Chicago Association of REALTORS® Announces Michelle Mills Clement, CAE, as New CEO | Chicago Association of REALTORS®

Mills Clement will assume role from Ginger Downs in April

CHICAGO, Ill. (Jan. 8, 2018) – The Chicago Association of REALTORS® (CAR) announced today the hiring of Michelle Mills Clement, MNM, CAE, as its new chief executive officer, following a nationwide search. Mills Clement will replace Ginger Downs, longtime CEO of the real estate association, who is retiring at the end of April.

Mills Clement returns to her hometown of Chicago following five years in Seattle, where she was most recently the president and CEO of the Commercial Brokers Association (CBA) and the association executive for the Washington State Commercial Association of REALTORS®.

“We are pleased to welcome Michelle to the Chicago Association of REALTORS® as our new CEO,” Rebecca Thomson, president of the Chicago Association of REALTORS® Board of Directors and vice president of agent development at @properties, said. “From the very first interview, Michelle captivated us with her energy and her vision. She is thoughtful, strategic, and her attention to detail, leadership skills and connections with her association’s staff, leadership, and membership affirmed that she is the best and the brightest. We expect great things from her and have every confidence she will deliver.”

Prior to joining CBA, Mills Clement served as the executive director of NAIOP Washington State Chapter, the Commercial Real Estate and Development Association. She has a history in the Chicago association industry, including positions with the Association Forum of Chicagoland, SmithBucklin Corporation, Muscular Dystrophy Association and the Boy Scouts of America.

“I’ve always had tremendous respect for the REALTOR® brand, so to take the lead of such a strong, dynamic REALTOR® organization is exciting,” Mills Clement said. “I’m looking forward to being back in my hometown and helping push CAR to the next level. I see a lot of exciting opportunities, particularly in our advocacy and in our work with some of Chicago’s underserved communities.”

Mills Clement holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Communications from Bradley University, as well as a Masters in Nonprofit Management from DePaul University. She is an active member of ASAE: The Center for Association Excellence, the Association Forum of Chicagoland, and a Board Member of the Washington Society of Association Executives. She holds the Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation conferred by ASAE. In June of 2013, she was named an American Society of Association Executive’s Diversity Executive Leadership Program (DELP) Scholar, a prestigious executive leadership program awarded to only twelve executive-level association management professionals each year. She was also awarded the Young & Aspiring Association Professional Award from Association TRENDS in 2013, named a Forty Under Forty Award recipient by the Association Forum of Chicagoland and USAE in 2014, and most recently, received the Women of Excellence in Male-Dominated Careers by the Women of Color Empowered & Northwest Asian Weekly for her work in the commercial real estate industry in the Pacific Northwest.

Mills Clement will join CAR in April as CEO, and will work with Downs over a brief transition period.

Downs announced her impending retirement last summer; she departs in April after twelve years at the helm of the 14,500-member association.

The Chicago Association of REALTORS® Board of Directors appointed an eight-member Search Committee, consisting of three past presidents and four executive committee members, to work with executive search firm Leonard Pfeiffer & Company to recruit candidates for the CEO position.

“There’s a reason Ginger is one of the most respected association executives in the nation,” Thomson said. “Since her arrival, CAR has raised the bar on what our members can expect from their association. We are so grateful for her many years of guidance, and we look forward to working with Michelle to create a positive transition experience for our members, staff and leadership.”

The Chicago Association of REALTORS® is the “Voice of Real Estate®” in Chicago and the suburbs we serve since 1883, representing over 14,500 members from all real estate specialties including commercial sales, development, property management, appraisal, auctions and residential sales.