Sunday, March 21, 2004

Look Who's Talking: Sandra A. Butler

By Jeff McKinney
The Cincinnati Enquirer

As president of the Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors, Sandra A. Butler oversees one of the area's largest trade groups with about 4,650 members. She is the first African-American to serve as president of the 116-year-old group.

A 47-year-old Cincinnati native, Butler is vice president/sales manager at the Springdale office of Sibcy Cline Realtors, one of Greater Cincinnati's largest residential real estate companies.

LOW MORTGAGE RATES continue to help boost home sales locally and nationally. What would you say to those waiting to buy homes, gambling they might drop further?

You don't necessarily want to wait because rates might drop today but could be rising tomorrow. Rates have a tendency to fluctuate on a daily basis. There's always that possibility that rates will go down but also the possibility that they might float upwards, too.

HOME SALES in Greater Cincinnati have posted record sales for three consecutive years. Will that pace continue?

We're on pace to sustain a strong market. Whether or not it's going to surpass last year's record, that might be hard to do. But it's possible.

HOW DOES IT FEEL to be the first African-American president of the Cincinnati Area Board of Realtors?

I'm very honored to be in that position and among a board of directors that is very capable. It's a monumental task and tremendous opportunity, but I don't know if being African-American changes that at all. As far as being African-American, someone has to be first, and it happens to be me. There will be another one following me next year (Geoff Barnes of Comey & Shepherd). We've had three straight females as president and now there will be two straight African-Americans. It's a tremendous precedent.

WHAT DO YOU DO when you're not selling houses?

I like to attend outdoor activities, including the Taste of Cincinnati, Seafood Festival, Black Family Reunion and the Jazz Festival. I'm planning our 30th high school reunion (she's a 1974 Withrow High School graduate).

WHAT'S YOUR involvement in community organizations?

I'm on the board of the Citizens Complaint Authority, which investigates allegations of police misconduct, a police watch dog group formed in 2002 as part of the collaborative agreement as a result of the city's racial tension in April 2001. The community definitely has been involved with that process. It's trying to do some good in a city that needs healing. I'm also on the board of the Cincinnati chapter of the American Red Cross.

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