Illini Valley Realtors announce 2018 Realtor of the Year

Crystal Lilley, 2018 Realtor of the Year, center; is congratulated by Matt Difanis, Illinois Realtors President, left; and Gail Pyszka, Illini Valley Association of Realtors CEO, during the association’s annual awards banquet. (Photo contributed)

PERU - Awards were presented to area realtors during the Illini Valley Association of REALTORS Annual Awards Banquet held recently at Mark Allen’s American Kitchen in Peru. The honors included new Realtor Affirmations, GRI Designation and the Illini Valley Association of Realtors 2018 Realtor of the Year Award.

The banquet also featured an update on governmental issues affecting Illinois realtors given by Alex Finke, Illinois Realtors Local Governmental Affairs Director. Finke stressed the need for realtors to be active in the political realm by voting in every election and being vigilant of ordinances affecting the real estate industry.

Guest speaker was Matt Difanis, ABR, GRI, & CIPS, co-owner of RE/MAX Realty Associates and the 2018 president of Illinois Realtors. His presentation focused on advocacy, license law and social media. Difanis stressed the importance of involvement in the Realtor Association and one’s community. 

Individuals who successfully completed the Illini Valley orientation included Deanna Carlson, RE/MAX Country; Larla Grandadam, Starved Rock Realty; Angela Heckman, Gonet Realty; Melissa Hulse, RE/MAX 1st Choice; Janet Linde, RE/MAX 1st Choice; Jessica Lucas, RE/MAX 1st Choice; Jose Maldonado, Janko Realty & Development; Bethany Mannon, RE/MAX 1st Choice; Denisse Perez, Starved Rock Realty; Joshua Reck, RE/MAX 1st Choice; Shawn Sell, RE/MAX 1st Choice; Amber Witek, Janko Realty & Development; and Shirley Zera, Janko Realty & Development. As realtors, they pledge to protect the individual rights of real estate ownership and to widen the opportunity to enjoy it; to be honorable and honest in all dealings; to seek better to represent their clients by building their knowledge and competence; to act fairly towards all in the Spirit of the Golden Rule; to serve well their community, and through it their country; and to observe the Realtors Code of Ethics and conform their conduct to its lofty ideals.

The GRI Program is designed to enhance the participant’s knowledge of real estate marketing and hone skills that sets them apart from the competition. To receive GRI designation, candidates must complete an intensive series of advanced coursework about professional standards, risk reduction, legal issues, finance, sales and marketing, technology and social media.  This year, Kaye Pearson, Landmark Realtors successfully completed the GRI program and earned the GRI Designation.

The final award for the evening, the 2018 Realtor of the Year Award, was presented to Crystal Lilley, Landmark Realty of Illinois. To receive this award, a person must have high principles and promote the principles of good real estate practice among brokers and with the public, be a team player and a loyal, enthusiastic and currently active member who regularly attends association functions and actively participates in all aspects of the association. Factors considered in the selection process include member/board service, real estate educational achievements, sales performance and business achievements, involvement with Illinois Realtors and the National Association of Realtors, and civic and political involvement.

Lilley has been an active Illini Valley member for 17 years, serving on various local association committees and multiple terms on the board of directors both as a director and president. Her commitment to excellence is demonstrated by the fact that she earned the prestigious Graduate Realtors Institute Designation. She built her business year by year, earning many awards for production including Bronze and Silver Life awards. She has served as an election judge, fought against home rule and organized political receptions. 

Lilley also serves people in various ways through church involvement, with the Our Table Outreach Ministry that feeds 150–200 people weekly, the Christmas for Kids Program and as a volunteer at the Illinois Valley Pads Shelter.

The Illini Valley Association of Realtors jurisdictional territory includes LaSalle County, Putnam County, and a major portion of Bureau County. It is one of more than 1,800 local boards and associations that comprise the National Association of Realtors.


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