The Bay East Association of Realtors is celebrating its centennial of serving real estate professionals throughout the region all year long, and marked the milestone anniversary with a gala in Pleasanton earlier this month.
The trade organization, now based in Pleasanton, dates back to 1922 with the formation of the Alameda Board of Realtors. The Southern Alameda County Real Estate Board (rebranded to Bay East) was founded in 1947 -- but the Alameda association's merger with Bay East five years ago brought with it their charter date, making 2022 the 100th anniversary.
"The first century of the Bay East Association of Realtors has been a story of leadership, innovation, professionalism and service," current Bay East President Sheila Cunha said during the centennial gala, held April 14 at Casa Real Event Center in Pleasanton.
"I'm overjoyed by how many of our colleagues, representatives from other real estate trade organizations, and friends of Bay East helped us celebrate tonight," Cunha added.
More than 20 past-presidents of Bay East were on-hand, including Otto Catrina (current president of the California Association of Realtors) and Jennifer Branchini (CAR's president-elect), who were emcees for the evening.
"Leadership in the real estate profession and in our communities is a big part of the Bay East DNA," Cunha said.
"We've had one member serve as president of the National Association of Realtors and six Bay East members have served as president of the California Association of Realtors. We've also had members who have served as president of the National and California Women's Council of Realtors, Chinese American Real Estate Association and Asian Real Estate Association of America," she said.
Both Cunha and Bay East CEO Tricia Thomas highlighted the association's history of innovation in the real estate industry regionally.
"Our involvement in pushing the envelope of Realtor tech goes back to 1957 when we made it easier and safer for agents to show properties by providing lockboxes," Cunha said. "A few years later we started publishing monthly books and biweekly supplements with homes for sale. By the early 1990s, we replaced those books with a computerized multiple listing service and by 1998 we introduced an internet-based MLS."
Thomas added, "Our history of involvement in the high-tech space certainly includes how we communicate with our members. We launched the first version of our website 20 years ago and in 2007 we published our first email newsletter. Another first for cutting edge communication was in 2021 when we started our weekly Bay East BUZZ series of videos."
"More recently," she continued, "in 2021, Bay East helped establish the NORCAL MLS Alliance, a groundbreaking MLS data integration project with seven leading MLSs in Northern California that provides our members and their clients with access to more homeownership opportunities."
From its humble beginnings in the wake of World War I, Bay East has grown to serve more than 6,000 residential and commercial real estate professionals throughout the Tri-Valley and greater East Bay. Its associated Bay East Foundation supports a scholarship program as well as other charitable activities.