Realtor 30 under 30 Experience
I was the first Realtor® from the OKC metro to be featured as an Honoree and the first Oklahoman to be on the cover. This is my journey of how I accomplished my first Real Estate goal.
On March 21st, 2017, I missed a call from Chicago. I had just given labor to my baby boy. On March 22nd, I saw that I had missed that call. I instinctively knew that it was an important call. I called it back and Julie answered the phone. This is the phone call that set my career in a different direction. Julie worked for the National Association of Realtor's Magazine. She was calling to give me the news that I was indeed selected as 30 under 30 Honorary. She was inviting me out to Chicago, IL in April for the Realtor® Magazine's Cover Shoot that would reveal fellow honorees. April would be three weeks postpartum for me. I told her I was in the hospital and had just given birth but that I definitely did not want to miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. She was definitely surprised to hear that I was so eager. The only thing was that I had to keep the secret that I was selected as an Honoree until the Magazine came out. That means, I couldn't share about my journey on this career-defining moment.
April rolled around and I packed up my husband and my kids in our little Prius and made our way to Chicago. My little family and I did some sight-seeing of this big-league city-the first big city our little family had ever visited.
The next day I was set to meet Rob and the other four Honorees selected for the cover shoot. We met in a room to show our outfits we brought with us. The theme was grey and Realtor blue. After we met and our outfits were looked over, Rob gave us a tour of the NAR (National Association of Realtors®) building. Did you know that the building is in the center of Downtown Chicago?
That evening, the six of us met up for dinner with the Editors/Writers of Realtor® Magazine. We had the opportunity to ask them questions and share a little more about our lives. That is an evening I will never forget. I had some amazing conversations with writers, Erica and Wendy. Honestly, I was surprised I was selected and I was very impressed with the Honorees they chose for the cover shoot, mostly because of how diverse it was. I couldn't be more proud of an organization that strives to share stories from people from different backgrounds. It felt good to be embraced by the organization..
The next morning we were up bright and early. We met at the Doane Observatory at Adler Planetarium for hair and make-up at 7am. The shoot had to take place prior to them opening. The Adler Planetarium is the oldest in the country.
It was a tricky day for myself and one of the Honorees, Kara. Kara had an 11 week old son, while my son was 3 weeks old. We were both breastfeeding moms at a photoshoot. This was also something that Realtor® Magazine had not come across before with their previous shoots. NAR had never chosen two moms to be featured on the magazine covers so it felt like Kara and I were breaking that glass ceiling for not just women, but for the hard working Realtor® Mothers out there. We also had very supportive husbands who kept the kids entertained during the shoot, occasionally bringing them over for their breastfeeding meals.
My favorite shoot location was outside of the Planetarium railing overlooking Lake Michigan and the Chicago Skyline.
All of this to say, all the hard work I had done in my community landed me as a 30 under 30 Honoree. It was my accrued knowledge for the real estate industry that is hardly talked about, affordable housing and community advocacy. I will admit, I wasn't selected the first time I applied. But I also wasn't ready. I didn't fully comprehend what my story was. AND THE STORY IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART of who I am. It is rooted deep within me. I told myself my first year in the industry that I was going to be in Realtor Magazine and I dreamed of being on the cover. I wasn't lucky, it was the manifestation.
My story begins when I chose to purchase a home in a low-income area. It was all I could afford at the time and it was a great location for its proximity to Anthony and I's jobs. People told us not to move to our neighborhood. It was ridden with crime for decades with no change in sight. If we had listened to them, we would have been house-poor living 20 minutes away from our jobs in a suburban-tract house built by Raush Coleman. But we chose the other path and it was the best thing we could have done for ourselves. We learned to look past our biases and get to know our neighbors. The neighbors that didn't look like us or make the same amount of money as us. For years now, we share in each other's cultures, often through food. I bake them chocolate chip cookies and they make us a large batch of pozole. Not only that, but our neighbors know they can count on us. My husband has helped fix their cars, hooked up electrical to their homes during and after ice storms. I mow my elderly neighbor's yard and take the trash cans to the curb when I can remember. Our kids jump on the neighbor's trampoline together, chase each other on their bikes. Our Neighbors even let our kids walk their dogs. It's reasons like these I can't justify moving away yet. We are helping our little community, empowering each other. I've helped do grants for covered bus shelters, traffic-calming measures like intersection art, an art mural on the community center to deter graffiti, volunteering with the community center for their holiday parties, etc. And occasionally, I sell their houses when they are ready to leave. If we ever leave, I will be sad, but also really happy knowing I left my neighborhood better than it was before.
So what's your story? What makes you an awesome Realtor® that other Realtors® would want to read about? What are your successes and how did you achieve them?
AND how have you given back to the organization that has paved the way for you to not only be able to do your job but also advocates for you to do so? I began by serving on the government affairs committee for the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Association of Realtors and then was added to the NAR Housing Opportunity Committee which put in me in direct contact with other movers and shakers in the industry.
The deadline to apply is January 15th, 2021. If you feel that you have not done enough to stand out, make goals now so you can accomplish them next year and apply next November.
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