We are pleased to honor the following MAR members for their commitment to service and excellence in the real estate industry:
Realtor® of the Year: Elba Guille Garza
The Realtor® of the Year award recognizes a member who has displayed sincere commitment and devotion to the residential real estate industry and the community. This person encapsulates the Realtor® spirit and the high principles of integrity, adherence to the code of ethics, principles of good real estate practice, civic activity, and participation in local, state and national efforts.
Guille is a trailblazer in her profession and her community. A true servant-leader, she is always among the first to ask “how can I help?” and then follows through. She is committed to her industry in a way that extends far beyond transactions—volunteering her time and expertise generously in ways that foster more vibrant communities.
A past member of MAR’s Government Affairs, Global, and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion committees—and as Past President and Founder of NAHREP Twin Cities—she’s no stranger to championing a more inclusive industry for all people. As such, she also played a pivotal role in re-establishing the Women’s Council of Realtors-Twin Cities Metro this past spring.
Guille stands strong in her values, is a powerful voice for women and the Latino community, and she’s someone who shows up for her friends, colleagues, and industry wherever she can.
Rising Star: Dena Frank
Dena embodies the spirit of this award. One of MAR’s core values is sustainability, and she has done much to advance our efforts in this area. She played a key role in our partnership with Minnesota Realtors® to bring our Connect conference to a much bigger audience and continues to move our Sustainability Committee into even greater success and collaboration. A true leader, Dena is skilled at bringing folks together, building excitement, and moving our association toward shared goals and objectives in the sustainability space. We are lucky to have her on board, and are excited for what her leadership brings to MAR!
Good Neighbor: Jerry Moscowitz
This award recognizes Realtors® for their commitment to serve as leaders in our local communities. This person has made a difference in the lives of others, and as part of this award, their charity of choice will receive a $1,000 contribution from MAR.
Jerry has a genuine passion for giving back in so many ways. The time and generosity he’s shown to MAR as an association, the industry at large, and his Twin Cities community is remarkable. He is a champion for a stronger and more equitable industry and has given countless hours of his time and expertise in service to others. Perhaps most notably, over the past 38 years, he and his family have collected over 12,000 toys for underprivileged children in the Twin Cities metro, because he believes all kids deserve to have something to open up and be excited about over the holidays, and in hopes that it helps relieve some of the difficult decisions parents have to make during what can be a tough time a year.
Affiliate of the Year: Melanie Dunker
The Affiliate of the Year award recognizes an Affiliate member who has shown great enthusiasm and leadership for the Association. The award recipient is someone who has gone above and beyond the normal role as an Affiliate member to support and promote the real estate industry and the Realtor® members; someone who shows dedication and involvement in both the organization as well as with the local community and clients.
This year’s recipient truly captured going above and beyond. Melanie not only serves as a Board of Trustee for the MAR Foundation but was also willing to roll up her sleeves as a key member of the Gala Task Force. She has been key to the success of this event, which embodies the spirit of giving back to the communities we’re part of. Her leadership and innovative ideas supported the raising of crucial funds to end homelessness in our Twin Cities communities. Her dedication to safe, stable housing for all people shines through in her work on our MAR Foundation, and her involvement makes our industry a better one.
President’s Award: LeRoy Bendickson
This year, our 2023 President, Jerry Moscowitz, chose to honor LeRoy Bendickson with the President’s Award for his long-time commitment to our industry and community. He has been a Realtor® since 1992. Served on way too many committees to mention at MAR, SPAAR, MNR and NAR. He has served on the Board of Directors. His work with MS and the bike ride is legendary, and the success his group has raised is measured in millions, not thousands. He has been a Realtor® of the Year as well as receiving NAR’s Good Neighbor Award. These are only some of the things he’s been recognized for. There’s no one quicker to raise their hand to help in any way that he can in our industry.
Each year, two MAR members are selected for this scholarship, which recognizes efforts to increase homeownership among diverse communities.
Sarah Huffman: Ann Brockhouse Future Leadership Scholarship
MAR also selects one person for the Ann Brockhouse Future Leadership Scholarship which recognizes leadership abilities within MAR and the REALTOR community.