REALTORMAG. REALTOR.ORG REALTOR® JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2016 23
mitment to volunteerism that underlies the entire organization,”
he says. Daryl Braham, CRB, GRI, the current REALTOR® Party
director, says that Salomone’s straightforward approach to
connecting with every member will yield tremendous results.
“We’ll be making clear to members why they should care,” says
Braham. “That piece sometimes goes missing. We will show
them how NAR protects private property rights and serves their
interests.” (Read more about Braham on page 6.)
Salomone’s volunteerism goes back to 1980, when he
received an unexpected invitation to join the membership
committee of the former Pompano Beach Board of REALTORS®
soon after he moved to Florida from his native New Jersey.
His immediate reaction? “ ‘Are you nuts?’ The next thing you
know I was named vice chair of the committee. At age 25,
when I became chair of the committee, I told the members we
would only schedule meetings when we had something we had
to accomplish. We weren’t there to waste time. We ended up
meeting every month [instead of weekly].” Their role was to
help new brokers meet standards which included, among other
things, preparing for brokerage inspections that Florida o;cials
undertook at the time to be sure brokers were in compliance
with state standards for maintaining an o;ce.
Salomone had relocated to Florida a year earlier to run a
new brokerage started by his uncle, Jerry. He was a 24-year-old
upstart in a Florida market dominated by 60-something practi-
tioners. His enthusiasm caught the eye of the local leadership.
Real Estate Roots
While his volunteer involvement as a REALTOR® goes back 35
years, his real estate experience has even deeper roots. At age
10, he was mowing the grass at the Berg Agency in East Brunswick, N.J., the company at which his uncle was president and his
father Matt a regional manager. Berg was the country’s largest
independent residential brokerage in the 1960s, says Salomone.
“At age 11, I was elevated to ‘key kid,’ which meant keeping track
of keys used for showings.” They were hung on a bulletin board
at the o;ce in the days before lockboxes. After that, he was promoted to tearsheet duty, in charge of organizing the new listings
that came up between printings of the thick, new MLS books.
Though his father enrolled him in real estate school 24 hours
after his high school graduation, Salomone was hardly set on
a real estate career when he enrolled at Bucknell University
in Lewisburg, Pa. Upon graduation with a degree in business
management, Salomone had job o;ers from IBM and Procter &
Gamble, but the prospect of earning significantly more money
at a young age in real estate, compared to the starting salaries
o;ered by the corporate behemoths, appealed to him. So he returned to the Berg Agency after graduation and two years later
obtained his broker’s license.
The flexibility of his real estate career helped him to be a
hands-on dad as the boys grew up, even after his divorce from
their mother, with whom he shared custody. His personal life
changed dramatically after his boys left home. That’s when
he switched his workout routine from morning to evening. It
was at the gym one night that he met his future wife, Diana, a
physical therapist, who eventually got her real estate license and
now works with Salomone. “We’d been going to the same gym
for years, but at di;erent times. I believe God puts you where
you’re supposed to be in life. I was focused on raising my kids
for 21 years. And then I met my angel,” he says. They married in
Salomone also stays as involved as he can with his father,
now 92, who is battling several serious health problems and
lives with Salomone’s older brother Matt Jr. in New Jersey. Salomone’s mother, Mildred, passed away in 2006. While the new
president laments that his father wasn’t well enough to attend
the NAR inaugural gala in the fall, he recalls a piece of advice
from him—which he has shared with his own sons—that continues to resonate today as one of Salomone’s guiding principles.
“My dad always used to say to me, ‘Just tell people the truth.’
It’s that simple. At the end of the day when you’re brushing your
teeth and you look in the mirror, as long as you can say, ‘I gave
it my best shot,’ you can’t ask any more of yourself,” he says.
Fortunately, for NAR members and the real estate industry,
Salomone will no doubt give his best “and then some.”
“I believe God puts you where you’re supposed to be in life. “.