In honor of Native American Heritage month we are proud to highlight Dr. Susan Jenkins, Owner and Principal Broker of Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate Native American Group in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
1. Which of our BHGRE® P.A.I.G.E. (Passion, Authenticity, Inclusion, Growth, Excellence) core values do you identify with most, and why?
Authenticity. Always be the best you and never a second rate someone else. A copy is never valued as the original. When I first began my real estate career 21 years ago, I thought I had to act, look and talk like other successful agents. I tried that for about a year and failed. So, I thought if I am failing trying to be someone else then so what if I fail being myself. I found out the opposite. I succeed at being myself. There is something about being comfortable who you are and living the life you were designed to fulfill. Who’s going to be you, if you are trying to be someone else. Embrace your unique talent, voice, and contributions to this amazing world. One of my favorite quotes is “The unexamined life is not worth living”-Socrates.
2. What are your favorite qualities in a customer?
Those who engage in the journey and process. I am an owner-broker and mostly interact with agents and staff as I develop and grow the firm, therefore I consider them my customer/client. We meet daily to question our processes, strategy and purpose. When I have agents and admin interacting to find better solutions and increase productivity and quality of life then that is truly exciting for me. The one question I ask my staff daily, “If this was easy, what would it look like?” We find that simple question is so piercing that it helps us cut through things that distract or weigh us down and we can create more efficient systems.
3. What is the one characteristic that’s helped you the most in your career?
Consistency. Be the constant during times of uncertainty. People are looking for stable leaders and partners to help guide and direct them on their journey of life. You must be the calm one in the room and deliver what you promise. I have watched people self-destruct by inconsistent behavior. They swing from chandlers in joy and success then wallow on the ground during disappointment and failure. You cannot live a productive life with these types of varying responses. Never give anything or anyone the power to control you and your emotions. You may not always be able to control what happens to you, but you can control how you react.
4. What was the last book you read?
Actually, two books, because there is one book I read daily, The Bible and the other book I recently read is “Switch on Your Brain”, By Dr. Caroline Leaf. This book blends the science of neuroplasticity and the power of Scripture to provide life altering principals for changing your thinking that changes the brain which influences behavioral change.
5. If you were not in real estate, what would you be doing?
Maybe an Architect. My dream during my teenage years was to be an Architect. The love of drafting and drawing structures was a passion and I participated in specialty classes during my high school years. However, my parents were not able to afford college and that dream never materialized. There is a sense joy and fulfilment now that I am in the real estate business selling the finished product of Architects.
6. What was the last song you heard that you couldn’t stop humming?
“Look What You’ve Done”-by Tasha Layton. The main office for the firm is in Virginia Beach and the quickest route from our home in Suffolk is over the Highrise Bridge. When at the very top of the bridge I can see the Virginia Beach Landfill Dump. This is literally the trash heap I worked to keep from starting at the age of ten for my parents’ hauling business. It is a reminder of God’s goodness and redemption. He saved me from a life of utter trash to a multi-million-dollar company that has positively altered the lives of so many for the good. I know what it feels like to come from shame and poverty. I now use the redeeming Grace God has shown me to pour out on the lives of others; to journey with others in love, compassion and dignity – #tribe!
7. Who is your real-life hero?
My husband, Barry Jenkins, Sr. His dedication to God, his family and the business is truly special. Barry is very sacrificial and always striving to serve others. He is a strong, steady, wise and a constant rock in all our lives. My husband’s devotions to the Word of God and his leadership are instrumental to our success in all aspects of life.
8. What is your favorite motto?
“Faith without works is dead” James 2:17.
Faith is only as good if it is accompanied by actions and deeds. Say what you mean and do what you say. My life can be summed up to a simple statement, “I am a “doer”. I am in constant motion or action either mentally or physically. The act of creating something is pure excitement for me. To engage in searching for new business models, bettering systems, streamlining processes, helping other is a strong force and motivation in my life. I will share a funny story from my childhood. I have always been going and doing from a very young age, never still always moving. So, one of my mom’s friends nicknamed me “Do Do”. I guess I could have been called worse, super funny nickname. However, that is not the nickname I go by now. I was given a nickname, “The Q”, by my three wonderful stepchildren. My family and friends know I do not care for the shorten version of my name; Sue or Susie, so they thought it was funny to call me “The Q”, which is short for Susie Q.
9. If you could sell a home in any market in the world, where would it be?
Virginia Beach, Va. Love our hometown! Beautiful beaches, homes and wonderful people. The State Moto: “Virginia is for Lovers; Doing the things you love with people you love the most”.
10. What advice would you give your younger self starting out in real estate?
Buy more real estate and turn them into long term rentals. When people show you who they are, believe them the first time. Markets shift, always be in position to pivot. Have multiple streams of business, income, and diversify yourself. Do not be afraid. Courage is not the lack of fear, courage is still doing it even when you are afraid. Fail often and fail quick; there is a Chinese Proverb: “Fall down seven times get up eight”. Do not be distracted with the next 1000’s shiny object that promises instant real estate success. This business is about developing numerous strategic business practices and remember it’s about people and relationships.