During SPAAR's annual Winter Social that took place on January 10, 2024, at The Saint Paul Hotel and installed Amy Peterson as 2024 SPAAR President (pictured here, with more to come in the January 22 edition of eNews), the event also announced its annual award winners, highlighted as follows:
2023 REALTOR® of the Year: Elba Guille Garza
E Guille Garza is a tireless advocate for homeownership. Guille was instrumental in bringing the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) to the Twin Cities. In the four years since, the rate of homeownership by Hispanics in the Twin Cities has increased nearly 12 percent. In 2023, she helped to successfully renew the Women’s Council of REALTORS® in Minnesota and membership is increasing. She has served as president for both groups.
In addition to being a member of SPAAR’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee, Guille’s service extends into the community where she uses her technology background to volunteer as a computer instructor for nonprofit organizations as well as with the Police Multicultural Advisory Committee in her city. She also speaks at schools and community events where she teaches financial literacy and how to create generational wealth.
2023 William Tschohl/James Stanton Distinguished Service: Charlie LeFebvre
Charlie LeFebvre serves at the local, state and national levels within the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) including serving on the Board of Directors at both SPAAR and Minnesota Realtors®.
A Leadership SPAAR graduate, Charlie is active in events such as Minnesota Realtors® Unite and local community service activities with SPAAR's Community Engagement and MetroYPN Committees. His service goes beyond a local impact to the national stage, volunteering on the NAR Safety Advisory Committee and NAR Research Committee. Charlie is C2EX endorsed and also serves as a C2EX Ambassador for Minnesota, encouraging other Realtors® to develop their professionalism.
2023 SPAAR Good Neighbor: Ann Elenbaas
The list of community organizations with which Ann Elenbaas regularly volunteers is long and includes Vivienne’s Joy, Lexington-Hamline Community Council, Ramsey Hill Association, Highland Groveland Recreation Association, and Give Hope MN – to name a few.
Ann incorporates her community work into her business model by highlighting community partners, nonprofits or small businesses that are doing great things in their community.
Ann served on the board at EXPO for Excellence Elementary, where she helped coordinate a silent auction that raised funds to support teacher grants, students in need, field trips and school supplies. Ann has broadened her social worker background beyond helping families and children to include her real estate clients.
2023 Affiliate of the Year: Terry Sullivan
A 45-year resident of the Twin Cities and native of the Chicago (Joliet) area, Terry has served as a mortgage professional for more than 30 years. He chaired SPAAR’s MetroYPN Committee in 2023, sharing his expertise in planning and coordinating member events, and stepping up to fill a vacated leadership role.
Outside of Terry’s passion for the real estate industry, he enjoys tennis, working out, cheering on the Cubs and spending time with his grandchildren.
2023 Rising Stars: Monique Garza and Sarah Rostance
A member of SPAAR’s Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee, Sarah Rostance is a force for equity and inclusion. Sarah is a Leadership SPAAR graduate and an active member of SPAAR’s Housing Affordability Task Force and Government Affairs Committee. She is also part of the Minnesota chapter of the Women’s Council of REALTORS®.
Community is one of the reasons Monique Garza became involved in real estate. She serves on SPAAR’s Committee for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the Government Affairs Committees. Monique is active in community groups including YIMBY, a Minnesota chapter for Yes In My Backyard. She serves on the Cottage Grove City Council and is a member of both the Cottage Grove Chamber of Congress and Women in Business (Cottage Grove area).
Congratulations to all on their well-deserved SPAAR awards!