Buckingham and Gough graduate from Realtors academy

Southern Maryland Realtors President Judy Szynborski, left, leadership academy graduate Debbie Buckingham, graduate Craig Gough, SMAR CEO Richard J. Marshall, and past SMAR presidents Russ Boyce and Beverly Rasmussen stand for a photo at a recent ceremony in Annapolis.

Debbie Buckingham and Craig Gough of the Southern Maryland Association of Realtors were two of 18 graduates from the 19th annual Maryland Realtors Leadership Academy honored at an April ceremony held in Annapolis.

The Maryland Realtors Leadership Academy was formed by Realtors who understand the important role they play in their community and the need to enhance the leadership skills, knowledge, and competencies of fellow Realtors interested in making a difference in their personal lives and their communities, according to a release from the Southern Maryland Association of Realtors, one of sixteen state associations and a strong advocate that recognizes the importance of this program.

The leadership academy offers an intensive curriculum designed to develop skills in leadership, communications, strategic planning, legislative and government affairs, and community involvement, according to academy chair Craig Wolf of the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors. Classes are conducted over seven months with an emphasis on the value of professional and personal commitment to business, charitable and civic endeavors.

“I learned a lot about myself and grew as a person by taking this class,” said Buckingham, the SMAR Calvert director and a Realtor with Exit by the Bay Realty. She continued, “Each member in this class brought us their knowledge, and with the instructors, we learned it’s not just leading a group of people but who they are, how they make you a better leader. I am glad that I received the opportunity to be part of the class.”

“Attending the 2019 leadership academy was one of the single best decisions I have made in my 28-year career. The tools and techniques learned to be a more effective leader will benefit me in every aspect of my life,” said Gough, a SMAR affiliate-at-large director and vice-president of Bay Capital Mortgage Corporation. He added, “From diversity-competence, self-assessment and organization long-range planning, this academy has given me the direction needed to be successful. The learned communication skills assist me in leading others at every level of life. It was a truly rewarding experience.”

“Today we honor you and the commitment you’ve made to step up and become the leaders our industry needs. Always be honest, forward-thinking and passionate when given the opportunity to lead,” Merry Tobin, president of Maryland Association of Realtors, said in the release. She added, “always look for opportunities to hone your public speaking skills.”

Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio, secretary of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, also addressed the graduates and guests. Haddaway-Riccio told the graduates, “Every time you speak you are auditioning for a leadership role …[That] leadership is a responsibility as is being a real estate agent … there is a difference between listening and hearing.”

The Maryland Realtors is the largest Maryland professional trade association serving over 27,000 members and is dedicated to preserving the vitality of the real estate market, according to the release. The Southern Maryland Association of Realtors is an affiliate of the Maryland and national associations.