Megan Bengtson: OPUS Is a Networking Group with a Big Heart

Megan Bentson RealtorMegan Bengtson is busy enough as one of the Omaha area’s top REALTORS®. She’s got her own team at Nebraska Realty, and her family includes a beautiful toddler. And Megan is a time-management master who sees the importance of networking groups, including one that she helped create in January 2014: Omaha Professionals United in Service (OPUS).

“Of course,” Megan said, “referrals are the heart of being in a business-connections network. OPUS, Realtor organizations and other networking groups are all great people-driven mechanisms that motivate me. I love hanging around with like-minded people. We pull toward the same goals and have the same aims. I enjoy leadership positions, and I love working with people. The projects and being involved in organizations create amazing relationship bonds.”

Before she helped form OPUS, Megan already was involved in many organizations. She was the 2013 president of the Omaha chapter of the Women’s Council of REALTORS®. She also was a founding member and 2013 chairwoman for the Omaha Area Board of REALTORS® Young Professional Network. Adding to those groups are the Omaha Area Board of REALTORS® Board of Directors, Nebraska REALTOR® Association Board of Directors and the Nebraska Council of Residential Specialists. In every networking group, she has served in high leadership positions.

Among the attributes that set OPUS apart from the other networking groups is its service to the community. Ninety percent of the OPUS dues go to Omaha-area charities. “The aim is to provide benefit to each other’s businesses and to the community through volunteering, attending philanthropic events and donating to charities,” said Megan, whose first start-up of a networking venture took place in 2010.

The OPUS president for its first two years, Megan is now the group’s communications director. “We have 15 members, and OPUS is going great. We can always grow. We want members who are the right fit. We have strategic partners who are not full members, but they help raise money for the charities or serve others with their time,” Megan noted.

“As far as supporting charities, we now focus specifically on one or two groups each year. In our first year, it was DIBS for Kids (Deliver Infinite Book Shelves for Kids). In 2017, it was Rejuvenating Women and Chariots4Hope. In many ways, those two groups are intertwined.”

DIBS for Kids works with elementary teachers in high-poverty schools to get children excited about reading. Chariots4Hope accepts donated vehicles, fixes and prepares them, and gives them to needy families and individuals. Rejuvenating Women provides hope and restoration to victims and survivors of human trafficking; sometimes Chariots4Hope comes alongside Rejuvenating Women with a vehicle for those in need.

“One of our OPUS members knew a woman who had the ability and opportunity to donate a car, and we made the connections for her to give the car to Chariots4Hope. OPUS helped raise the money needed to complete the donation project, and the car was given to someone who obviously really needed it. So, you can see that a big part of what we do is networking and teaming up with each other to give back to the community. The amount of contributed money that is raised may not be as much if you compare it to professional fundraising efforts, but we raised between $3,000 and $4,000 for DIBS for Kids. One 2017 spring event for Chariots4Hope raised $3,000,” Megan said.

For the past three years, Megan has donated even more of her time to help a past client of hers, a Papillion-La Vista teacher, educate her students on real estate.

“She created the program because she wants kids to know what the real world is about,” explained Megan, who makes the presentation twice a school year to high school students.

“Quite possibly, some of the students’ parents or guardians never owned a house. I show a market entry-level house, something a first-time owner might want. Then I show a move-up house and then a third house that is nicer yet. I point out the cost of home ownership, including the down payment, monthly payment, taxes, insurance, utilities, upkeep. In other words, it takes this amount of money to buy a house.”

The teacher also sets up sessions with bankers and apartment rental managers. “I think these informational classes help get the students motivated to get as good a job as possible, so they can aim for buying a house,” Megan said.

So, just how does Megan carve out time for everything?

“I feel as though it just happens. I do the time-blocking and make major lists. I get a lot of satisfaction from crossing things off the list when I get them done. Setting priorities is key.

I feel if you are organized, you can take on a lot. You’ve got to have good systems set in place,” said Megan, a native of Geneva, Nebraska, and a University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who earned a Communications Studies degree. Megan is a residential real estate agent who has been licensed in Nebraska since 2005. She has earned two industry designations, Graduate REALTOR® Institute (GRI) and Council of Residential Specialist (CRS).

“Megan is truly one of the outstanding Omaha-area businesswomen who puts an emphasis on donating time and treasure to outstanding causes,” said Omaha marketing entrepreneur Christopher Slater.

“Megan has helped many clients buy and sell homes through strong negotiations, a positive reputation with other Realtors and superior service. While that is important, connecting with fellow professionals and thinking of ways to help others is high among her priorities. I am proud to know Megan and am thrilled with her efforts to make the Omaha area a better place for everybody.”