This is New NAR President Leslie Rouda Smith’s Journey to the Top


The path of Dallas Realtor Leslie Rouda Smith to today was seemingly determined long ago, as the daughter of an Ohio residential real estate brokerage owner and one-time National Association of Realtors (NAR) president. On November 11, Smith followed in the footsteps of her father, Harley E. Rouda, Sr., while also forging a new path. 

Before the start of the annual Realtors Conference & Expo on Nov. 12 in San Diego, Smith was installed as the seventh female president of the largest trade association in the world, two-thirds of whose members are women – now the majority of the seven-member leadership team for the first time in its almost 115-year history. 

Smith holds her license with Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate, an Ebby Halliday Company, though she rarely lists a property in her name these days. As she stands on the cusp of her presidency, her devotion to this business is evident. For one thing, these roles are not paid but rather volunteer positions. Yet they are vital to industry members and consumers alike. 

Smith wants everyone to be aware of the commitment required for what are essentially full-time jobs. 

“This underscores just how passionate I am – all of us are – about our profession, homeownership, and private property rights,” Smith says. “I wish all my local Realtor friends knew and understood the importance of investing in their business through the Texas Political Action Committee, also known as TREPAC in our state.” 

On a national level, she is also proud of NAR’s work on Capitol Hill. 

“Everything we’ve passed or defeated in our favor, legislatively, has benefited agents and homeowners,” Smith says. “Our Chief Lobbyist is one of the 20-most influential women in Washington, D.C. We are fortunate to have her.”

“For the first time in our history, independent contractors were included in 2020’s stimulus package. The work to achieve that happened while Realtors were listing and selling homes. It wasn’t magic – it was a lot of hard work! The connections we’ve made over the years in Washington are why we are so successful when it comes to legislative, policy and regulatory issues,” Smith says.

Smith’s ascent to her current role has been a gradual one. Growing up in Upper Arlington near Columbus, she never actually imagined that real estate was going to be her career. Still, she’s been able to use her degree in Communications from Ohio State University, albeit in different ways than she originally planned. 

Over the years, Smith has held a variety of committee service and leadership positions at NAR, the Collin County Association of Realtors (CCAR), Texas Realtors, and the Women’s Council of Realtors (WCR), including:  

  • 2009 – NAR Liaison
  • 2011 – RPAC (Realtors Political Action Committee) Liaison
  • 2012 – President of CCAR 
  • 2013 – Vice President of NAR
  • 2014 –  ​​Secretary/Treasurer of TAR, received Texas REALTORS® Distinguished Service Award
  • 2015 – Chairman-Elect of Texas REALTORS®
  • 2016 – Chairman of Texas REALTORS®
  • 2017 – NAR Region 10 Vice President
  • 2018 – Texas ‘REALTOR of the Year’
  • 2019 – Elected 2020 first Vice President of NAR  
  • 2020 – Elected 2021 NAR President Elect 

“Observing my dad in his leadership roles inspired me to get involved and to give back to the profession that means so much to me,” Smith says. “I think we should all strive to leave it better than we found it.”

Personally speaking, Smith’s family is as invested in the industry as she is. Her husband Brian is a Farm & Ranch real estate specialist, and they are in a group with their two children Kristin and Austin, as well as Jody Hargus, Josh Vernon, and assistant, Debbie Pounds.  

For more information about Smith, visit nar.realtor/leslie-rouda-smith

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