You’re sitting in your board room thinking through a tough decision that needs to be made.  Many of the board members are passionate, engaged real estate professionals who have lived in the local area for their entire careers.

Somebody asks the question….How have other MLSs addressed this issue?  Another one asks what would brokers want us to do in this situation?   What is the best way to handle this PR challenge?   What type of service offering would give us the best tax advantages?

When you’re asking yourselves tough, fundamental questions like these, wouldn’t it be great if you had a broader perspective to draw on?  Professionals with deep knowledge of a particular subject like accounting, finance, security or marketing?

Board discussions can sometimes get emotional and heated. The conversations are not always about the actual topic. They can be based on conflicts or challenges from 20 years ago or more!   Could objective parties that are not embroiled in the history of real estate be helpful in those discussions?

When we examine the board structures of the nation’s most successful companies – Apple, Microsoft, Wal-mart, General Motors etc., each of them have small, focused boards with a diversity of backgrounds in finance, marketing, HR, technology etc.  In real estate, most MLS boards are made up exclusively of agents and brokers from the local market with the occasionally affiliate or commercial broker thrown in for good measure.

Some MLSs have gotten proactive and are bringing new perspectives to their Board of Directors to broaden the thinking and be sure the company is addressing its blind spots. The latest MLS to go down this road is CRMLS.

They just appointed Rebecca Jensen, CEO of the MRED MLS in Chicago and Sam DeBord, a progressive broker from the Seattle area to their Board of Directors.

Bringing these two smart, progressive minds to the table will help CRMLS look at its opportunities and challenges in a broader context.

I would love to see MLSs add other types of perspectives to their board rooms.  What about a SAAS technology expert or someone from a business who specializes in subscription businesses. How about a security expert who can ensure that MLS data security protocols are up to snuff?  How about a marketing leader who can help ensure the marketing and communications programs from the company are compelling and achieving the company’s goals for adoption and utilization?

Attracting the best and brightest to the Board Rooms of every MLS will undoubtedly help the MLS industry stay strong and vital for the long haul!

See the full announcement below:

Rebecca Jensen, CEO & President, MRED (left) and Sam DeBord, Coldwell Banker Danforth (right) join the esteemed Board of Directors at CRMLS.


SAN DIMAS, Calif., Feb. 27, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — California Regional MLS is pleased to welcome Rebecca Jensen and Sam DeBord to its Board of Directors for 2018. They join an esteemed Board composed of real estate professionals from CRMLS member Associations and other prominent figures from the North American real estate industry.

Rebecca Jensen is the President and CEO of Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED), the real estate data aggregator and distributor providing the Chicagoland multiple listing service to over 45,000 subscribers. She has worked in the MLS industry since 1998, with over a decade of MLS CEO experience. In addition to her new role on the CRMLS Board of Directors, she serves on the Boards for the Broker Public Portal, the Council of MLS, and as Board Chair of The MLS Grid. She also serves on committees for the National Association of REALTORS®, Illinois REALTORS®, COVE MLS Group, and Upstream. Previously, she served six years (four as Chair) on the Board of the Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO).

Industry recognitions for Jensen include Inman News naming her one of the 100 Most Influential People in Real Estate, and Swanepoel as one of the 200 Most Powerful People in Residential Real Estate. She has also been honored with WCR Chicago’s Elevate Award.

Sam DeBord is managing broker for Seattle Homes Group, VP of Strategic Growth for Coldwell Banker Danforth, President of Seattle King County REALTORS®, and a recognized writer and thought leader for many real estate news outlets. He has served on NAR’s MLS Issues and Emerging Technology Advisory Board, MLS Issues and Policy Committee, and Strategic Thinking Committee. Publications he has written for include REALTOR Magazine, Inman News, Wall Street Journal Marketwatch, and the Swanepoel Trends Report; his speaking engagements include events such as the Coldwell Banker Top Producers’ Retreat, NAR Broker Summit, and Inman Real Estate Connect. Sam has also been recognized as one of the Swanepoel 200’s Top 20 Social Influencers and Inman News’ Top 101 in Real Estate.

“We’re excited to have Rebecca and Sam’s distinguished experience and unique perspectives represented on our Board of Directors,” said CRMLS CEO Art Carter. “The amount of experience and knowledge that these two bring to our Board table is significant, and their voices will help CRMLS move forward to meet the challenges that face our MLS industry!”

About California Regional Multiple Listing Service (CRMLS)

California Regional MLS is the nation’s largest and most recognized subscriber-based MLS, dedicated to servicing over 86,000 real estate professionals from 33 Associations, 3 Boards of REALTORS® and 1 MLS. CRMLS is the industry powerhouse and thrives on providing the most relevant products and services to its subscribers. For more information on CRMLS visit