When you’ve been doing something for a good long while – the numbers (in years) – from day to day, week to week, year to year become an absolute blur. This week however I pulled out my ’22 “word” – curiosity – and thought gracefully about a golden anniversary. Monday, 2.21.22 was my 21st year at Windermere Real Estate Co. Sorry in advance for the readers who thought my blog title reflected a more commonly known “21 run” in some party fashion – nope, that 21 run was in 1996 on a beach in Sidney, Australia!
Simply put, Windermere was certainly legendary before I got here. We firmly exist now by our strength in numbers because of those who believed in building better communities thru our profession beginning in 1972. During my first 21 years, the industry & our brand has changed in many ways, yet in many necessary ways has stayed the same. It has seen “lovely renovations” (pulled that vernacular from an article on Architectural Digest’s celebration of 100 years) and it has doubled down in what I believe we all know be true – it’s about the people. I am constantly impressed by the environment for each of us to build a business inside of a business. I look at my selling days – I could always find help. I stayed curious. I did my dardnest to stay relevant. I was given space to create. I was given inspiration to drive my individual passion. I discovered the true meaning of a lifestyle profession. When I describe to others the “lifestyle” – if done well & with the right intent – this industry allows one to bring together your personal & professional life. There were & are no limits put upon me drive, rest, endure, screw up, get back up, create, excel, learn, grow, help, take pause & repeat.
In my early days, contracts were hand written on triplicate forms (I think we left the “yellow copy” with clients?) & a fancy flyer included a black & white sketch (big investment at the time). Our current legends can speak well beyond those historical perspectives I reference in how we did business.
And, if you want a real legendary perspective (30+ years) – ask brokers inside my offices that are still fully engaged with this craft of real estate such as Barbara Shikiar – over 42 years at Windermere; Joie Gowan – over 33 years (alongside her daughter – Lizzy! ps, happy birthday Joie this week!); Sue Bethke – over 30 years; Nick Upshaw – over 37 years; Kathryn Hinds – over 32 years (and both daughters – Taylor & Katie – now working in partnership with her!); Laura Bethel – 30!; Steve Senescall – over 36 years; Dick Carruthers – over 35 years; Barrick Benson – over 35 years; Scott Anderson – over 35 years (now alongside his son, Tyler!); Matthew Townsend – over 34 years; Maria Rippee – almost 35 years; Jason Viydo – over 34 years; Irma Suntay – 34 years; Marshall Airey – 32 years; Brian Steiner – over 31 years; Charlie Cowan – over 31 years (now alongside his son, Tom); Brian Steiner – over 31 years & Bob Melvey – over 37 years!
Ps, I have 92 brokers with 20+ years at Windermere Real Estate Co. still rostered and in many ways rocking it. Legendary. This all calls for party planning – another reason for my new dress & heals.
And on this “21 run” a nod to my direct mentors – Matt Carroll (who took a chance on a young gal in 2001 – coming from two start up tech focused real estate firms – yup, been there done that & fyi, my stock options were worth zero when I left), Pat Corr – whom I sat next to in office for years and learned thru osmosis & Eileen Lindsey to whom I would often go to for “WWED” (what would Eileen do) kind of curiosity & often with a dose of perspective from Jill Cunningham. And now, I tap Eileen’s son Kelland on the shoulder for WWKD kind of curiosity (and fantasy football) – Jill’s too!
Our offices are now filled with a rainbow of legends to fresh perspective – both key ingredients to staying curious, continued renovation, deep wisdom & relationships that are and will continue to become the personality of who we are.
And to these two – as pictured below with me – thank you for your trust & guidance and in also taking a big chance on me. My job now is to pay it forward for others & give them a chance. The first 21 years were epic – I am all in for together writing the next 21 and help move Windermere from celebrating 50 years to making certain 100 years is to also be big-time celebrated!
Humbled by this profession. Humbled by the great around me. Committed to staying curious, to passion and to innovation around my favorite piece of this industry as a whole; the people. You & our communities. A little different from the “21 run” on a beach in Australia in 1996 – yet a “21 run” I would trade for anything.
Here to help – the ultimate goal. – Laura
And as I sweep this week in particular – if you’d like a recored zoom & presentation slides from our client event hosted this week – “2022 Seattle House Market Forecast with Matthew Gardner”- ping me: 206.227.7133. We certainly didn’t have a Chief Economist on staff when I started! We do now.