Merri Jo Cowen Named Peter Shuttleworth MLS Executive Award Of Excellence Recipient
Friday, November 2, 2018
HENDERSON, Nev. — The Council of Multiple Listing Services (CMLS) named Merri Jo Cowen, CEO of My Florida Regional MLS (MFRMLS), the fourth recipient of the Peter Shuttleworth MLS Executive Award of Excellence at the Multiple Listing Service Association Executive Session on Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. The award was introduced by Denee Evans, CEO of CMLS, and the announcement was made by Chris Carrillo, CEO of Metro MLS.
The Peter Shuttleworth MLS Executive Award of Excellence is an annual award that recognizes leaders who, through a rigorous nomination and review process, are determined to have observed the highest qualities of leadership within their organizations and demonstrated a dedication to excellence by making substantial contributions to the MLS industry.
“The MLS industry is truly remarkable in the number of executive leaders who are willing to lend their insight, experience, and expertise. Then there are those who add lasting value to the MLS, providing the means for new leaders to succeed and inspiring a commitment to service that benefits brokers, agents and homeowners,” said Denee Evans, CEO of CMLS. “Merri Jo Cowen has been a champion for professional standards through education and courageous in her forward-thinking approach to advance the marketplace in ways that few thought possible. CMLS is proud to recognize her career of contributions and her unparalleled desire to encourage others to do the same.”
Cowen has been passionately involved in the real estate industry since 1979, originally starting her career as an accredited resident manager through the Institute of Real Estate Management. Upon relocating to Reno, Nevada, in 1983, she became an MLS assistant for the Reno Board of REALTORS®.
During the next 20 years, Cowen demonstrated progressive aptitude to lead and a relentless devotion to all things MLS. She was promoted to MLS director and then vice president of operations for what became the Reno/Sparks Association of REALTORS®. When the Northern Nevada Regional MLS was formed in 2003, she was the clear choice to serve as its first CEO.
In 2008, she accepted an offer to become CEO for the Mid-Florida Regional MLS, which has since grown to become My Florida Regional MLS (MRFMLS). Today, MFRMLS is owned by 16 REALTOR® associations and boards in Florida and Puerto Rico, representing more than 57,000 professionals in the real estate industry. It is the largest MLS in Florida and one of the largest in the United States.
MFRMLS is well known for its pioneering spirit under Cowen’s direction. Recently, it was the first to convert the native Matrix multiple listing database into the Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO) Data Dictionary format. The change precedes additional plans to promote data portability, software innovation and greater efficiency for customers, technology partners and other stakeholders. MFRMLS was also the first MLS to provide the Matrix multiple listing platform in Spanish while simultaneously launching State27Homes.com, an Inman Innovator award-winning consumer search site that includes a comprehensive budgeting tool.
Cowen’s dedication to delivering brokers and agents a deep understanding of market conditions, easy-to-navigate platforms and stellar customer service isn’t limited to MFRMLS. Cowen has served as a member of the NAR’s MLS Issues and Policy Committee, Technology and Emerging Issues sub-committee, and holds the RCE designation. She has actively participated in dozens of other industry-related associations, work groups, and vendor-partner advisory committees, including Realtor.com Association Executives Advisory Group, Upstream Advisory Group, MLS Grid, and MLS Domains Association.
She is especially proud of her involvement with CMLS, having served on the board of directors for more than 10 years and as president of CMLS in 2003 and 2011. She has hosted three annual conferences for CMLS, with CMLS2018 being the most recent. She has played an instrumental role in shaping the development of the CMLX Certification program, which is the MLS industry’s premier education and training program. She currently serves as the dean of this program.
Cowen was selected as the fourth recipient of the Peter Shuttleworth MLS Executive Award of Excellence because she exemplifies influential leadership, an unwavering focus on the future of the industry, and a willingness to educate and guide the next generation of MLS executives in building a better marketplace.
The award itself is named after Peter Shuttleworth, former executive vice president of Metro MLS and the first CMLS Hall of Fame inductee. Shuttleworth built one of the first truly effective regional MLSs in the United States by bringing brokers, REALTORS®, and REALTOR® associations together around the idea that data can be shared without borders. Under his leadership, he partnered with Wisconsin MLS providers to create a statewide data share that continues to promote cooperation among real estate practitioners today.
The Council of Multiple Listing Services (CMLS) is the professional trade organization that serves to advance the MLS industry in North America through unified leadership, collaboration, and education across the real estate industry. It was formed as a premier forum, advocate and resource in 1957 and has since evolved into a volunteer-led organization that is responsible for the advancement of MLS through education, innovation, and the implementation of best practices, industry standards, and next generation solutions in support of MLS providers with over one million subscribers.