Its that time of year again – time to get your application in for VAR’s Leadership Academy.

VARealtor.com has this “overview”

The Virginia Association of REALTORS® presents its Leadership Academy Program. Through this program, VAR attempts to identify emerging REALTOR® leaders in the state. We encourage them with motivational activities. We sharpen their leadership skills in the hope they will exert a strong positive influence on the future of the Association and their profession.

While this is accurate, it just barely touches the surface of what Virginia REALTOR® Leadership Academy (hereafter, VLA) is about.

When I was asked to write about Virginia REALTOR® Leadership Academy I quickly said “of course – gladly”, I am passionate about VLA. I sent out an email to a few VLA alumni and current class members and I posted a tweet on Twitter for VLA members to share in 140 characters or less their VLA experience.

Quotes from present and past members of VLA

Julie Emery
To get the 30,000 foot view. To have a say in the future of your profession. To connect with the best in the business.

Jim Duncan
A place to hear good speakers, connect with points of view and people from around the state & leverage collective knowledge & goals. I don’t know if you want to post this, but for me, it wasn’t the lifelong bonding experience it was made out to be; that always felt very contrived to me. I went to VMI – that was a bonding experience. This was a fantastic opportunity to meet other REALTORS® who actually do real estate who care about improving the industry from within the political system in which we all exist. As I said in one of our retreats, it was the first time I had been in a room full of Realtors that I felt comfortable that they all were competent. It was a sad, but telling observation – but true.again, you probably don’t want to post it, but it’s true.

Scott Rogers
Great venue for candid conversations about how we do business — lots of learning to be had from the variety of perspectives that VLA classmates bring to the table!

Lynn Wagner
Wow, what an experience… like none other! The speakers, camaraderie , friendships, work, fun are just amazing. I can hardly wait until the July retreat at Stonewall Jackson Hotel in Staunton. The word is that there will be alumni attending and lots of fun activities! Are we there yet?

Cindy Stackhouse:
VLA taught me more than Leadership skills for VAR, but instead prepared me for a comfort zone of volunteering for my community and charities, as well.

While attending VLA and directing VLA, I made some of the best friends, mentors and resources for the rest of my life. The networking with national speakers, state and local experts and the students themselves enriched me professionally and personally.

Bill Burruss:
Gee!!! for experience. Being around people who care a great deal about their work, their association(s), which was my leadership class, and giving the class the opportunity to learn from other great leaders, our Past VAR & NAR Presidents, is magical. I feel it is important to be around these people. What saddens me after leaving the VAR Leadership Academy is that I feel that we need to be discussing issues or brainstorming more than having meetings. I hope that our Blog on Ning.com will be able to stimulate these type of discussions.

SO what was my experience – all of the above and much more. Shortly before the second retreat I had a life threatening injury, I now refer to as “My Big OUCH” , I went to the retreat against my husbands wishes because I KNEW my VLA classmates would care for me and support me - they did! The VLA Class of 2007 has become more than classmates; they have become a network of advisers, mentors, cheerleaders, referral agents, instructors, all people I can trust. This network extents beyond my VLA Class of 2007 to all the classes.

Make sure to get your application in – remember only 20 REALTORS® are selected each year – make sure you are one of those 20 for the Class of 2009!

Your VLA Experience:
First class education – yes, Leadership skills – yes, network of top REALTORS® – yes, lifetime friends – yes, personal growth – yes, confidence to be my best – yes, fun – yes, hard work – yes, worth the time sent – YES!