President’s Message

Welcome to the Society of Exchange Counselors
Joe Crowley, S.E.C.
2021 President

A Little History

In November, 1961, nineteen Realtors met with the common goal of forming a national organization composed of individuals who were committed to practicing creative real estate and counseling. This was the first meeting of the Society of Exchange Counselors and has since become a prototype for most marketing groups internationally.

Welcome to the Society of Exchange Counselors

Founded in 1961 on the philosophy that Real Estate is a People Business, the Society of Exchange Counselors is the nation’s premier creative real estate marketing organization. Our worldwide members are leaders in creative real estate and experienced commercial and investment real estate brokers, counselors, developers, asset managers, financiers, investors, exchangers, consultants and educators.

The Society’s core values and business principles are best stated in our credo:

Service, Experience and Counsel.

Two basic axioms evolved:

  • Working with people is more important than working with property. Properties do not have needs and desires… people do.
  • Client management, the ability to deliver, stems from the relationship between the client and the broker. The underlying premise is that the client’s best interests are paramount.


Legal Name Status
Type State of Inc. Modified
Legal IA No
Expiration Date Effective Date Filing Date
PERPETUAL 7/11/1963 7/11/1963

A lot has changed in sixty years, yet still the principals remain the same. 2020 has been a trying year, but thanks to the stewardship of our President, Steve Fithian, we have adapted rapidly to the challenges of working in a Pandemic. Through his leadership and with the help of Nick DeMarte, Paul Hakim, Ted Blank, Jason Mittman, our Executive Director Jackie Hellingson, and many others that helped out, we set up immediately holding a virtual meeting within a week of having to cancel our March meeting in Greenville, for those that had signed up for the meeting. We then expanded to holding virtual zoom meetings in May and June. In September, we successfully held our first limited in person meeting in Indianapolis, with 40 people in attendance and 70 odd on virtual through Simulcast. We then held our November meeting in Deerfield Beach Florida with a new twist. 46 people in the room, seven Hybrid participants (they were not in the room until someone left the meeting, but could interact will all the attendees at breaks and social hours), along with 40 plus marketers attending virtually. Yes we had glitches here and there, but attendees at all sessions this past year, on the whole, approved and thanked us for providing a forum to market and discuss how to cope with the difficulties this year has presented to all of us.

One change that we tried this Thanksgiving, at the suggestion of Ted Blank, was Cuppa Java with Joe, for those that might not be able to be with their families for the holiday. Instead, much like the original 19 people that met in November 1961, we met as our SEC Family and shared heart warming stories of past Thanksgivings.

From a deeply wonderful memory of one lad’s father teaching him to hunt rabbits with his gun and faithful beagle. He admitted he could not do that hunting today. His wife in the kitchen making her famous rolls, their children so loved, that he would leave on their doorsteps only seven minutes from their own house. That he would not have to fight for his seat at the table this year. As due to the pandemic, he and his wife would have dinner alone.

To the young boy that expressed his growing up on the farm.

To the person celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary, but really being together fifty years because, as a sophomore, he dated a senior. And they are just as happy today as then.

To one of our newer candidates introducing his lovely companion Susan, and Hurley his dog.

To the wife of one member, relating how the family that had a couple of business’, gave all their employees the day off. They would take an hour for their dinner, then go back to work at the cab company to get all those celebrating, home safely.

There were many other stories I think we all enjoyed, visiting with one another as a family.  So this is how the Society has evolved as a true people business and extended family.

Editor’s Note:  The author requested that this article be published exactly as submitted with no editing, corrections, or changes.

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