Michel Couillard Award For Leadership
Michel Couillard, CRE, served as Global Chair of The Counselors of Real Estate (CRE) in the years 2020 and 2021, arguably the most challenging period of the CRE organization’s then 68 year history. Within a matter of weeks in early 2020, the world found itself consumed by a rapidly expanding global pandemic of epic proportion which dramatically impacted the personal and professional lives of the world population. Real Estate, as we knew it, came to a halt as businesses shuttered (many permanently), hospitals filled, office and hotel occupancy tanked, and airline travel, let alone trips to the local mall, came to an abrupt standstill. Fear gripped the world, characterized not only by grave concerns regarding personal health but by rampant economic uncertainty and its unknown impact on the built environment. Michel, in the first quarter of his term as Chair, suddenly found himself leading an organization without compass, road map, or precedent. Yet somehow he managed to not only stabilize and reassure The Counselor organization during an era of intense disruption, he inspired it to excel in ways exceeding even the most optimistic imagination. Most notably, Michel harnessed the capacity and reach of technology, building, in record time, bold, innovative, and inclusive programming and discussion forums. Michel’s leadership not only sustained the Counselor organization during a precarious era but, most importantly, preserved and enhanced the unique “Counselor Culture” which CREs hold most dear. His vision, command, and stewardship resulted in a highly unusual two year term as global Chair of The Counselors of Real Estate, a unanimous decision by the CRE Board of Directors and a selfless, magnanimous gesture by an Extraordinary Leader at an Extraordinary Time.
In commemorating Michel in an enduring way, we seek Counselors of Real Estate who reflect the tenets of Leadership intrinsic to Michel’s steady, yet visionary approach to the tasks before him. These include individuals who:
- Grasp the facts, causes and conditions of challenges to be overcome
- Impart a sense of shared purpose and direction
- Project Optimism and the Expectation of Success
- Are visible and approachable, cultivating support and confidence, particularly among those affected by a difficult situation
- Develop cohesive messaging and strategies which inspire ideas and action
- Put ambition for the “collective” interests above self-interest
- Share credit
- Strike the right balance between optimism and realism
- Are open to experimentation, and, above all else, are willing to “TRY SOMETHING”
- Stimulate debate and encourage creativity
- Adapt and show a willingness to change course
- Create an atmosphere of mutual respect among stakeholders
- Assume responsibility and keep their word
- Project Resolve, Perseverance, and Patience
- Find Answers as opposed to simply identifying problems
- Mediate among factions to pro-actively find common ground
Find the way forward….who, in the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Do not follow where the path may lead….but Go instead where there is no path and Leave A Trail.”
The Chairs of The Counselors’ Strategic Planning, Budget and Finance, External Affairs, and Ethics Committees are invited to forward, to the President & CEO of The Counselors, names of Counselors of Real Estate they believe meet the stated criteria of the Award. The names of candidates must include a paragraph explaining why the CRE is being recommended accompanied by a minimum of two examples of specific actions and/or activities which justify their nomination. Such examples may reflect actions which either directly benefited the Counselor organization or an outside community, initiative, or public or private entity. Candidates must be submitted to the President and CEO by June 1 for referral to the Couillard Award Selection Committee.
The Selection Committee responsible for identifying recipients of The Michel Couillard Award For Leadership consists of the following CRE Stakeholders serving one year terms, unless otherwise noted:
- The Chair of The Counselors of Real Estate
- The First Vice Chair of The Counselors of Real Estate
- Three Past Chairs of The Counselors of Real Estate (selected by the organization’s Past Chairs with one of these appointees serving a 2 year term)
Only Counselors of Real Estate are eligible to receive the Award which, if a worthy honoree is identified, will be presented during The Counselors’ Fall Convention. The Couillard Selection Committee is solely responsible for deciding whether the Award will be presented in a given year.
This Award will be presented no more frequently than once a year and only as worthy recipients are identified. It is said that the final test of a Leader is One who leaves behind in others, the Conviction and Will to Carry On. Michel Couillard is such a Leader and The Counselors of Real Estate: the ever grateful beneficiary of his vision, talent, and generosity of spirit. It is this we wish to recognize and encourage in creating and bestowing The Michel Couillard Award for Leadership.
Marilee Utter congratulates John Baczewski, CRE, as the inaugural recipient of the Michel Couillard, CRE, Award for Leadership. This First Nations Talking Stick reflects the characteristics of leadership, authority, and wisdom, and symbolizes John’s extraordinary contributions to The Counselors, including the development of the CRE performance metrics dashboard.