Four years ago this December, I came into the real estate industry with no knowledge of what selling homes was about. I was completely out of options professionally, and decided to embrace a future in a strange business where success was uncertain. I joined Century 21 Redwood Realty as a brand-new agent – completely clueless about anything regarding this industry. Redwood was the only organization that took a chance on me – and for the last 3.5 years or so, #RedwoodNation has cared for me, nurtured me, and propelled me to new heights.
It was at Redwood where I learned to appreciate what it means to be a person of worth. In my daily interactions with leads, it became pretty obvious that what I longed for was to listen to their needs and stories, and become that segment in their journey who points the way to a better situation, a better life, a better home. The joy of lead management is that at some point, you stop seeing the numbers and the metrics, and start seeing people for who they are. You become the conduit to a formidable relationship between an agent and someone looking for home. You become the curator of an amazing journey between prospects and agents – and you long to see where the story goes.
Learning to appreciate prospects and seeing them as people fueled my desire to seek out more stories – stories from agents in my marketplace. I wanted to learn what fueled their passion for real estate. I wanted to know why they got in the industry. My meetings led to very purposeful interactions – some even resulted in professional changes. Others resulted in a deeper understanding of what it means to be a Realtor, and to care – truly – about your clients. The same meetings allowed me to meet some incredible agents in my marketplace – folks who I would have never had the chance to meet if I had shied away from reaching out to them. The time they could have invested in gathering more business for themselves, they invested in getting to know me. They wanted to know me as a person. Perhaps they saw something in me as well – beyond my work title and the obvious real estate industry connection.
In 2015, Eddie Berenbaum sent me to my first Inman Connect. "I think you'll like this event, and the people there", he said.
It's a gift to see someone's potential. It's beyond noble to help them realize it. The same curiosity that led him to invite me for breakfast back in 2014, right after I joined his company, was at play again – this time, a year later. Sending me across the country to attend a conference I never knew existed, and a brand I knew nothing about, could have been considered a mistake to some people.
I can assure you – it was not.
Eddie saw something at work, and has spent the past 2.5 years working, crafting, and challenging me to rise beyond a Lead Manager. The professional I am today would have never existed if it wasn't for Century 21 Redwood Realty, but more specifically for Eddie and his two business partners, Shawn Milletary and Nick Pasquini, because at Redwood, they have mastered the art of seeing potential in people, developing it, and molding it into something beyond their wildest dreams.
I am the very embodiment of this.
What better testament to Century 21 Redwood Realty – to Shawn, Nick, and Eddie, and everyone at Redwood – that you all would take someone like me, see me through the worst that life could have thrown my way, and make a way for me to ascend beyond #RedwoodNation – not just anywhere – but at the very place where you helped me mend my heart.
As of October 1st, 2017, I will be taking all that I have learned and experienced at Redwood to Inman News and joining Inman as the Director of Event Content, working on the events side of the organization. There is nothing else I would rather do than to give someone else the opportunity to experience Inman – as a brand and a gathering of the best in the industry – and to bring to Inman stories and people with incredible journeys and passion for our industry.
Selfishly, what I really want is to see someone stand on that stage, and share his or her heart, and be loved on by an entire industry.
I want to witness the birth of something special – a love affair perhaps – between the audience and the presenters – and capture that very moment when someone else's life, brand, and voice ascends to new heights.
As an agent, I lived and longed for these moments – where my clients knew they found their forever home. As a Leads Manager, I loved creating these moments for our agents by connecting them to prospects.
These moments might take some of you beyond the transaction, and your voices will be needed to breathe new life in our real estate community. When that happens, I will be there to ensure that everything you have worked towards, along with your passion for the betterment of our industry, finds its way to an audience – one that is willing and ready to welcome you, and embrace you for who you are.
To #RedwoodNation – from the bottom of my heart, thank you for the opportunity to serve you. You all have been and will always hold a special place in my life.
I say life, because life doesn't end. It begins anew.