Leading Women: Sherri Meadows, PMN
WCR Member Leads 118,000-member Florida REALTORS®
For REALTOR® Sherri Meadows, CIPS, CRB, GRI, PMN, her entire career has been in the real estate field, starting with a part-time job with a real estate agency during high school.
Early on, Meadows discovered the value of civic leadership and industry involvement. In fact, Meadows – who serves as president of the 118,000-member association, Florida REALTORS® – relishes her role in inspiring and motivating others.
Meadows, currently a broker and chief executive officer of three Keller Williams offices in Gainesville, Ocala and Summerfield, FL, earned her real estate license while attending college – first at the College of Central Florida and then at the University of Florida, where she earned an accounting degree. Meadows added her broker’s license in 1983.
Although Meadows' entire career has been within the real estate profession, she says her financial background has been a valuable asset, given that her transactions have ranged from sales of residential homes, apartment complexes and airstrip properties to land development and investment. "We've done a little of everything," she says.
Meadows spent much of her career building, along with husband and children, Meadows Realty Inc., into a successful boutique firm. Then, early in 2013, they moved to Keller Williams. Although Meadows' official title is chief executive officer, she (only partly in jest) calls herself "chief energy officer."
It's easy to see why. Meadows has a history of excelling at her career while also actively participating in industry and civic organizations. Prior to taking the reins of Florida REALTORS®, Meadows was secretary, treasurer and president-elect with the organization. She also has been president of the Florida state chapter of WCR – at the time the largest state chapter in the country.
In addition, Meadows has held a number of roles at the national level within NAR, including chair of both the REALTOR® Party Member Involvement Committee and the Membership Structure Audit Presidential Advisory Group.
Meadows also has been active in several civic organizations. One is the Marion County Land Development Commission. Among other accomplishments, Meadows has set a goal of raising awareness of homelessness. "The average age of a homeless person is about nine years," she says. "As REALTORS®, we're blessed each day to hand keys to home buyers." Taking steps to address the challenges of homelessness can help both the community, as well as the agents who work within it.
While on the board of Florida Health Choices, a health insurance marketplace, Meadows says she sought to be "a common-sense voice for independent contractors."
Effectively handling multiple substantive roles requires one to "become purposeful," Meadows says. That means prioritizing, tackling the most important items first, as well as not sweating the small stuff. "We accomplish the big things on our to-do lists first thing in the morning," Meadows says of her real estate business.
Surrounding oneself with a strong team is key. Meadows' real estate career has expanded into a thriving family business. Her husband, Bert, also a broker, has worked alongside Meadows for nearly 30 years. He specializes in residences, equine properties and commercial development. Christine Meadows, Sherri's daughter-in-law, focuses on first-time buyers and short sales and is a top sales agent.
Daughter Abigail is a REALTOR® and director of marketing and social media, while son Daniel works in property management and offers landscaping services. In addition, Sherri's 13-year-old daughter may join the team at some point in the future, Meadows says.
Meadows acknowledges that challenges can arise when working with family members. Several strategies will help with navigating them, she says. All involved need to know when to switch from work mode to family. In addition, clear job descriptions let everyone knows what's expected.
While the challenges are real, so are the benefits, Meadows says. "You know they're loyal, committed and dedicated to the company and the business."
Meadows sounds like someone who relishes her role in inspiring and motivating others. She compares leadership to lighting candles on a birthday cake. As one candle is used to light another, the two touch for an instant. "That's leadership: sparking that belief in others to do more than they thought possible," Meadows says. Leading others to do more than they believe they can do is rewarding for all involved, she adds.
Meadows lists several initiatives she'd like to accomplish while heading up Florida REALTORS®, including capturing global business for all members and acting as an advocate for real estate. However, her overall goal is to be an inspirational leader – to have led others to do more than they thought they could.
"I love to get things accomplished," Meadows says. "But, I also want to look at the bigger picture and motivate and inspire others." As she points out, that is a way to get even more done.
Sherri Meadows can be reached at 352-369-4044 or SherriMeadows@kw.com.
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