Looking back, twenty-five years ago today, I started my career in real estate. I can remember showing up, on time, to my new job, at The Crescent, working for The Fults Companies as a receptionist. It was my first office job and I thought it was so fancy to be working at The Crescent. I can remember one of the tenant rep brokers, Tony Vincent, talking to me as I nervously waited for the other receptionist, Sherry Thompson, to show up to train me on how to work the switch board and the other duties that I would have working the front desk.
I have to stop here for a moment and thank Sherry because if it wasn’t for her, I would not have gotten the job. She fought for me to get that job because we would be sharing responsibilities of running the front desk and if she was going to have to work with someone for eight hours a day, she wanted to be sure that it was someone that she liked. The office manager, Margaret Rahm, and the managing partner, Rosanna Stanley, didn’t want to hire me because I didn’t have office experience, but Sherry saw my potential and perhaps more importantly, she liked me, so she fought for me to get the job. Without Sherry, who knows where I would’ve ended up working. Thank you, Sherry, for seeing my potential, for speaking up, and for all the laughs and wisdom that you have shared with me over the years.
On the same day that I started at The Fults Companies, another woman, Karen Wiseman, started working there as well. Eventually, Karen would become the office manager and would be the one who internally promoted me to office assistant, then to Communication Coordinator, then to Market Analyst, and then to Research Director. Like Sherry, Karen, saw my potential. She believed in me and perhaps more importantly, she felt a certain responsibility to develop me as a professional and a person. I will be forever grateful to Karen for her friendship and leadership, and for the example she set with her commitment to excellence, her can-do attitude, and for having an open door policy, and being approachable.
Twenty-five years in real estate in Dallas, Texas. It’s hard to believe it’s been a quarter of a century! I’m looking back to all the amazing industry leaders and individuals that I have had the privilege to work with: Sherry Thompson, Karen Wiseman, Rosanna Stanley, Tracy Fults, Tony Vincent, Leigh Ann Kirby, Lee Ann Ridley, Jeff Y. Smith, Jeff Ellerman, Bernard Deaton, Yanela Cooper, Carlos Cardoza, Morris Orr, Jim Nelms, Tracy Ellen Smith, Robert Fulford, Bob Opdyke, Allen Gump, Tom Pearson, Riis Christensen, Kurt Griffin, Randy Cooper, Joel Fults, Kim Butler, Kim Brooks, Jack Eimer, Larry Jordan, Robert Deptula, Todd Jones, John Fulton, Wayne Swearingen, Bob Young, and last but not least the man who started it all for so many of these people – Jerry D. Fults.
It is difficult to find the words to express the influence that Jerry has had on my life. Although it’s difficult to find the words, I am still going to try. I will start by saying that working for The Fults Companies was the best corporate experience that I have ever had. The partners, most of them, were approachable. In my experience, they promoted from within and worked to develop talent. A lot of companies talk about corporate culture. Fults didn’t talk about it. They practiced it. We worked hard and expected excellence, and had fun at the same time. Looking back, I remember that spouses and children were included in company events like Family Day and the annual Pumpkin Party at Flag Pole Hill. The Monday morning meeting was perhaps one of the most well-run meetings I ever attended. If you came to the meeting, you better come with a piece of market information or new business to share with the group. You were expected to engage. I was allowed to take ownership of each position I held within the company and to expand my responsibilities within each position. Leadership would lead, not micromanage and if I was heading in a direction that did not align with their objectives, I was turned back in the right direction and taught why I was being corrected.
So much of what I experienced and learned while working at The Fults Companies shapes the manner in which I do business today and is the basis for my Core Values:
Empowerment – I believe in providing people with the leadership, information, and knowledge they need to be and do their best, in all aspects of life.
Gratitude – I believe in being thankful for all that I have, and that thankfulness ifs the richest soil for planting the seeds of intention for personal and professional growth.
Collaboration – I believe that success is a team effort. We establish a common goal and then work together to secure a successful outcome.
Honesty and Straightforwardness – I believe in being completely honest and request honesty in return.
Integrity – I believe in doing what is right, whether people are looking or not.
Be Proactive – I believe in using my expertise, intuition, and all the tools at my disposal to take preemptive actions that set up my clients for the highest level of success as defined by their individual needs and goals.
Continued Growth and Learning – I never stop learning or engaging in the effort to evolve into the highest version of myself as an individual and professional. That is my job each and every day until I don’t have any days left.
Twenty-five years. Looking back at that day, I never thought when I showed up for work at the Fults Companies on September 11, 1994, that I would be in the real estate industry 25 years later. I am amazed. I feel grateful and inspired. Grateful for all the people that I have met and worked with, and the experiences that I have accumulated. Lastly, I’m inspired to move others forward and to provide the high level of leadership that I have been so blessed to receive.
Thank you all.