Patsy Martin, a realtor with Coldwell Banker/Walden and Kirkland Inc., serves as president of the Albany Board of Realtors Inc.
Q. What was your first job?
A. Clerk in a department store in Greenville, S.C., during high school.
Q. What was the first thing you spent money on when you received your first ever paycheck?
A. Clothes. I usually had a deficit on payday because I did buy so many clothes.
Q. What’s the single most effective technique you found over the past two years for keeping employees motivated?
A. Allowing them to have interest in the company and to continually let them know how much they are valued as employees. With the bank, we were allowed to award stock options to high performing associates. It is impressive when every employee in your company can quote the real time price of your company’s stock.
Q. What led you to your current position?
A. After retirement from the banking industry, I was not quite ready to give up employment. Since I had a real estate license for over 24 years, and I had enjoyed the “people part” of my career for much, it made sense that I try my hand at real estate. Having enjoyed a career in banking, I learned that getting clients approved to purchase was so essential to the real estate buying process. Anyway, it worked and I am so fulfilled with this profession of 10 years.
Q. Do you have a role model or mentor in your career?
A. Jim Lientz, former Georgia-Tennessee president of Citizens and Southern Bank and Bank of America, was one of the most outstanding leaders I have had the pleasure of having as a role model. Lientz became COO of the State of Georgia under Gov. Perdue’s leadership and did an equally outstanding job as chief operating officer of the state of Georgia.
Q. What is the biggest lesson you as a business leader learned from the recent recession?
A. We can all pull back, tighten our belts and learn to do with less than we ever thought possible. Also, our clients have felt the recession and see home prices less than they often paid for them. Our ability to listen and be empathetic during these recessive times is so very important.
Q. If you could turn the clock back on one aspect of technology – examples e-mail, automated phone systems, cell phones, PDAs, etc. – what would you most like to see go away?
A. Voice mail is so important is our busy world, but I remember when the banking industry lost that personal touch due to automated phone systems. Anything after that is a plus. How we lived without email, computers and cell phones is a mystery today.
Q. What is your favorite work-related gadget?
A. Our real estate multi-list capacity, now on iPhones and iPads.
Q. What is your favorite tradition?
A. I do love my family. As a mother to two and grandmother to four, we really get into the holidays. A big portion of Thanksgiving and Christmas are spent at my home and I do get “silly’ over Christmas. A blessed time of year, and a time when we can demonstrate to friends and family how much they mean to us.
Q. What was the last book you read? Do you have things you read daily or regularly?
A. I love devotional materials and do enjoy a good book occasionally. With so much material to read on a daily basis, I don’t have as much time as I would like to read for fun.
Q. I’m up and going by? And what is your morning routine?
A. Up by 7:30 a.m. and in my office by 9. Realtors often work after normal hours, so we take advantage of a sluggish start in the mornings.
Q. What famous person would you like to meet, and Why?
A. Billy Graham. He has inspired countless thousands throughout his life, and I think he would be a great one for a sit down chat about life in general.
Q. Favorite hobbies or activity outside work?
A. As a music major, I enjoy playing the piano. Nothing is as relaxing as spending an hour playing. However, I have become a walking enthusiast, as well, and try to walk about 30 minutes every day possible.
Q. If you could take back one business decision you made in your career, what would it be?
A. I can’t honestly say that I would take back any decisions. Even if the decision turned out not to be the best one possible, I think I learned more from those decisions than the ones that always ended well. The importance is what we learn from our mistakes.
Q. Best thing about your job?
A. Working with so many people who are moving to Albany. Having served so many wonderful organizations in Albany, it is such a pleasure to be able to introduce new people to our area from my perspective. Southwest Georgia has so much to offer and is a great community in which the whole family can become very connected in a short while. Sharing my experiences with others has been so fulfilling.
Q. Worst thing about your job?
A. The feast or famine nature of the real estate business. One must be a very disciplined and organized money manager to prepare for the ups and downs of this business.
Q. The most beneficial course I took in school was?
A. Communications and marketing. Having interpersonal skills in today’s workplace is essential. Being able to communicate with all types of people from all economic backgrounds is so very important in assisting clients with making one of the largest purchases they will make in a lifetime.
Q. What would be your dream job if you were able to pick a position outside your current career path?
A. Honestly, I truly feel I have had two dream jobs.
Q. Finish this thought; “on the first anniversary of my retirement, I see myself...
A. First of all, I adore working, so the thought of retirement is not in my immediate future. When I do retire, I see myself relaxing on the beach with friends and family, and traveling to areas of the world I have not yet seen.
Q. What is the one trait a strong business leader cannot afford to be without?
A. Integrity. Doing what you say you will do and being able to be trusted, beyond reproach.
Q. Crystal ball time: What’s your call on when the economic recovery for our area will be in full swing?
A. From my real estate associates across the nation, we are told that the housing market will be the driving force behind recovery. Of the last eight recessions, six were pulled out by the housing market; two by world wars. My counterparts are also saying we will see two to three years of much the same. A great announcement adding major jobs to our area will be a great thing when it happens. Honestly, I think we will see major recovery in the next two to three years.
Q. What kind of music might I find on your list of most played on your iPod?
A. I love all music from classical to Christian contemporary. I have always been a fan of Vince Gill and Ray Charles, so a lot of their music would be found on my iPod.
Q. What do you think is the biggest change Albany will see in the next 10 years?
A. The biggest changes for Albany will be in the fields of the healthcare industry and in education. With the announcement of the new additions to Phoebe, as well as Darton’s new four-year nursing program, I would say these are two areas we need to watch. Of course, with the growth in the aging population, we will see many new facilities and opportunities serving this market, as well.
Q. What was the best vacation you’ve ever taken? Why?
A. The best were the many ski trips out west with my children and grandchildren. I am leaving soon for two weeks in Italy and Switzerland, so I suspect that will take the top spot when I return. Seeing parts of our country and world that are so unlike our area is so rich. The one common denominator is no matter where you go, people are still great.
Q. What are the biggest changes you have seen in your specific line of business over the past few years?
A. When I entered the real estate business 10 years ago, we were definitely a seller’s market. With the challenges of the past few years, our market has totally changed to a buyer’s market. Our business is more complicated, by far, than it was 10 years ago. It is more challenging to find qualified buyers, get the deal worked to both parties’ satisfaction, and to get the deal closed. Many folks have left our industry and those who have remained understand the importance of being totally professional and giving A plus service to the client. An abundance of patience goes a long way in today’s real estate business.