrive in time for New Years.

MEET YOUR 2015 PRESIDENT – Donna Bacher

Interview with RAHB PresidentDonna Bacher

1.  Congratulations on becoming president of RAHB.  What made you want to be president?

To tell the truth, being president was never on my bucket list!  But three years ago, I decided to run for a seat on the Board of Directors because I believed I had a skill set in finance and business leadership that could benefit our members.  As a young REALTOR®, I married into a real estate family and have spent over 32 years knowing and loving our profession.  I’m proud to say that my daughter is now a third generation REALTOR®.  Some people may well remember my late father-in-law Harvey Medcalf who was instrumental in bringing the MLS® system we know today to our city. He always encouraged me to be involved at the Board – to give back to an organization that has done so much for me and for my family.  However, no one understands more than I do the time constraints many of our members face.  Juggling family and business can be a challenge and not everyone has the time to volunteer at the Association. There should be no shame in that and absolutely every single one of our members should feel confident that the Association is running efficiently and is there to support them in their unique needs.

As the 2015 President, I can say that I am ready and eager to lead our Association in “Empowering REALTORS® to Succeed.”  Our Members spend their professional lives working to assist buyers and sellers to achieve their dreams of home ownership; I want to help support our members to become ever more professional and successful on behalf of the clients they serve.

2.  Last year the Directors signed a shared services agreement to participate in a Regional MLS® system.  Is this the future of real estate — more sharing of services?

Truly, I believe that sharing information across jurisdictional boundaries is an idea whose time has come.  Buyers and sellers do not want to be hampered by incomplete information being readily available to their chosen REALTOR®, nor do they want to have to go to a different professional to consider properties which lie across an organizational border.  Our members don’t want to have to belong to more than one association. In the past, the technological hurdles made this difficult, but now we have the tools and the will, I believe, to come together as individual boards for the benefit of the consumer and member. This is a HUGE undertaking from an implementation point of view.  Just because the concept of sharing is simple does not mean that getting everything uniform with all participating associations’ systems is easy.  We are fortunate to have capable and dedicated staff able to make this happen.  We as REALTORS® will benefit from increased efficiency and economy and we are glad!  But we are even more pleased that our buyers and sellers will receive smoother and more comprehensive professional service than ever before.  Again, this is an idea whose time has come and who knows? There could be many other things associations could share that would benefit our members.  I could not be more excited about the possibilities!

3.  Every year brings its own challenges.  What do you see as the challenges facing members in 2015?

Technology changes, especially when they involve our MLS® platform, are always difficult, mainly because we find ourselves trying to figure it out on the fly. Regionalization will mean that we say goodbye to Fusion and hello to Matrix and we are going to have another change. However, Matrix has many incredible features and it’s 100% compatible with all our devices, so I think it’s going to be very well received by members.

Over the past three decades I’ve learned that predicting anything around real estate with any certainty is almost impossible. Just when we get use to the landscape, something changes. New real estate brokerage business models, new algorithms for searches on Google, new rules from our regulator and new regulations from the banks and various levels of government. There is a constant stream of change and I don’t think we should expect anything different in 2015.

4.  And the Association?

As I previously mentioned, the Real Estate profession, like most others, is changing at an ever increasing pace.  Our Association’s Board of Directors has the responsibility to not only deal with present challenges of service to our members but also look ahead at the bigger picture and position ourselves and our members for challenges ahead.  We need to have foresight, wisdom and flexibility.  In that regard, we are no different than any other business looking to move ahead into a rapidly changing future. At times I think a crystal ball would come in handy!

5.  Is there anything you would like to accomplish during your year in office?

Is this a trick question? My only true responsibility as president is being the spokesperson for our Board of Directors.  Since we’ve just completed our Strategic Planning session for 2015, I’ll share our top three initiatives.

First, we’d love to have communication between each member and RAHB’s leadership to be better than it ever has been before. My fellow Board Members and I are committed to clear and transparent leadership, giving confidence to each member that he/she is heard and valued.  We have recently completed a professional membership survey which has given us tremendous insights into the needs of our members.  The Board will be busy all year and beyond acting on the insights we’ve gained there.

Then, the implementation of a Regional MLS® system is a HUGE task—so many moving pieces!  So many member concerns and questions to keep in mind!  We know what the benefits are, we just need to put all the pieces together to make it happen.

Third, our Board of Directors is committed to a new and stronger consensus leadership for the benefit of our members.  We’re committed to making clear, well-thought-out decisions that will benefit our membership as a whole. It is exciting and I know it is going to be a great year for everyone involved.

6.  Do you have any last thoughts to pass on to the Members?

What a great question and thank you for the opportunity to speak to my fellow members on it.

Over my lifetime in this business, I’ve realized that all members may not have time to be involved in leadership and business decisions in the Association.  As I mentioned earlier, I understand that work and life responsibilities can limit how much free time we have.  I’ve been there and I get it.  I want each and every member to know that whether they sell one house a year or one hundred, they are all equal partners in this Association.
I recognize the great responsibility I have as your President.  I don’t take it lightly.  I don’t speak on my own behalf—I communicate the decisions of your entire Board of Directors.  I can tell you that you can be proud and confident of the leaders you have elected for the coming year.  I know that, together, we will serve you well and I count it a privilege to lead them.

During my term, I will still earn my living as a full time REALTOR® and at the end of my term, I will still be a member of the Association, one of 2,700 plus REALTORS® serving our community.  I’m hoping that my dedication, respect and love for this industry can help make RAHB more responsive to and valuable for each of our members.  If so, I will be proud of my contribution.

From the Board Table

At its September meeting, the Board of Directors made a number of decisions:

  • agreed to approve the terms of the Shared Services Agreement for the Ontario Regional MLS® service;
  • approved a recommendation from the Government Relations Committee that the Association take a position urging the City of Hamilton to develop and implement a robust Complete Streets policy;
  • agreed to report findings of the Finance Committee sub-committee struck to address the concerns raised by the members and to seek input from the membership on which services could be reduced if the Board was tasked with reducing dues and fees;
  • reduced the entrance fee for new members who have belonged to another real estate association for more than a year, from $1000 to $500;
  • approved the Regional MLS®

From the Board Table

At their June meeting, the Board of Directors made a number of decisions:

  • following review of the feedback from the General Membership Meeting, the Board tabled the implementation of the Home Price Index pending further consultation with members.
  • the Board approved a comprehensive membership survey that will take place in September.  Members will receive more information closer to the date.
  • the Board appointed two members to sit as Governors on the new Ontario Regional MLS® service: the current MLS® Committee Chair, Sean Morrison, and Dan Gies.
  • The Board approved a $32,250 donation to the REALTORS Care® Foundation, to be presented at the Motorcycle Ride for Charity
    on July 9.