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Leading Women: Patty Kelley

by By Melissa Riske

Looking back, Patty Kelley, CRS, PMN, remembers how male dominated the world of real estate seemed back when she was first licensed in 1975. She remembers how her first job included a phone, a desk and co-workers telling her she wouldn't last in the real estate business. 

Today 38 years later, the Las Vegas area REALTOR® has proven them wrong. She has demonstrated that, with hard work and dedication, one can achieve success and even love in the field of real estate. 

An Industry Leader

Kelley was recently installed as president of the Nevada Association of REALTORS®, and she's been a member of the Women's Council for more than 20 years. As she takes on her role as president of the NVAR, she recognizes that it was the training and skills she honed through Women’s Council that helped her become the leader she is today. 

"I think Women's Council was a big part of being in this position," Kelley said. "There is extensive training, and I got to work on a lot of events and projects. Women's Council is so important to your business."

What started with an invitation to attend a local chapter Women's Council meeting became her launching point for more than two decades of industry service. Not long after becoming a member she joined a committee and her involvement grew with each passing year. 

In 1997, she became the local chapter president. In 2000, she became the state president, and she joined the national governing board in 2001. She said Women's Council was an outlet for her to hone her leadership skills, as well as learn the basics of parliamentary procedure and organizing events.

Women's Council: A Career Partner

"I don't think I'd be the person I am today if I had not been given the leadership opportunities in Women's Council," she said.

Through the years, her involvement provided an opportunity to gain new skills and work with amazing women. Kelley said she’s also found invaluable friendships along the way. "The number one thing Women’s Council has given me is the friendships I was able to make through the years," she said.

Among these friends was Min Keenan, Kelley's president-elect during her terms as local chapter and state president. Though Keenan died in 2010, Kelley said she thinks of her daily and misses their friendship.

Finding Love in the Business

Through the years, Kelley has learned time and again how invaluable service and networking can be for one's professional and personal life. At a local REALTOR® association meeting she met her husband Keith. They have been married more than 20 years, forming a life and business partnership, Kelley & Associates Real Estate. 

"It's a great partnership," she said. "We've been together 24 hours a day for over 20 years. It's very conducive to our relationship. He is a great person to bounce ideas off of and to get a second opinion because he’s been through it."

She and her husband have been very active in local, state and national REALTOR® associations through the years. He too was president of the Greater Las Vegas Association of REALTORS® in 1997, president of NVAR in 2004 and was NAR regional vice president for Region 11 in 2009. Kelley jokes that she has followed in his footsteps, to an extent, but she isn’t aiming for an RVP role just yet.

Kelley said she sees her son, Christopher Bishop as a future leader. He too is a successful REALTOR® and lives in the Las Vegas area. And it's her son Christopher who has provided Kelley with what she calls her second most important title, grandma. Kelley said she loves being able to spoil her 4-year-old-granddaughter. 

As a mother of three and today, a grandmother, Kelley said she appreciates the flexible schedule one can have in the real estate field, but she's quick to point out flexibility doesn’t translate to less work. She often works seven days a week, starting her day around 5. When she’s not working on her business, she turns her attention to her service commitments.

An Evolving Business

As a young woman Kelley set her sights on a career in real estate. She became licensed in 1975 in California. In the 1980s she decided to join her dad who had relocated to Las Vegas in the 1970s. 

Through the years, Kelley has seen the ups and downs of the Nevada real estate market. She said the challenges of the last few years have taught her perseverance. "You have to change with your market. You constantly have to grow yourself," she said.

One of those major changes has been developing her social media skills and using it to improve her business. "I'm amazed at what you can do today," she said. "I'm always willing to try something new to improve."

From learning the latest tools of the trade to networking, a career in real estate requires devotion of time and energy. "The more you put in, the more you receive," Kelley said. 

Today's real estate market is a global market, and Kelley has clients from around the world. From using social media to increase your business presence to working with foreign clients via Skype®, Kelley has learned how to adapt to the ever-changing needs and wants of her clients. She cites her ability to adapt for helping her business growth, even in the face of the mortgage crisis and the high foreclosure rates in Nevada. 

"I think people here who have weathered the storm of the last five, six years are survivors who have found new ways to get through this market," Kelley said. "Those who have come through it are now stronger."

Kelley said her own business has changed by taking on property management, something she wouldn't have foreseen years ago. 

At 61, Kelley has no plans to slow down. She said she is ready for her role as president of the NVAR and the work ahead in the coming year.

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