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

Agent Kristin Smith Receives Prestigious North Texas Realtor Award

Celebrating a year of accomplishments, the MetroTex Association of REALTORS recently announced the winners for each of its four prestigious annual industry awards at the MetroTex Annual Awards & Charity Event.

Kristin Smith, of Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate, was presented with the Lois Hair Bernays Award as the MetroTex Salesperson of Year. Kristin is incoming Vice-Chair for the MetroTex YPN Committee, and serves on the Budget & Finance Committee, and Co-Chair and Co-Founder of TAR YPN. She will be serving on the TAR Strategic Plan Committee in 2016. Kristin has served on the Social Media Advisory Committee, the Diversity Committee, and was a board member of NAR YPN. She is also Vice President of GALORE and was voted in the Top 50 for REALTOR Magazine’s 30 Under 30 issue. In the community, Kristin is the company coordinator for Ebby Halliday’s Special Olympics corporate challenge, and is a business partner of Promote Love.

We’re so very proud of Kristin! Congratulations!

The entire Smith family was on hand to celebrate Kristin. From left, fellow realtors: brother Austin Smith, mother Leslie Rouda Smith, Kristin and father Brian Smith.


Several of Our Firm’s ‘Agents For Life’ Have Been Mentored by Their Mothers

Clockwise from top left: Becky Gruber and Diane Gruber, McKamy Tiner and Martha Tiner, Margaret Ponder and Evelyn Ponder, Jennifer Haddock and Patricia Massey, Kristin Smith and Leslie Rouda Smith, Lacy Schultz and Kathy Myers, Taylor Gromatzky and Kimberlee Gromatzky

At Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate, we pride ourselves on being “agents for life,” meaning our clients will rely on the same professionals to represent them in multiple transactions through the decades.

But for a few members of the Dave Perry-Miller family, that phrase has another meaning. They have been “agents for life” because they literally grew up in the real estate business. Their mothers were Realtors before them, and they work alongside their mothers today.

With this being Mother’s Day weekend, we asked some of these legacy agents to share lessons they learned from their moms/mentors.

Taylor Gromatzky, daughter of Kimberlee Gromatzky: “She always told me when going through a tough time ‘this too shall pass,’ and it’s a phrase I always repeat if I need that little reminder during a hard time.”

Becky Gruber, daughter of Diane Gruber: “My mom has taught me many valuable lessons and given me so much great advice over the years, but the greatest thing she’s done is lead by example. She didn’t tell me and my brothers how to be good people; she showed us in her everyday actions and interactions with the people around her. She has shown us how good it feels to help others, how to pick our battles, how to be respectful and appreciative — the list is endless. The thing I am most appreciative of is her supportive, nonjudgmental attitude toward us. She allowed us the freedom to be ourselves, to make mistakes, to embrace our quirks. Thank you, Mom, for always being my biggest cheerleader, no matter what crazy paths I decide to take in life. I am a better person because of you.”

Jennifer Haddock, daughter of Patricia Massey: “My mom has taught me so much that is used in my everyday life. To name a few: respect, honesty, forgiving others, forgiving myself for my own mistakes, living life to its fullest, making each day count as it were the last. After working by her side for 16 years in real estate, she is not only my mom, she is my mentor. She has taught me about working and taught me that success is not because of money; success is helping clients’ dreams come true.”

Alex Simpson Johnson, daughter of Nancy Johnson: “Her hard work and drive to be the best has been inspiring. Her amount of knowledge is just incredible, and she has allowed me to see and learn more in five years than most agents see and learn in a lifetime. She puts every client’s needs before herself and is so passionate about helping them find the homes of their dreams.”


Nancy Johnson and Alex Simpson Johnson

James Martin, son of Eloise Eriksson Martin: “What can I say about her energy and the example she has set? She taught me the importance of giving 100 percent to every client, and that selling a home is more than just paperwork and details; it’s about realizing your goals and dreams.  I continue to see how giving, always give more in return from your lessons. Mom, thank you for all you have done for Ellen and I, and happy Mother’s Day to all the moms this weekend.”

Margaret Ponder, daughter of Evelyn Ponder: “One of the most important lessons my mom taught me was to count your blessings and to always be thankful for what God has given you. I have found through the years that this seemingly simple lesson can produce big results in a person’s life. When practicing the art of thankfulness, you are able to see every potential struggle in a more positive light, no matter how bleak the circumstances may seem at the time. Thankfulness breeds compassion, and compassion leads to giving and caring for others. When you embody these traits, as she has done, a person is able to give and keep on giving without expecting anything in return. Mom has lead me to believe that being thankful is one of the key ingredients to successfully achieving true peace and happiness in life.”

Lacy Schultz, daughter of Kathy Myers: “I have learned so much from my mom — haven’t we all? However, the work ethic she instilled in me is a most valuable skill that carries over into everything I do. Since we work together now, I get to see her persistence, diligence, and determination on a daily basis! I’m sure when I was growing up I bemoaned the tasks and expectations of such a work ethic. Now, it is something I am proud of in myself and thankful to her for building in me.”

Kristin Smith, daughter of Leslie Rouda Smith: “I couldn’t dream of a better mother. I never had an issue respecting my mother, because she was not a ‘do as I say’ person; she was a ‘do as I do’ person. She set an incredible example. I tell her all the time that if/when I am ever a parent, I have huge shoes to fill. My passion for the homeless started with my mother taking me to Paint The Town in the ’90s. I’ll never forget how grateful this woman was after we had repainted her entire home. I was raised in a home where we were taught to count our blessings, not our problems, and to always give back. If I do anything in life, I owe it all to her. My mom is the most positive, driven, independent woman I’ve ever known: ‘If you believe it, you can achieve it!’ It’s been incredibly inspiring to watch my mom chase her dreams. What she doesn’t realize is how much it inspires me to chase mine. She’s my rock, my best friend, and the person I look up to most! I wouldn’t be half of the person that I am if I wasn’t blessed with having her as my mother. Happy Mother’s Day to all of the incredible moms out there! You have the toughest job on the planet.”

McKamy Tiner, daughter of Martha Tiner: “Over the past 31 years, my mom gave me invaluable advice and taught me to be a confident woman. She always wanted to work, so watching her be a successful businesswoman as I was growing up really shaped my views on what I could achieve. On top of working, she always made my events — from soccer games to volleyball tournaments — around the country; she somehow balanced working and being my mom with grace. Another important lesson she taught me was how to care for and treat other people. She is a dependable friend, wife, and mom, and I hope that rubbed off on me. When I was growing up, she always reminded me that she was my mom and not my best friend; 31 years later, that has changed. Today, she is my best friend, and I value our time together more than anything. I could not be more thankful to work with my mom every day.”

Kristin Smith Named Finalist For Realtor Magazine’s ‘30 Under 30’


When she’s not selling real estate, Kristin Smith makes shaved ice in her 32 Below truck.

Our own Kristin Smith is one of three Texans among the 50 finalists for Realtor Magazine‘s 30 Under 30 award. A panel of judges will select 29 of the honorees, but one of them will be selected by the public.

A third-generation Realtor, Kristin is active in a number of industry organizations, such as the MetroTex Association of Realtors, the Collin County Association of Realtors, and the North Texas Young Professionals Network.

“It’s important to make money, but it is also important to give back to the industry and to others,” she says in her 30 Under 30 profile. “I would rather have $5 million in sales volume and still have time to help others than close $20 million and never touch the lives of those in need.”

You can vote for Kristin online once a day, but the voting ends at noon on Friday.

Leslie Rouda Smith Helps Thousands Via Work With Realtors Associations

Texas Association of Realtors Chairman Dan Hatfield presents the Distinguished Service Award to 2015 Chairman-elect Leslie Rouda Smith at the Texas Realtors Conference in San Antonio. (Photo courtesy of the Texas Association of Realtors)
Texas Association of Realtors Chairman Dan Hatfield presents the Distinguished Service Award to 2015 Chairman-elect Leslie Rouda Smith at the Texas Realtors Conference in San Antonio. (Photo courtesy of the Texas Association of Realtors)

Real estate is a family affair for Leslie Rouda Smith, as she, her husband, and their two children are all Dave Perry-Miller associates. But Leslie’s interest in Realtors extends beyond her own household.

Through her leadership of Realtors associations at the local, state, and national levels, she has adopted an extended network of real estate professionals, looking out for their best interests as if they were members of her family.

On Tuesday, voters in Texas and across the nation will elect new legislators, governors, and members of Congress. And when those officials take office, they’ll be hearing from Leslie and her colleagues.

Lobbyists for the Texas Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors read thousands of bills to look for things affecting private-property rights and homeownership. The Texas association has also lobbied against taxes on services — such as Realtors’ commissions — among many other issues.

“We’ve saved the average Realtor tens of thousands of dollars in ways they never aware of,” Leslie says.

lesliesmithleadershipOnly 30 percent of Realtors donate to the Realtors Political Action Committee, the only federal PAC that lobbies solely for private-property rights in homeownership. But, Leslie says, 100 percent of them reap the benefits.

“If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu,” she says of the lobbying efforts. “Unfortunately, we’re at the table at all levels, but we’re still on the menu. That’s just the world we live in.”

Leslie’s involvement in Realtors associations comes naturally. The Ohio native’s late father, Harley E. Rouda Sr., was the president of the National Association of Realtors in 1991. (He also served as president of the Ohio Association of Realtors and the Columbus Board of Realtors.)

After moving to Texas in the 1980s, Leslie got a job in the relocation division of Ebby Halliday Realtors. It was there — literally at the corporate headquarters on Sigma Road — that she met Brian Smith, during an “Ebby School” coffee break. Three years ago, the couple’s children – Kristin Smith and Austin Smith – graduated from the same course.

Leslie rarely lists a property in her own name, opting for a behind-the-scenes role in the family business. But, through her leadership positions, she also plays a behind-the-scenes role in thousands of Realtors’ businesses. Her contributions led the Texas Association of Realtors to honor her with a Distinguished Service Award in September. Only one or two of these are doled out each year; recipients must have made significant industry contributions throughout their career and are also judged on their participation in local activities and civic organizations.

“I love the people I meet,” Leslie says of her work with the Realtors associations. “I love what I learn, and I love helping people.”

This is one in a series of articles about interesting aspects of our associates’ lives. The previous installment was about J.L. Forke’s work with Stand Up 2 Cancer.

Brian Smith of the Country Connection Makes Connections in Another Country

Brian Smith and Leslie Rouda Smith
Brian Smith and Leslie Rouda Smith

The global community grew more united last month when the World Cup soccer tournament began in Brazil. But Brian Smith, a Realtor with Dave Perry-Miller & Associates, got a jump on the competition when he visited Argentina.

Smith, who was appointed a President’s Liaison to Argentina by the National Association of Realtors, spent June 3-7 in the capitol city of Buenos Aires, meeting with industry leaders from all 13 of the South American nation’s provinces.

“It went really well; very good rapport, very relaxed,” Smith said. “We invited them to our November NAR meeting in New Orleans to continue our relationship. And I got invited back to go fishing, so it was a success!”

Anyone who knows Smith will recognize the importance of that invitation. He bills himself as the Country Connection, because he specializes in selling ranches and other rural properties. Consequently, Smith was a little out of his element in Buenos Aires.

“It was all concrete and steel. It was killing me,” he said. “I just wanted to get over to Patagonia or Bariloche, but those are three-to-four-hour flights. It’d be like me wanting to go to California because I was going to meetings in Washington, D.C.”

Smith, a Certified International Property Specialist, said the real estate business is much different in Argentina. There’s nothing like the Multiple Listing Service there, so properties are primarily marketed via word of mouth. But the bigger culture shock is that there’s no financing; all purchases are made with cash.

“There are U.S. dollars in the mattresses down there,” Smith said with a laugh.

This was not Smith’s first international business trip of 2014. In May, he and his wife, Leslie Rouda Smith, were part of a 25-person delegation that visited Cuba. The idea, Brian said, was to build relationships in advance of the potential warming of relations between the United States and the Communist island.

“If they lift the embargo,” he said, “there’s a lot of real estate to be developed down there.”