Charleston Realtors® Return from Successful Global Trade Mission in Panama

Representatives from the Charleston Trident Association of Realtors® (CTAR) traveled to Panama in October to meet with representatives of the Panamanian Association of Real Estate Brokers and Promoters (ACOBIR) and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on October 7, 2019.

Left to right: Luis Pimentel (ACOBIR Board President), Wil Riley (CTAR CEO), Lora Goolsby (CTAR Global Business Chapter President)

The MoU establishes cooperation of the two Realtor® organizations in developing a mutually beneficial relationship for their association members. The agreement affirms the value of international collaboration and the two organizations agreed to exchange information in the general field of real estate, promote professionalism among their members and engage in other mutually beneficial activities.

Left to right: Xenia Kwai Ben (ACOBIR Executive Director), Wil Riley (CTAR CEO), Luis Pimentel (ACOBIR Board President)

CTAR’s representatives were members of the Association’s Global Business Chapter, which was established in 2019, with CTAR staff liaison Lora Able and chapter President Lora Goolsby at the helm. The chapter was established to provide education designed to expand core real estate skills and provide the knowledge needed to meet the unique needs of foreign clients, to develop awareness of culturally appropriate business practices and provide networking opportunities with other international business professionals and organizations. Chapter members have completed courses required to earn the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) designation.

ACOBIR CTAR Leadership
Left to right: Wil Riley (CTAR CEO), Lora Able (CTAR Global Business Chapter Staff Liaison), Lora Goolsby (CTAR Global Business Chapter President), Xenia Kwai Ben (ACOBIR Executive Director), Luis Pimentel (ACOBIR Board President)

The following Charleston Realtors participated in the mission: Global Business Chapter leadership President Lora Goolsby and President-Elect Duval Acker; chapter members Dana Gipson, Kay Minson, Georgia Richard and Lawrence Richard. Also in attendance were Realtors® Jan Hendrickx, from Belgium, Shirley Johnson-Boyd from the Northern Virginia Board of Realtors® and CTAR member Andrea Capers. CTAR staff was represented by CEO Wil Riley and Lora Able, Global Business Liaison/VP of Education.

The trade mission was an overwhelming success, as the two groups shared information, best practices and the Panamanian delegation led the Charleston delegation on a five-day immersive tour of their country. The mission included tours of the Panama Canal; an educational session on immigration, taxation and the Panamanian real estate market; tours of seven residential development projects in Panama City and Panama Pacifico, a mixed use commercial project and exploration of a successful master-planned resort development.

Left to Right (front): Kay Minson, Shirley Johnson-Boyd, Dana Gipson, Duvall Acker, Lora Goolsby, Andrea Capers, Xenia Kawi Ben
Left to Right (back):Georgia Richard, Wil Riley, Jan Hendrickx, Lora Able, Lawrence Richard

“This out-bound trade mission to Panama gave us first-hand involvement with a well organized, professionally executed trade mission- which will serve as a model for future in-bound trade missions our Global Business Chapter plans to host.” said Lora Able.

As the Charleston area continues to attract international business investment opportunities, a growing number of foreign-born visitors are searching for property and homes in our region—and require a real estate professional who understands their unique needs.

“To the benefit of not only our membership but also our regional community, the Global Business Chapter took the initiative to connect with ACOBIR and nurture the relationship resulting in this trade mission” said CTAR CEO Wil Riley. “Taking an in-person look at how differently the Panamanians view development was eye-opening—they embrace density in places that it makes sense and are committed to growing smart while maintaining and honoring their historic districts” said Riley.

Left to Right: Xenia Kwai Ben (ACOBIR Executive Director), Lora Able (CTAR Global Business Chapter Staff Liaison), Andrea Capers (CTAR), Dana Gipson (CTAR), Duval Acker (CTAR), Wil Riley(CTAR), Georgia Richard(CTAR), Lora Goolsby (CTAR), Luis Pimentel (ACOBIR Board President), Lawrence Richard II (CTAR), Kay Minson (CTAR)

Participants arrived home armed with knowledge, information and the benefit of having a new global referral network. “The trade mission to Panama was an amazingly informative and educational experience. Experiencing the country in person and making invaluable connections was fantastic. Already, I feel like we have a great level of trust and mutual admiration with the Realtors® of ACOBIR, and I would not hesitate to refer my clients to them. I know they will serve and guide my clients in the same way that I do, looking out for their best interest” said 2019 Global Chapter President Lora Goolsby, with Carolina One Real Estate.

Georgia Richard, a Charleston Realtor® also with Carolina One Real Estate, found the trip valuable, saying “It was a fantastic journey. We have learned the local culture, understood the current real estate market in Panama as well as the history and importance of the Panama canal, and its economic value. The knowledge we’ve acquired is priceless, and the experiences with the Panamanian people were absolutely incredible”

Establishing this partnership allows both organizations to develop a greater understanding of global real estate practices and provides endless opportunities for collaboration. CTAR has invited ACOBIR members for an inbound trade mission to be hosted by the Global Business Council in 2020.

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