Leading Women: Pamela Banks, PMN
If you’ve served as a Women’s Council leader with Pamela Banks, 2015 Florida State Chapter President and a sales associate with RE/MAX DIRECT in Wellington, Fla., you’ve probably received one of Banks’ famous orchids. “I told the leaders that orchids thrive when they’re in the right environment, just like human beings. When you put someone in the right place, he or she thrives,” says the avid orchid collector and WCR leader.
For the past 11 years, Banks has thrived as part of the Women’s Council of REALTORS®. “I am in the right place. Before I became a REALTOR® in 2000, I was doing outside sales for a television production company,” she says. She was looking for a new opportunity when a few friends suggested real estate. “Being a real estate professional allowed me to run my own company. It gave me freedom. I had three young children and needed the flexibility,” she says. She is currently a residential salesperson who works with everyone from “first-time homebuyers to retirees,” she says. “Real estate represents the cycle of life. You start with a small house, which gets bigger as you get more successful then, you end with a small house. I work with buyers who want $38,000 homes as well as those who want $1.5 million homes. I treat everyone the same,” she says. She also specializes in one or more acreage homes sites and land parcels.
Because of her previous career, she knew that it was important to get involved. “It helps set you apart from your competition because you know what’s going on in the market and the industry,” says Banks, who discovered WCR in 2004. “At the time, my broker was chatting with me. I mentioned that I wished there was a place I could go and meet like-minded professionals who wanted to discuss real estate issues. She told me about WCR, and I knew I wanted to get involved.”
From there, Banks moved up the ranks quickly. At a REALTOR® Association of the Palm Beaches’ function, the president of WCR Florida tapped Banks on the shoulder and asked her to come on board as the vice president of membership. “Of course, I said yes. Over the years, the leadership training has been amazing,” says Banks, who also notes that the opportunities WCR has opened up for her through her local and state associations have been amazing. “Because my affiliation with WCR carries such clout, it’s made me more confident. I want people to understand that it’s important to make time to get involved.”
More than that, Banks has looked to her new WCR friends to help her through tough times. “When the market tanked, I was really worried about my business. I was talking about it with Becky Hill, who was president of WCR National at the time, and she reassured me. She said we would all get through it together. It gave me the confidence I needed to stick it out,” she says.
Also, she’s gotten invaluable business advice. “I was losing one of my investment properties to a short sale and one friend made me aware of an issue I never thought of. I learn so much through brainstorming with friends.”
Opportunity and Inspiration
While WCR has brought many opportunities to Banks, she credits her mother for inspiring her the most in her career. “My mom was a single mom when it wasn’t common. She worked hard and sometimes did jobs that weren’t prestigious as she didn’t have a formal education,” says Banks. The greatest lesson her mother taught her was self-confidence. “She always told me not to worry about what other people think of me. Instead, what matters most is what you think of yourself. I’ll remember those words until the day I die,” she says. She also finds inspiration in the women she’s met along the way who have been role models. “I find inspiration in many places, including the 14-year-old neighbor who has fought cancer. I found inspiration in his strength.” In addition, says Banks, her faith is very important to her. Through it, she says, she was able to, along with husband Mike, raise three sons (Christopher, 33; Stephen, 32 and Michael, 23), who are now, “Caring, loving human beings. They are all so different,” she says.
Beauty in Nature
Banks is also motivated by the simple things in life. “I get inspired by nature and the beauty of what is around me,” she says. That’s evidenced in her love of orchids. One of her customers had a bunch on his property. Every time Banks would visit the property, the owner would give her an orchid. “I became addicted,” laughs Banks. “The more he gave me, the more I wanted. I now have 50 orchid plants, hanging on my trees, all over my yard.” Banks has many different varieties and about 10 different species. “Again, if they are in the right environment, they thrive. I love how that translates into life and business,” she says. A good lesson for all to learn.
Tracey C. Velt is an Orlando-based freelance writer.
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