2013-2014 Leadership Academy Class

Leadership Academy - Columbus REALTORS

The Columbus REALTORS® Leadership Academy aligns with the association's commitment to strengthening central Ohio’s real estate community by building highly skilled leaders within the industry and community. The Academy curriculum consists of nine sessions, seven of which are intensely focused full-day programs designed to help students develop their expertise in business, public speaking, leadership, government, outreach and, of course, the real estate industry.  More information on the Leadership Academy.

Columbus REALTORS® welcomes the 2013-14 Leadership Academy class graduates.


The 2013-2014 Class

Jim Bidigare, Coldwell Banker King Thompson

Licensed since 1995 and serving the Licking County market, Jim’s residential real estate career has included several sales awards, involvement in the Licking County Board of REALTORS®. His community involvement has included extensive work with the Licking County Planning Commission, as well as the  McKean Twp. Comprehensive Plan, Granville Schools Energy committee, YMCA and Church of the Nativity.  Hobbies include beekeeping, organic farming, wood working, and barbershop singing.
"The Leadership Academy opened doors to many noteworthy people and places that I would not have experienced otherwise. It is a great window into some of the things that make Columbus ‘work’, and that make it a caring community and a very vibrant city."

Arnold DeSena, HER REALTORS®

A former resident of Brooklyn, New York, Arnold relocated to Columbus and received his real estate license 10 years ago. He holds the Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR), and the Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) designations. He currently serves on the Columbus REALTORS® Governmental Affairs Committee and is a member of the Five Million Dollar Sales Award Club and of the Ohio Association of REALTORS® President’s Club. Arnold is involved with Westerville High Boosters, Columbus Italian Club, Harly Owners Group, Church of the Resurrection, Westerville Alcott Elementary School, and Toastmasters.
"The training in Leadership Academy taught me how to think, act and become the leader I always thought I had inside of me. It opened my eyes to ways I can serve my community, clients, family and friends. The resources you get exposed to lead to serving opportunities that go well beyond your profession. Your role as a leader will forever be evolving." 

Sonja Heffner, Keller Williams Consultants

Sonja has been practicing real estate for 23 years. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Consumer Science from Purdue University, is a Foreclosure Prevention Specialists (FIS), an Accredited Staging Professional (ASP), and is a Certified Tourism Ambassador (CTA) for the state of Ohio. She is a member of Columbus REALTORS® Five Million Dollar Sales Award Club and is a past member of its Affordable Housing Committee. Past president of the Dublin Area Realty Association, she coordinated their REALTOR® Care Day project two times. Sonja is involved with the Ohio Polo Classic, Kids on the Block and Grace Brethren International, where she served as a missionary and organizer for the Extreme Medical Teams that traveled to Chad, Africa to provide patients with glasses and medical care.

"Leaders need to keep acquiring knowledge. Often we become leaders not by our ability but by circumstance. A leader needs to keep learning & accept what does not work by trying to do it better. Your peers can be helpful in sharing what does & does not work."    

Jamie Maze, RE/MAX Impact

Jamie has been practicing real estate in central Ohio since 1992. She holds the Accredited Buyers Representative (ABR), Accredited Residential Specialist (CRS), e-PRO and the Foreclosure Prevention Specialist (FIS) designations. She is an OAR Director, has co-chaired and is a current member of the Builder/REALTOR® Alliance Committee and is a member of the Foundation Fundraising, Governmental Affairs and Residential Standard Forms committees. She is a recipient of the RE/MAX 100% Award. Jamie is a member of the Westerville Sunrise Rotary, works with WARM (Westerville Area Resource Ministry), has been a supporter/fundraiser for the Westerville Warhawks and Wildcats, and is an active supporter in the fight against Alzheimer’s.

"No matter what level of leadership you think you are currently at, you will always walk away from this program with an awakening. It has opened my eyes in ways I never imagined. I thank Columbus REALTORS® for putting this program together and for allowing me to experience it. What a ride!"  

Katie McCartney, Cam Taylor co., LTD, REALTORS®

A graduate of Miami University with a Bachelor of Science degree in MIS, Katie has been in real estate for six years. In 2008, she was selected Rookie of the Year for RE/MAX Affiliates. She has chaired Columbus REALTORS® Technology Users Forum and has served as a member of the Residential Education Committee. Katie is a board member of Capital Area Republican Women (CARW) and a past public relations committee chair for the Rotary Club of Dublin. She is also a member of the National Honor Society for both Alpha Lambda Delta and Phi Eta Sigma, and a recipient of the Mother McAuley Award for Excellence in Service.

"Leadership Academy provides the candidate a better understanding of the industry, colleagues outside the brokerage doors, and a deeper appreciation of the word REALTOR®."  

Erin Ogden Oxender, Keller Williams Capital Partners

In the short eight years that Erin has been in real estate, she has received the Keller Williams Rookie of Year Award, and has earned membership in Columbus REALTORS® Five Million Dollars Sale Award Club. She currently serves on Columbus REALTORS® CORPAC Fundraising, Governmental Affairs and YPN committees, and is a past member of BRAC. Erin is the 8th grade volleyball coach at Immaculate Conception and director of Watterman Alumni Volleyball.

"The Leadership Academy far exceeded my expectations. This program made me a better person."

John Royer, Kohr Royer Griffith, Inc.

A graduate of the University of Michigan, John has been a commercial real estate practitioner and member of Columbus REALTORS® for 26 years. He holds the Counselor of Real Estate (CRE) and the Society of Industrial and Office REALTORS® (SIOR) designations. He currently serves as Columbus REALTORS® Secretary and is vice chair of the Budget and Finance Committee. He also serves on the Board of Consultants, the Rebranding Task Force and participated in the Strategic Plan Workshop. John is this year’s president of the local chapter of CRE and is a member of Columbus Commercial Industrial Investment REALTOR® (CCIIR) and of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). He also serves on the Board of Directors of Commerce National Bank, Elford, Inc., and the Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center and is a member of Community Housing Network.

"I have been in the real estate business for 26 years and this program opened my eyes to many different aspects of life! You can always do things better."  

Buzz Thomas, Coldwell Banker King Thompson

A graduate of The Ohio State University with a degree in Business, Buzz has been practicing real estate since 1984 and holds the Accredited Staging Professional (ASP) designation. He is an association Director, director liaison to the Member Services committee, and serves on the Governmental Affairs, Grievance, and Affordable Housing committees. He has also served on the CORPAC Governing Board and as co-chair of the Affordable Housing Committee. He was awarded the 2013 Instructor of the Year award and serves as a Director for the Ohio Association of REALTORS®. In the past, Buzz served on the Board of Directors of Southeast Community Health, United Services for Effective Parenting, and coached Little League Baseball and St. Mary’s Middle School Basketball. He is currently a Lay Leader at Livingston United Methodist Church and a member of the City of Columbus's Homebuyer Education Advisory Committee. 

"Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In those choices lie our growth and our happiness. We are who we are, what we are and where we are in life in large measure because of the choices we have made in that space. (Steven Covey) This is one of my favorite quotes. We all have that space. We all get to choose. For me the choice to participate in the Leadership Academy has been among the 10 best choices I've made in my life. The consequences of my choice include sharpening my writing and communication skills, personal growth, increased self-confidence, and the privilege of associating with a group of fabulous REALTORS® who are even better people."

Sue Van Woerkom, Coldwell Banker King Thompson

A graduate of Cedar Crest College with a Bachelor’s degree in nursing, Sue started her real estate career in 1997. She holds the Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR) and e-PRO designations, and is a member of Columbus REALTORS® Five Million Dollar Sales Award Club. She currently serves on the CORPAC Fundraising, Foundation Fundraising and Government Affairs committees. She has served as president and secretary of the Hilliard Area Realty Association and is also a member of the Northwest and South/Southwest Area Realty Associations. Sue is a recipient of the Coldwell Banker King Thompson Diamond Society Award, and is a past chair of Trustees for Scioto Ridge, UMC, a past PTA president at Scioto Darby Elementary School, a Hilliard City Schools parent representative, and has served as vice chair on her Church Council.

"You will walk away wide eyed and bushy tailed - ready to take it to the next level, whatever your next level may be --  business, public office, community service, philanthropy. You will have grown."  

Ronnie Woodrow, HER, REALTORS®

A member of Columbus REALTORS® and a residential real estate practitioner for 13 years, Ronnie holds the Certified New Home Sales Professional (CSP) designation and the Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource (SFR) certification. He currently serves on the Columbus REALTORS® Governmental Affairs and YPN committees. In the past, he has served as a member of the Affiliate Liaison, Affordable Housing, BRAC, Communication, Key Box and Technology Users Group committees. Ronnie is a member of the Columbus REALTORS® One Million Dollar Sales Award Club and a recipient of the Amnesty Sales Award. He also volunteers with March of Dimes and is a fundraiser for Autism Walk.

"The leadership academy has opened the door for me to what might have never been opened. I now know where to go for answers to certain problems or issues that arise in my day to day work. "

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