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Knoxville Area Association of REALTORS® announces promotion and two new hires

June 1, 2022

The Knoxville Area Association of Realtors® (KAAR) has announced the promotion of a key executive and the hiring of two new employees as the organization seeks to continue to best serve its members and the public across East Tennessee.

“As the association representing more than 5,500 real estate professionals, the Knoxville Area Association of Realtors® is committed to providing our members with the resources and support they need to succeed in an ever-changing market,” KAAR CEO Lyle Irish said. “With an experienced and dedicated team in place, we are poised for continued and progressing success in advancing our profession and helping our members thrive as they help East Tennesseans achieve the dream of home ownership.”

The following staff members have new positions:

James Holden has been promoted to chief operations officer (COO), serving as the first COO of the organization, after his most recent role as director of member engagement. As COO, Holden will oversee the organization’s day-to-day operations and provide operational, managerial and administrative direction to the professional development, membership, communications, multiple listings service (MLS) and legislative policy departments. Holden joined KAAR in 2017, and in February, he received the Tennessee Society of Association Executives “Rising Star of the Year” award. It recognizes individuals who have been in association management for under five years and deserve to be recognized for their contributions to date. Holden earned a Bachelor of Science degree in secondary education from West Virginia State University.

The creation of the COO role will better position KAAR to serve Realtor members with day-to-day needs and tools to serve clients, as well as in the organization’s work providing forward-looking strategy, government affairs, policy and community advocacy.

Lauri Figueroa has been hired as professional development director. In her role, she will oversee continuing education and development opportunities for members, ranging from technology tools and contracts to ethics, along with new opportunities for members to learn and advance in today’s ever-changing world of real estate. Figueroa brings more than 20 years of combined experience in post-secondary education administration, organizational development, training development and facilitation. She most recently worked as a Realtor and as an adjunct instructor at the University of Phoenix.

As a Realtor, Figueroa received the KAAR Rising Star Award and served as chair of the 2020 KAAR Education/Professional Development Committee. She is a graduate of the University of Phoenix with a bachelor’s degree in management and a Master of Science degree in Computer Information Systems.

Catrin Latham has been hired as governmental affairs specialist. Latham’s focus will be on supporting the KAAR team on public policy and advocating on behalf of its members by addressing legislative and regulatory issues affecting the industry and real estate professionals on the local, state and national levels. Latham previously worked as a clerk for the Tennessee General Assembly. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee with a degree in political science.


About Knoxville Area Association of REALTORS®
Founded in 1912, the Knoxville Area Association of REALTORS® has been serving the real estate interest of its members and the public for more than 100 years. The purpose of the Knoxville Area Association of REALTORS® is to unite and serve its members and to enhance the ability and opportunity of its members to conduct their business ethically, professionally, and successfully and to promote the preservation of the right to own, transfer and use real property. For more information, visit