Red-Carpet Celebration

The 50th Annual DMAAR Gala celebrated decades of memories.

Prairie Meadows was the scene of a red-carpet event recently when the Des Moines Area Association of REALTORS® hosted its 50th Anniversary Gala.

“The Gala has always been a celebration of our industry,” says Cindy Pelz, DMAAR Chief Executive Officer. “In most ways, it hasn’t changed very much over the years.”

From the beginning, the goal was to bring members together for an opportunity to socialize and network with other independent agents, recognizing the successes of the previous year.

“The Gala is the time when we install new officers, recognize our REALTORS® Political Action Committee (RPAC) and sponsors, and just celebrate everyone involved in how we do business,” Pelz explains. “We don’t really work alone—the lenders, the abstract companies, all the affiliate members who make our work possible are celebrated, too.”

More than 600 members attend the Gala. Beginning in September, a dedicated committee starts the months of planning. Generous sponsors also provide the funds necessary to make the evening possible.

Pelz says, “The generosity of our Board of Directors and our sponsors makes it possible for us to have this wonderful dinner at Prairie Meadows and provide entertainment during the evening. And the videos and slide shows the sponsors put together are used on our website and on social media. So they not only offer entertainment at the Gala, but they can be used for long-term recognition as well.”

In addition to celebrating volume and unit sales winners, as always, this year’s Gala included some special activities in honor of the golden anniversary.

“Our incoming president, Jennifer Clark, led everyone in a champagne toast,” says Pelz. “And FEAT Acrobats provided entertainment for our members.”

The annual Gala traditionally features a number of comedic presentations. This year was no exception.

“Our theme was DMAAR Through the Decades,” Pelz says. “We had slide shows and period-appropriate activities for each decade, from the ’70s through the 2010s.”

Sponsors also put together videos and slide shows with different themes, including a “We Are the World” video, a “Spouses of Real Estate Agents (SORA)” video, and others.

“The cocktail hour began at 5:30, with dinner at 6:30,” says Pelz. “The program events took place during dinner, and the evening concluded with the acrobatic entertainment.”

Rick and Todd Madden presented the award for REALTOR® of the Year to winner Jen Stanbrough. Annual events such as the installation of the leadership team and recognition of Circle of Excellence winners and RPAC donors took place throughout the evening. This year’s Gala also included drawings for cash and prizes and a grand prize worth $3,500.

Volume and unit sales awards are based on REALTOR® applications, with many individuals earning recognition year after year. That consistency and dedication is evident in REALTOR® involvement throughout the industry, including the Gala.

“This Gala couldn’t happen without the committee that puts so many hours into it,” Pelz says. “In the fall we meet one or two times a month, but as the event gets closer, the commitment is greater.”

Membership on the planning committee is voluntary. “You know the old phrase ‘If you join a committee, you’re on it for life,’” she laughs. “We don’t expect that, but we have some committee members who’ve been doing it for more than 20 years. And we’ve had others that serve just one year.”

For a business that really relies heavily on independent brokerages, the DMAAR Gala is a testament to the support and partnership within the industry. It’s an evening celebrating community. The joint contributions of everyone involved make it a success decade after decade.

To see photos of the fun-filled evening, visit our digital edition!


Jen Stanbrough

2018 Rookie Award

Mike Christiansen


(Closing 50 or more units)

  • Steve Camerona
  • Vicki Crannell
  • Sheena Foster
  • Emily Graeve
  • Rich Hudnut
  • Brent Kelso
  • Linn Monier
  • Timothy Schutte
  • Susie Sheldahl
  • Audra Sypolt
  • James Von Gillern
  • Daniel West


(Individuals who sold over $10.7 million in 2018)

  • Aaron Aackerlund
  • Matt Adams
  • Chris Albright
  • Stephanie Anania
  • AJ Anderson
  • Dave Avery
  • Zachary Bales-Henry
  • Julie Baudler
  • Daran Becker
  • Joe Bennett
  • Karey Bishop
  • Rick Bratrud
  • Connie Broesder
  • Don Brown
  • Steve Bruere
  • John Brummett
  • Jill Budden
  • Rochelle Burnett
  • Tom Butler
  • Pennie Carroll
  • Mark Charter
  • Bonnie Christensen
  • Kyle Clarkson
  • Kristin Coffelt
  • Sarah Cowman
  • Julianna Cullen
  • Adam Curran
  • Tiffini DeHaan
  • Andrew DePhillips
  • Jeff Downing
  • Keaton Dreher
  • Dawn Edwards
  • Bob Eisenlauer
  • Beth Ernst
  • Jenny Farrell
  • Ethan Freeman
  • Kris Gardner
  • Ryan Gehling
  • John Gentile
  • Andy Goodall
  • Justin Greenfield
  • Rick Grubb
  • Jake Ham
  • Tammy Heckart
  • Michael Hidder
  • Ethan Hokel
  • Sara Hopkins
  • Jorge Ibarra
  • Jack Inman
  • Traci Jennings
  • Brad Johnson
  • Saatchi Kalra
  • Kasey Kliegl
  • Michelle Kline
  • BJ Knapp
  • AJ Kohles
  • Lori Kommes
  • Andria Lang
  • Martha Lebren-Dykeman
  • Marc Lee
  • Kristina Leek
  • Tiffany Lofland
  • Kalen Ludwig
  • James Manderfield
  • Stacy Martin
  • Matt Mauro
  • Angela Meek
  • Ou Meksay
  • Amanda Mickelsen
  • Megan Mitchum
  • Julie Moore
  • Heath Moulton
  • Travis Moulton
  • Marcia Munger
  • Scott Myers
  • Anita Nemmers
  • Marc Olson
  • Colin Panzi
  • Sarah Pesek
  • Lisa Pickard
  • Cy Phillips
  • Chris Ranallo
  • Jason Rude
  • Erin Rundall
  • Kurt Schade
  • Tim Scheib
  • Danielle Seifert
  • Laura Slavin
  • Michael Slavin
  • Misty Soldwisch
  • Donna Stall
  • Jen Stanbrough
  • Melanee Stanbrough
  • Ralph Stonehocker
  • Sue Sutton-Ludwig
  • Jen Sullivan
  • Gina Swanson
  • Neil Timmins
  • Diane Todd Brown
  • Shane Torres
  • Elizabeth Troyer
  • Micole Van Walbeek
  • Robin von Gillern
  • Susan Vujnovich
  • Seth Walker
  • Marcia Wanamaker
  • Rick Wanamaker
  • David Welch
  • Scott Wendl
  • Amy Wiederin
  • Tyler Wilkening
  • Darla Willett-Rohrssen
  • Ingrid Williams
  • Brandon Winn
  • Liane Woolsey
  • Heather Wright
  • Stephanie Wright
  • Bryan York

2018 Prize drawing Winners

  • Vizzi photo shoot: Sue Sutton
  • Vizzi photo shoot: Nick Stephenson
  • $250 cash: Kirk Howsare
  • $250 cash: Jeri Hudnut
  • $500 cash: Aaron Ackerlund
  • $500 cash: Jessica Jones
  • Grand prize trip certificate to Punta Cana Ocean Blue: Nichole Johnson
For a complete list of winners and to check out photos from the evening, visit