2017-2018 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. Program photosMore information on the Leadership Academy.


Leadership Academy Class of 2017-2018

Marylee Bendig, HER, Realtors®

A Business/Consumer Affairs graduate of The Ohio State University, Marylee has been licensed since 1991 and specializes in residential and commercial real estate as well as land purchases. During her time in the industry, she has achieved Columbus REALTORS®' $25 Million Dollar Club and Lifetime Achievement awards and serves on its Affordable Housing committee. She is past president of the Southeast Area Realty Association as well as the Groveport Garden Club. Marylee enjoys mentoring and volunteering for Hazel's House of Hope. 

“It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt” – Abe Lincoln

Donna Brozovich, e-Merge Real Estate

A residential agent since 1998, Donna has earned the ABR (Accredited Buyer Representative), CRS (Certified Residential Specialist), GRI (Graduate REALTORS® Institute), and SFR (Short Sales and Foreclosures Resource) designations and is a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) counselor. She has also received several Building Industry of Central Ohio MAME (Marketing and Merchandising Excellence) awards, Ohio Association of REALTORS® President's Sales Club awards and the $25 Million Dollar Club Award from Columbus REALTORS®. Donna has served on the Member Services Committee and is a member of the Tri-County Area Realty Association. She has been (or still is) a volunteer for The Turban Project, Boy Scouts of American, Violet Township Women's League and Columbus Association for the Performing Arts (CAPA).

"The Leadership Academy was an amazing 9-month journey. You never knew what to expect and it was an emotional roller coaster ride for me. I laughed, and I cried, I've been pushed out of my comfort zone a few times. Meeting other agents and building new relationships. It has been an experience of a life time!"

Melle Eldridge, Coldwell Banker King Thompson

Licensed since 2010, Melle has earned the SRES (Seniors Real Estate Specialist), MRP (Military Relocation Professional), CAHR (Certified Affordable Housing REALTOR®) designations. She has been active on the Columbus REALTORS® Standard Forms and Builder/REALTOR® Alliance committees as well as the Affordable Housing committee which she chaired in 2015. Melle has also volunteered for her church, Fairy Good Mother, and as a mentor for Franklin County Children's Services.

"The things that you learn are invaluable. We should never stop learning and with the academy you don’t! Each meeting provided some gift of knowledge. What a better way to invest than in yourself!"

Connie Farabaugh, Keller Williams Excel

An Otterbein College graduate with a BA in Interior Design, Connie became a licensed real estate agent in 2013 and serves as a buyer specialist. She is a member of the Builder/REALTOR® Alliance Committee as well as the Westerville Area and Southern Delaware County Realty associations. Connie has served as a mentor for C.A.T.C.H. (Changing Actions to Change Habits) Court and on the board for the Westerville Education Challenge. She also serves as a student mentor for One Child, One Community and as a support leader for Young Life.           


Traci Klingler, Keller Williams Capital Partners Realty

A residential real estate professional since 1994, Traci serves on the Mentor Education Task Force and Education Committee which she chaired in 2013. She also serves on the Keller Williams Social & Culture and Capital Partners Cares committees and is a longtime volunteer for KW Red Day. A member of the North Area Real Estate Association, Traci served as their president in 2002 and 2009 and is a tireless REALTOR® Care Day committee volunteer.

"Going though Columbus REALTORS® Leadership Academy was an experience I will never forget. It has touched every part of my life, no just my work. An excellent investment in yourself and your future."

Debbie McNichols, RE/MAX Impact

Licensed since 1989, Debbie has earned the GRI (Graduate REALTORS®' Institute), CRS (Certified Residential Specialist), e-Pro (Internet Certification Program) and SFR (Short Sales and Foreclosures Resource) designations/certifications. She has served on the Affordable Housing committee, as Vice President of the Delaware Knox Licking Morrow Suburban Realty Association and co-president of the Northeast-Westerville Area Realty Association and has earned the $25 Million Dollar Club Award. Debbie is a regular Red Cross donor, member of Ascension Catholic Church, volunteer for Meals on Wheels and has an annual pet food/supply drive to benefit area human societies

Sarah Miller, Keller Williams Capital Partners Realty

Since getting her real estate license in 2013, Sarah has earned the ABR (Accredited Buyer Representative) and CNE (Certified Negotiations Expert) designations as well as graduated from Keller Williams BOLD (Business Objective, a Life by Design) program. She has served on the Columbus REALTORS® Affordable Housing and Standard Forms committees and co-chaired its Young Professionals Network. Sarah volunteers for her church, Keller Williams Red Day and REALTOR® Care Day.

Amy Nitzschke, CRT, REALTORS®

After graduating from the University of Dayton with a BA in Communications (Cum Laude), Amy earned recognition from both The Columbus Dispatch and Dayton Daily News for her sales acumen. Since getting her real estate license in 2013, she has achieved the One Million Dollar Club award. Amy has held leadership positions with CRT, REALTORS®, the Gahanna and Westerville Area Realty Associations and Rotary International, Gahanna. She also volunteers for her children's school programs.


Donald Payne Jr., Vision Realty

Donald got his real estate license in 2012 and began working with residential, distressed and investment property - all while earning a Finance degree from The Ohio State University. In addition, he has also earned his real estate broker's license as well as the CRS (Certified Residential Specialist) and ABR (Accredited Buyer Representative) designations. Donald is a board member for the Church of Christ Building and Fundraising committees and is a member of the TIP club and the Westerville Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals Network.

Rob Pemberton, ERA Real Solutions Realty

After receiving an AA in Police Science from Columbus State, Rob went on to earn a BS in Criminology from The Ohio State University. During college he worked as a Youth Intern at Powell United Methodist Church and went on to serve as a Youth Pastor at the Bethel United Methodist Church and the Grove City United Methodist Church. After getting his real estate license in 2012, he joined Columbus REALTORS® and has served on the Affordable Housing and Government Affairs committees and is a member of the Young Professionals Network. Rob has also served as Chairman of the Board for Chrysalis CARES (Columbus Area Renewal Experience Shared).

Ann Sullivan, Keller Williams Greater Columbus Realty

After a degree in Business Administration from Columbus State Community College and a long career in the office equipment industry, Ann got her real estate license in 2004 and has since earned the One Million Dollar Club Award and is a Certified Stager. She has also completed the Keller Williams Luxury Agent program, graduated from its BOLD (Business Objective, a Life by Design) program 2 times and was recognized as a KW Culture Icon in 2014. Ann has served in leadership positions for Keller Williams as well as President of the New Albany Realty Association in 2014. She volunteers for KW Red Day, REALTOR® Care Day and is the Chairwoman of the KW Charity golf outing that benefits the Nate Katz Memorial Foundation scholarship at Columbus REALTORS®.

"Leadership opens your eyes, your heart and your business to opportunities for growth in the city."

Scott Walker, Keller Williams Classic Properties

Scott has earned a BA in English/Communications from The Ohio State University, a Certificate in Non-Profit Leadership from Duke University, and has taken three courses from the National Outdoor Leadership School. Since getting his real estate license in 2013 and joining Columbus REALTORS®, he has been recognized with the Spotlight on Community Service award for his work as a volunteer head coach of the Upper Arlington Special Olympics (UASO) soccer team where he worked with kids ranging in age from 8 to 25. Scott has also served 12 years as an adult leader for mission trips to Mexico to help build homes and for six years to the Dominican Republic to assist an orphanage and school. 

"The Leadership Academy showed me tangible and theoretical ways to improve leadership not only in my real estate career but in my personal life as well. I truly enjoyed becoming close with 11 other agents I may have never met. I will always look back on this as a great growing experience and will recommend it to others!"


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