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Leading Women: Linda Lee

by Tracey C. Velt

Linda Lee: Super Involved, Super Organized


As president of Women's Council in California and a broker-associate and partner of the Keller Williams San Diego Metro market center, Linda Lee, CIPS, CRS, GRI, PMN, leads a life that is a bit of a whirlwind. She's the number two producer in her office of 230 agents and holds numerous roles with her local, state and national association, so there are always meetings to attend and people to see. In fact, in 2014, she says, "I spent close to 105 nights in hotels at various meetings."

However, on the day Women's Council spoke to Lee, she was forced to take a time out. "For the first time in 13 years of real estate, I decided that I was going to take one day off each week. Today is my first day off, and yesterday I fractured my ankle," says Lee with a laugh. For most, the day would be a leisurely resting day. Not for Lee, who, instead of running errands, decided to start on a new Keller Williams initiative—800 phone calls in 8 weeks. "I can do that even with a fractured ankle," she says.

This describes Lee—a doer with a positive attitude that is downright contagious. It's also what makes her a good leader. In 1997, Lee earned her masters of accounting from the University of Southern California. She worked in accounting until 2002, when she changed career paths and got into real estate.

"I was with Ernst and Young. When the company was sold, I didn't want to relocate, so I decided to try real estate," she said. She always had an interest in real estate but never thought of it as a full-time career. What changed her mind was the success of a friend. "He was second or third in his real estate company. He told me how much he was making, and I thought, 'Wow!'" she says.

She spent her first five years on her own. "I wanted to work for a big franchise," she says, but it just didn't work out. She turned to her local real estate association for business and marketing advice. "In the first three months [after getting a broker's license], I went to the San Diego Association every day. I took every class they offered. I even repeated some," she says. From that point on, her business blossomed. "My business is all referral, even in the beginning. I don't advertise. I do a good job for my clients, and they refer business to me," Lee says.

Moreover, she stays involved. In addition to her involvement in Women's Council, she was the 2013 president of the Greater San Diego Association of REALTORS®, a policy liaison for NAR and on the Executive Committee of the California Association of REALTORS®,. "I especially like the monthly Women’s Council luncheons, where I learn while networking," she says.

How does she do it all at such a high level? "Of course, it's time management. I do a lot of volunteer work and wear many different hats that require various levels of attention," she says. However, her real secret is her "no drama" policy. "I figure out what I need to accomplish, do it and move on. I refuse to participate in any drama. I choose to put a positive spin on things," she says. "I'm very point blank. I go for action, and I don’t like to waste time on petty things."

She learned this early on from her father and uncle, who inspire her. "They are my early role models. They are very well read and successful business leaders, but they are understated," says Lee, who adds that she also had many other mentors in the real estate industry who have helped her along the way.

One trait that is sure to keep clients coming back is that she subscribes to a code of honesty. "Always tell the client the way it is. It's so straightforward. I always think of things from the client's perspective. It's never about what's right for me," she says.

Lee also sets goals, both personal and business. She's currently trying to visit at least 200 countries, and she's visited 110 so far. And, she says, "I have yet to gross $1 million in one year. It’s not about the money; it's about the goal," she says.

Her parting words? "Be real, be authentic and always have integrity." No truer words have been spoken.

Tracey VeltTracey C. Velt is an Orlando-based freelance real estate and business writer.


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