Ruggieri and Sampah helped lead Global Business Council to platinum

Let’s recap the recognition some Illinois REALTORS® received during the year because of the significant ways they impacted their colleagues, their communities and the marketplace. And because we couldn’t fit everyone in one blog post, today’s story focuses on November news about the Global Business Council.

REALTORS® Alex Ruggieri and Vicky Sampah served as chair and vice chair of the 2017 Global Business Council as the group was recognized with the Platinum Global Achievement Program Award for its work on behalf of the industry. Sharon Gorrell is the staff liaison for Illinois REALTORS®.


Ruggieri, CCIM, CIPS, CRE, GRI, is the senior investment advisor with SVN-Ramshaw Real Estate in Champaign. He is the chair of NAR’s Commercial Leadership Forum. He serves on multiple committees for Illinois REALTORS®.


Sampah, ABR, GRI, CIPS, TRC, e-PRO, is broker-owner of ABRI Group LLC, located in Plainfield, serving the Naperville, Plainfield, Bolingbrook, Aurora, Joliet, Romeoville and surrounding areas. She serves on multiple committees for the Illinois REALTORS® and is its consulate general liaison for the country of Rwanda. She is vice-chair of the Global Council for the Mainstreet Organization of REALTORS®.

In 2018, Sampah will serve as the chair of the Illinois REALTORS® Global Business Council.

(This is the second in a series of blog posts about Illinois REALTORS® who were recognized for their achievements in 2017. Watch this blog daily through the end of the year for more success stories.) 

Two ways for REALTORS® to save on MIPIM 2018

Cannes, France site of MIPIM in 2018.

Illinois REALTORS® interested in attending MIPIM 2018 in Cannes, France next March have two opportunities to save money on the trip: getting a $389 discounted registration through the National Association of REALTORS® and winning a $1,500 MIPIM stipend from the Illinois REALTORS®.

To get the NAR discount for MIPIM, members need to submit an NAR Subsidiary Contract by March 6. NAR also provides tips for completing the process correctly that could save you from paying a 20 percent value added tax. For the tips and the contract, go here.

MIPIM stipend applications can be completed online and must be submitted by Nov. 30. Winners will be chosen based on three criteria:

  • A demonstrated track record of participation in global real estate activities at the local, state or national association level;
  • Global real estate-related designations (i.e. – CCIM, CIPS, CRE, etc.); and
  • Experience with international real estate transactions.

MIPIM is scheduled for March 13-16 in Cannes, France. Illinois REALTORS® is awarding 10 stipends to association members to offset expenses and/or registration.

Need encouragement to attend?

Matt Difanis explains the benefits of MIPIM stipend and shares tips for REALTORS® to have a successful conference.

Illinois REALTORS® highlighted at NAR Global Forum

The NAR Global Business Council Forum at the REALTORS® Conference and Expo Thursday highlighted the Illinois REALTORS® through two presentations where we were used as examples for success.

First, Erik Brejla, Assistant Deputy Director for Foreign Investment and Site Selection from the Illinois Department of Commerce highlighted the recent trade mission that Illinois REALTORS® Immediate Past-President Doug Carpenter, CEO Gary Clayton, and Consulate Liaison REALTOR® Ayumi Deloney participated alongside Illinois Governor, Bruce Rauner. The mission was to Japan and the focus was to attract investment and corporate relocation here to Illinois. This trip highlighted how REALTORS® are a major partner in creating jobs and increasing economic development for the state.

Then, Emily Line, Vice President of Commercial Services for the REALTORS® Property Resource showcased three Illinois REALTORS® from Caton Commercial Group. Principal Bill Caton and brokers Steve Caton and Andy Velkme are helping bring investment to Illinois through the newest trend in multifamily residential real estate. The co-living model that became famous in Europe is now seeking its way to the U.S. RPR was one of the sources used in helping these brokers share key data points with the investor.

Through member expertise, leadership, participation and support the Illinois REALTORS® are becoming national leaders in global business and economic development.

Illinois REALTORS® consulate liaisons making an impact for Illinois and Baltic Region

(l to r) REALTOR® Mikus Kins, Ambassador Andris Teikmanis, REALTOR® Andy Velkme and Consul General Robert Blumberg.

REALTOR® members Mikus Kins and Andris Velkme, members of the Illinois Realtors® Global Business Council and Consulate Liaisons for Lithuania and Latvia, respectively, have taken the lead to create an opportunity for cross-border connections and partnerships.

They were part of a new event called “Spotlight Latvia: Gateway to Business in Europe and Beyond.” This event brought 40 business owners from Latvia to present their businesses and share the economic landscape and legal framework to do business in Latvia. Illinois business owners, including some of our members, were there to make connections and discover potential opportunities with Latvian clients and investors.

This event included the launching of the Latvian-American Chamber of Commerce, which was founded in part by Kins and Velkme. This new chamber will now have the Spotlight Latvia under its purview and is looking forward to continuing this effort.  At the event, more than 50 organizations joined the new chamber and they are excited for it to grow.

The Honorary Consulate General to Latvia, Mr. Robert Blumberg, and the Ambassador of Latvia to the United States H.E. Mr. Andris Teikmanis were on hand to be part of the launch of the program and are looking forward to expanding U.S. partnerships. The event was kicked off by Mr. Mark Peterson, CEO of Intersect Illinois, the public-private economic development organization for Illinois.

Apply for $1,500 MIPIM stipend before Nov. 30 deadline

Some real estate representatives navigate to MIPIM conference in Cannes, France by water.

Illinois REALTORS® interested in global real estate can apply for one of 10, $1,500 stipends to attend what’s billed as the largest real estate conference of its kind in the world. MIPIM 2018 will be in Cannes, France, March 13-16. Here’s how to apply.

The deadline for submitting MIPIM stipend applications is Nov. 30. Winners will be judged on:

  • demonstrated track record of participation in global real estate activities at the local, state or national association level;
  • global real estate-related designations (i.e. – CCIM, CIPS, CRE, etc.); and
  • experience with international real estate transactions.

Others will fly to the MIPIM conference.

But applying for the stipend is just part of the process. Members of the National Association of REALTORS® can get a discounted registration rate for MIPIM, and the registration code will be available soon from NAR. Once it is announced, the code will be available on the Illinois REALTORS® MIPIM page.

In the meantime, REALTORS® who want to attend MIPIM should start making hotel and plane reservations, and start the process of applying for a passport if they don’t already have one.

The annual conference on the French Riviera attracts more than 24,000 people who are engaged in all aspects of the real estate business. The conference features a massive trade show and the opportunity to meet with decision-makers from some of the world’s largest firms.