Each quarter we will feature one of our active state past presidents.

Our first quarter is Jo Ann Stevens, 1996 Texas State President

1.  Year as President

A.  Who were the line officers? 
The line officers included Sandy Miller as Immediate Past President, myself as President, Carolyn Rogers as President Elect and Mary Parker as Secretary/Treasurer.

B.  How many Governors and TDVP’s with their names and Areas assigned within the state?

There were three Governors in 1996 and they were Sallie Wheeler from Plano, TX, Marti Pattinson from Sugar Land, TX and Cheryl Range from San Antonio. I am still looking for the areas they covered as well as the TDVPs. I will forward what I find.

C. When you were a governor and TDVP, what areas/districts were assigned to you?

I was Texas District Vice President in 1991 and the areas assigned to me were Bay Area, Fort Bend, Houston, Houston 1960, Mainland and Montgomery County.  I served as Governor in 1992 and the Chapters assigned to me were Brownsville, Corpus Christi, El Paso, Golden Triangle, Harlingen, McAllen and Victoria.

D.  How many members belonged to the state chapter?
In 1996 the Texas membership was approximately 1600 members.

E.  Name of home chapter – which offices had you held:
My home chapter is the Fort Bend  Chapter.  We were originally chartered as the Fort Bend/Southwest Houston Chapter but later changed our boundaries and name to Fort Bend.  I was actually one of the original 13 members that chartered the chapter and I served as the first Treasurer in 1987. I held every line officer position with the exception of Secretary and have chaired just about every committee we have; some of them more than once.  I currently serve as Chairman of Finance & Budget for the Fort Bend Chapter.

F.   Personal information:

1.  Husband, children and where did you live:
In 1996 my family lived in Missouri City, Texas.  At that time my husband (Ron) and I were celebrating 21 years of marriage  (we have now been married 37 years), my daughter Ronda was graduating from High School and preparing to start college at Texas A & M University. So we were involved in prom, graduation, moving to college, fish camp, etc. My son Brian was finishing middle school and preparing for the transition to high school. Our two older children, Lisa and David were already married by this time, had children of their own and living in Daingerfield and Katy, Tx.  1996 was a very busy year for the family! 

2.  Employment:

Things were also in transition with my employment in 1996.  I had served as  President of Stewart Title Fort Bend in Sugar Land, Texas,  for over 5 years and in late 1995 the company offered me a new challenge.  I was offered  the position as Senior Vice President with Stewart Guaranty Company, heading up the National Title Services Division out of the home office in Houston. This department was responsible for cultivating and managing national real estate accounts for the company with over 100 employees around the country in 15 different offices.    I accepted the challenge and started my new position in April of 1996!  I would also like to give credit to Women’s Council for this career opportunity.  You see my employers were very impressed that no matter where I went around the state of Texas or even the country, I knew so many REALTORS.  This was my WCR family.  

2.   1996 Leadership Orientation
A.  Date?
B.  City?
C.  Venue?
D.  How many days?
E.  National president attend?  Who?
F.  What was the biggest problem?
G.  What was the highlight?

The 1996 Leadership Orientation was held at Lakeway, just outside of Austin, Texas.  It was a similar format as we have today being held over a 4 day time period with the emphasis put on training the incoming local officers.  Our own Joan Deal was the incoming National President for 1996 and yes she attended the Orientation and was one of our featured speakers. 

The only concern I remember having was that many of the registrants waited until the last minute to register so again we were preparing for an unknown quantity.  Somethings never change!

What I remember that was very exciting to me was that this was the first time all of the State Officers had held a retreat to prepare for this Orientation.  I had invited all the line officers, Governors and TDVPs to spend a weekend at our ranch to brainstorm, plan and prepare for this Orientation.  My theme for 1996 was “Make It Happen” and I had T-shirts printed for all the officers to wear at the Orientation.  At the opening session the first evening we started the event to Gloria Estafon’s song “Get on your feet.  Get up and Make It Happen.”  The energy was very high and the members excited about the year ahead.

3.  Best memory of 1996
My Installation in Corpus Christi was the highlight of my year! Fort Bend County made my Installation a county-wide celebration.   One of the developers in Fort Bend chartered buses to transport anyone that wished to attend the Installation.  So family, friends and business associates rode the bus to Corpus for the day to attend the Installation luncheon.  I believe we had two bus loads of people.  Stewart Title surprised me by bringing the company jet full of executives to be in attendance at the event.  The TAR President and many of their officers attended as well.  The President of the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce brought a proclamation that was read from the Fort Bend County Judge proclaiming September 20, 1995 as Jo Ann Stevens’ Day in Fort Bend County.  The Proclamation still hangs in my home. After my marriage and the birth of my children, this is probably the next most special day of my life. A day I will long remember and thankful to all the people that made it possible.

4.  Funniest memory of 1996
Since my Installation was in Corpus Christi, the event planner that helped me organize the event decided we should have a tropical theme.  So the table cloths were tropical and the centerpieces were glass containers with tropical flowers and fish swimming around. Great idea but not very realistic!   The problem was that not all the fish survived and even though the event planner tried to remove any ill fish before the event started, there were a few that did not make it through the entire event.

5.  Two most challenging issues of 1996
Ironically the two largest challenges of 1996 are probably still the two largest challenges we face today; money and membership.  Trying to keep a balanced budget with limited sponsorship dollars was a challenge.  Membership numbers were fluctuating quite a bit and we were trying to regain our fourth Governor.

II.  2012
A.  What do you see as the future for Women’ Council?

Women’s Council has created a niche for itself in training future leaders and there will always be a need for this. Women’s Council started out as an organization created to provide women equality in the real estate industry.  It has evolved today into an organization that prepares its members to take better advantage of personal and business opportunities.  We allow our members to improve their skills and to utilize these skills where they have a desire or see a need.

     B.  What are the most important issues facing us today?

To maintain our relevancy.  Our members must be able to obtain certain knowledge and skills within our organization that they cannot find elsewhere.

     C.  What “words of wisdom” would you give to our new members?

Never underestimate your potential.  You can do or be anything to which you aspire.