Celebrating its centenary to serve real estate professionals across the region year-round, the Bay East Association of Realtors marked the distinguished anniversary with a party in Pleasanton earlier this month.
The history of the trade organization, now headquartered in Pleasanton, dates back to 1922 with the formation of the Alameda Board of Realtors. The South Alameda County Estate Board (renamed to Bay East) was established in 1947—but the Alameda Association’s merger with Bay East five years earlier brought with it its charter history, making 2022 its 100th anniversary.
“The first century of the Bay East Association of Realtors was a story of leadership, innovation, professionalism, and service,” Sheila Kona, current president of Bay East, said during the centenary celebration held on April 14 at the Casa Real Event Center in Pleasanton.
“I was overwhelmed by the number of our colleagues, representatives from other real estate trade organizations and friends of Bay East who helped us celebrate tonight,” Kona added.
More than 20 former Bay East presidents were in attendance, including Otto Katrina (current president of the California Association of Realtors) and Jennifer Branchini (president-elect of Central African Republic), who were principals for the evening.
“Leadership in the real estate profession and in our communities is a huge part of DNA Bay East,” said Cunha.
“We had one member serve as president of the National Association of Realtors and six members in Bay East served as president of the California Association of Realtors. We also had members who served as president of the National Board, the California Women’s Council of Realtors, the China American Real Estate Association, and the Asian American Real Estate Association.”
Cunha and Bay East, Tricia Thomas, CEO of Bay East, highlighted the association’s history of innovation in the real estate industry on a regional level.
“Our involvement in Realtor tech’s envelope payment goes back to 1957 when we made it easier and safer for agents to show properties by providing insurance boxes,” Cunha said. “After a few years, we began publishing monthly books and fortnightly supplements with homes for sale. By the early 1990s, we had replaced these books with a computerized multiple listing service and by 1998 we had introduced the Internet-based MLS system.”
Thomas added, “Our high-tech engagement history certainly includes how we communicate with our members. We launched the first version of our website 20 years ago, and in 2007 we published our first email newsletter. It is another industry first newsletter. Evolving communications in 2021 when we started our weekly Bay East BUZZ video series.”
“More recently,” she continued, “in 2021 Bay East helped create the NORCAL MLS Alliance, a leading MLS data integration project with seven leading MLSs in Northern California that provides our members and their customers with access to more home ownership opportunities.” “
From its humble beginnings in the aftermath of World War I, East Bay has grown to serve more than 6,000 residential and commercial property professionals throughout Tri-Valley and the greater East Bay. The associated Bay East Foundation supports the scholarship program as well as other charitable activities.