The Island Now


Tessa Hultz began her career in not-for-profit association management in 2005 when she joined the Columbia Board of Realtors as director of their education department and leading their advocacy efforts.

At the time she joined the organization, she was also aspiring to be a first-time homebuyer as well. The experience of helping make the dream homeownership possible for others while saving up for her own home had a profound impact, and Tessa has become an industry advocate for fair access to safe, affordable housing.

Tessa’s dedication has earned her notable achievements and honors including being named by her peers as an inaugural recipient of the National Association of REALTORS Association Executives YPN Leaders of Tomorrow Award and her induction in the Bud Smith Leadership Society, whose members play an active, ongoing role as leading contributors to the industry and innovative mentors for the AE community.

Tessa has also earned the REALTOR Association Certified Executive and the Certified Association Executive designations.

In 2018 Tessa pioneered a first-of-its-kind local REALTOR Association affordable housing study. Using MLS data, this study measured the impact of Habitat homes on surrounding properties compared to homes in similar neighborhoods without Habitat-built homes in proximity.

The study measured 9 metrics and found neither the control nor study group were consistently favored and that study subdivisions with sizeable Habitat-built homes continued to draw for-profit builders. This study has since been cited by regional affordable housing groups to argue favorably for affordable housing projects.

Tessa’s volunteer efforts have been largely focused on expanding housing opportunities, first serving as a consultant with the Wichita Habitat for Humanity, and then as a Director for the Wake Habitat for Humanity Board of Directors. She also served as first a Director, then Secretary for the North Carolina REALTORS® Housing Foundation.

• How do you define success?

I think the best measure of success is how much someone pays forward, sharing their experience, lessons learned and insights to help others achieve and succeed. Success is measured by how much you give back.

• Best advice received?

Many organizations like LIBOR were founded around one hundred years ago. Very early in my career someone said that organizations like LIBOR are meant to exist into perpetuity. Understanding that long horizon created in me a growth mindset. No organization can exist for a century or more if it is not also growing and changing to meet the needs of members today and also the members of tomorrow. We are always working toward the goal of creating a better organization, but with the knowledge that we will never be done improving and innovating.

• What drives you to succeed?

I get to work daily with some pretty dynamic teams at LIBOR, the leadership team, the staff team and beyond that committees and task forces.

We are really a series of interconnected teams working toward the organization’s overall mission and goals/ In an organization like LIBOR, success for any person or team is really a success for the whole organization. So I am highly motivated to help individuals and teams succeed.

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